Mind-Bending Sci-Fi in The Demolished Man || BOOK REVIEW

The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester


Genre: Sci-Fi
Author: Alfred Bester
Published: March 1953
Publisher: Millenium
Pages: 250 {paperback}

Review on Goodreads

Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing

I have to say that was an exceptionally strange book. I really enjoyed it but at the same time it was quite difficult to understand at times. Being an older sci-fi story it’s both fascinating but written in such a style where I just accepted that some chapters were incomprehensible to me. Nonetheless, the story of one man trying to commit murder in a world where the police can read your mind was unique and interesting!

The Demolished Man

I totally picked this book up on a whim. I saw it on sale for a couple of dollars, recognised it as a classic sci-fi and bought it. It’s set in a futuristic world where the police force can read minds; this being the case, the crime rate is incredibly low. Who could manage to commit a crime if the police knew what they were planning before they could do it?

WELL. Welcome to the plot. The story follows a particularly clever criminal who manages to plot a murder at a party with a gun and get away with it. It was a really fun concept and a fun read to watch this happen and then follow the detective on the case chase his tail in circles as he attempts to work out what on earth has gone on.

Honestly, it’s one of the most appealing plots I think I’ve ever heard of for sci-fi. I loved the idea of side-stepping mind reading to do something nefarious. So on that premise alone, I’d say this is something you should totally pick up if you like a bit of a mind-bender.

Classic Sci-Fi

I’ve read nothing I’d classify as “classic” sci-fi before this. Unless you count the Doctor Who novels, which I suppose you could. But still.

It was fascinating reading something as awesome as this plot that was written in the 1950s. Being someone who was not born anywhere close to that decade, I suffer from a blind-sightedness of not being able to comprehend someone thinking up something so out there in what is a very conservative and stern era. Despite the fact I have a degree in History. #ThemStereotypes

I can’t deny that despite knowing that fantasy and sci-fi are not, in any sense, new concepts – I FIND IT AWESOME THAT THIS WAS WRITTEN 70 YEARS AGO. Ergo, you should read this because this is 100% original in the way it reads and 200% mind boggling.

What I Struggled With

Speaking of mind boggling . . . well there’s a reason that this review is not boasting 5 stars. To be frank, I found it damn hard to understand what was going on sometimes. There is a lot of experimenting with what, I guess, printers can offer a printed book. In other words, there are characters called Atkins that are actually spelt like “@kins”.

There’s older language at play, too. This combined with a fairly complicated plot about a villain avoiding mind-reading IN ADDITION to funky typing techniques, caused a few headaches. Also the fact that I read this with a six month break in the middle probably didn’t help my case.

But that is definitely the hardest thing about this book. The writing is stilted because of the way it’s written. Whenever any weird typing, disjointed conversations or random scenes were thrown in, my delightful galloping pace of the novel was jousted clean off its horse and sprawled into the mud, not quite understanding what exactly had just happened.


Would I recommend this? Yes, but only for those of you who are keen on sci-fi and willing to take on the odd language. It’s a really interesting book with a truly unique concept, but the struggles I had along the way with it didn’t help me enjoy it.

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Happy Reading

~~ Kirstie ~~


One thought on “Mind-Bending Sci-Fi in The Demolished Man || BOOK REVIEW

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