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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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Of Things to Come

Of Things to Come

The Astounding and Unknown Stories

(p.31) Chapter 2 Of Things to Come
Alfred Bester

Jad Smith

University of Illinois Press

Although Bester spoke disapprovingly of his early career, dismissing all of his stories written before 1950 as juvenilia, he produced several promising works in the early 1940s, most notably “The Probable Man,” “Adam and No Eve,” and “Hell Is Forever.” These stories appeared in leading markets such as Astounding and Unknown but pushed beyond them, at once invoking and subverting the conventions of the standard techno-adventure. This chapter demonstrates that even at this early stage in his career, Bester experimented with SF reading protocols in highly self-conscious ways. It also traces the emergence of key elements of his approach, including the use of hybrid SF-mystery plots, metanarration, metafictional references, the frame story, pastiche, extra-coding, and ambiguous resolutions

Keywords:   biogenesis, Foundation, Isaac Asimov, J. K. Huysmans, James Joyce, John W. Campbell, Max Beerbohm, parallax, time travel

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