Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bonus FFB for Wednesday: Redemolished -- Richard Raucci, editor

Redemolished is a collection of Alfred Bester's previously unpublished stories, some "fictional articles," four essays, some interviews, and other miscellaneous material.

The stories are published in chronological order, so you can see Bester's development from the pure pulp adventure in "The Probable Man" to more mature works like "Something Up There Likes Me."  I kind of prefer the earlier stuff, although some of them I didn't care for, like "Hell Is Forever," which I found an unpleasant story about unpleasant people and which I didn't finish.  "The Roller Coaster" is the perfect 1950s digest story in tone and content.  I'd have loved it if I were still a kid. Of the others, "The Push of a Finger" was okay.  I wasn't taken much by most of the others, some of which are hardly SF at all.  The articles didn't interest me, but the essays are fun, especially the rant entitled "A Diatribe Against Science Fiction."  It was written just before the New Wave crashed onto the shores of SF, and that changed some of the things Bester ranted about.  He changes his tone slightly in "The Perfect Composite Science Fiction Writer," dishing out left-handed compliments to Heinlein, Blish, Sturgeon, Sheckley, Asimov, and Farmer. The interview with Rex Stout is great and my favorite piece in the collection, mainly, I suppose, because it's nearly all Stout.  Great stuff.

If you're interested in Bester or the history of SF, this volume belongs in your collection.

Table of Contents:

"The Probable Man"
"Hell Is Forever"
"The Push of a Finger"
"The Roller Coaster"
"The Lost Child"
"I'll Never Celebrate New Year's Again"
"Out of This World"
"The Animal Fair"
"Something Up There Likes Me"

"The Four-Hour Fugue"

Fictional Articles:
"Gourmet Dining in Outer Space"
"Place of the Month: The Moon"
"The Sun"

"Science Fiction and the Renaissance Man", originally delivered as a lecture at the University of Chicago in 1957. 
"A Diatribe Against Science Fiction"
"The Perfect Composite Science Fiction Author"
"My Affair with Science Fiction"

Rex Stout'
Woody Allen
John Huston
Robert Helinlein
Isaac Asimov

Also included:
Two unpublished prologues to The Demolished Man
A memorial to Bester by Isaac Asimov, introduced by Gregory S. Benford

Warning: One of Asimov's comments in the memorial might cause your hair to catch on fire.


Todd Mason said...

I'm not sure I managed to snag this...I will have to see what Asimov said...

Todd Mason said...

I liked "Hell is Forever" better than you did (it is about hell-bound folks), but I did find a line in t I passed along to Dave Langford for his Thog column in ANSIBLE:
Thog's Masterclass. Sound Effects Dept. 'The girl squawked and sputtered. Exactly, Peel noted, like a decapitated hen.' (Alfred Bester, 'Hell is Forever', 1942) [TM]

Don Coffin said...

My primary interest in this would be for the interviews and the memorials...I suspect I have most of the Bester stories...