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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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The Eureka Years

The Eureka Years

(p.86) Chapter 4 The Eureka Years
Alfred Bester

Jad Smith

University of Illinois Press

In the early 1950s, working closely with Galaxy magazine editor Horace L. Gold, Bester wrote a highly experimental novel, The Demolished Man. In addition to hybridizing the SF and detective novel, a feat Campbell had declared impossible, The Demolished Man also reimagined telepathy via sociolinguistics, thinking of it in terms of language change. Bester’s telepaths, which he calls “espers,” develop their own idioms, metaphors, and in-jokes, all of which Bester captures through nonstandard orthography, extra-coding, and other forms of innovative, modernist-style language play. This chapter also chronicles Boucher’s continuing influence on Bester’s development as a writer and examines Bester’s preoccupation with the wish fulfillment theme in short stories such as “Hobson’s Choice” and “5,271,009.”

Keywords:   antihero, code-switching, linguistics, open mystery, orthography, paralanguage, telepathy, Tony Boucher, typography, time travel, world-building

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