Bester’s writable approach, which took shape early in his career and peaked in the fifties, resulted in open texts with layered, incongruous meanings that invited readers to coproduce, even finish, his stories through active imagination. Bester produced this sense of excess through various types of pulp-modernist extra-coding—allusions, nonstandard orthography, synesthesia, and mixed-viewpoint narration, to name a few—but the reader-centered, writable patterns he created mattered more than any of these pyrotechnics alone. The conclusion argues that Bester is rightly remembered as a lodestar for SF’s venturers and nomads, largely because his self-conscious play with SF reading and writing protocols put the field in a highly productive dialogue with itself.
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