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Alfred Bester$
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Jad Smith

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040634

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040634.001.0001

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Early Life and First Stories

(p.17) Chapter 1 Beginnings
Alfred Bester

Jad Smith

University of Illinois Press

This chapter shows how Bester’s early identification with Renaissance thinkers of broad and varied learning led him to think of science fiction as a Renaissance genre especially suited to mixing and marrying various influences and branches of knowledge. It also examines several of Bester’s early stories. “Voyage to Nowhere” represented Bester’s initial foray into pastiche, while “The White Man Who Was Tabu”—a little-known South Sea adventure published under the pseudonym Alexander Blade—signaled his interest in psychology and laid the groundwork for Ben Reich and Gully Foyle, the distinctive antiheroes of his trailblazing novels The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination.

Keywords:   antihero, Damon Knight, Frederik Pohl, Hugo Gernsback, Julius Schwartz, mad science, Mort Weisinger, pastiche, Thrilling Wonder Stories

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