Demolished Man

January 15, 2013

Demolished ManFirst thing to be said: huge spoiler in the last two chapter.

OK, now about the book. This is another unusual book in sci-fi genre. It is a detective novel, set in the future, when almost no crime can take place, because parts humanity has evolved into telepath, therefore any criminal intent can be predicted before it happened. The telepathy issue is also discussed pretty deep, using some of Freudian interpretation, which is interesting.

The case is murder, being done by Ben Reich, a magnate murdering his competitor after a failed merger. The case is investigated by a telepathic police officer, Lincoln Powell. Living in a society surveyed by many mind readers, Ben Reich has to tailor his murder plan to circumvent all the obstacles, making fail-safe plants, and he succeeds. The Big Question: Can he get away with his murder, with Powell in his tail?

The first part of the novel is the planning of the murder, and second part the investigation. It reads almost like a common detective novel, except the unique typography used by Bester in several section, the way Bester shows how telepath communicates with each other, with broken words and symbol instead of complete sentence. It is very unique and original, and I think the best gem in this novel.

Unfortunately, the writer let the story becomes too loose and protracted before tied them up neatly in the end. The plot is slow before reaching the end conclusion. It is much better if Bester already gives the hint of the ending, somewhere within the middle part of the novel, to keep the reader interested. I would say, the last two chapter (the demolition itself and SPOILER: *the Ultimate Sardine Game*) redeem the whole part of the novel, otherwise, it is just a common detective novel.

Believe me, the end is very good, and Bester should have make it a bit longer, instead of just one chapter. Because it explained everything that seems loosely scattered along the novel.

Four Star (3 1/2 actually). A classic that you must read. But it could have been better.


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