|Born||(1913-12-18)December 18, 1913
New York City, US
|Died||September 30, 1987(1987-09-30) (aged 73)
Doylestown, Pennsylvania, US
|Genre||Science fiction novels, short stories, comic book scripts, TV and radio scripts|
|Spouse||Rolly Bester (m. 1936)|
Alfred Bester (December 18, 1913 – September 30, 1987) was an American science fiction author, TV and radio scriptwriter, magazine editor and scripter for comic strips and comic books. Though successful in all these fields, he is best remembered for his science fiction, including The Demolished Man, winner of the inaugural Hugo Award in 1953.
Shortly before his death, the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) named Bester its ninth Grand Master, presented posthumously in 1988. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame inducted him in 2001.
- 1 Life and career
- 1.1 Writing career
- 1.1.1 Early SF career, comic books, radio (1939–50)
- 1.1.2 The Demolished Man" period: 1951–57
- 1.1.3 Magazine fiction and non-fiction: 1959–62
- 1.1.4 Television: 1959–62
- 1.1.5 Senior editor of Holiday: 1963–71
- 1.1.6 Later career: 1972–87
- 1.1.7 Legacy and tributes
- 1.2 Notable short stories
- 1.1 Writing career
- 2 Awards
- 3 Works
- 4 See also
- 5 Notes
- 6 References
- 7 Sources
- 8 External links
Life and career
Alfred Bester was born in Manhattan, New York City, on December 18, 1913. His father, James J. Bester, owned a shoe store and was a first-generation American whose parents were both Austrian. Alfred's mother, Belle (née Silverman), was born in Russia and spoke Yiddish as her first language before coming to America as a youth. Alfred was James and Belle's second and final child, and only son. (Their first child, Rita, was born in 1908.) Though he was Jewish, his mother became a Christian Scientist, and Alfred himself was not raised within any religious traditions; he wrote that "his home life was completely liberal and iconoclastic."
Bester attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a member of the Philomathean Society. He played on the football team in 1935 and, by his own account, was "the most successful member of the fencing team." He went on to Columbia Law School, but tired of it and dropped out.
Bester and Rolly Goulko married in 1936. Rolly Bester had a successful career as a Broadway, radio and television actress before changing careers to become an advertising executive during the 1960s. The Besters remained married for 48 years until her death on January 12, 1984. Bester was very nearly a lifelong New Yorker, although he lived in Europe for a little over a year in the mid-1950s and moved to Pennsylvania with Rolly in the early 1980s. Once settled there, they lived on Geigel Hill Road in Ottsville, Pennsylvania.
Early SF career, comic books, radio (1939–50)
After his university career, 25-year-old Alfred Bester was working in public relations when he turned to writing science fiction. Bester's first published short story was "The Broken Axiom", which appeared in the April 1939 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories after winning an amateur story competition. Bester recalled, "Two editors on the staff, Mort Weisinger and Jack Schiff, took an interest in me, I suspect mostly because I'd just finished reading and annotating Joyce's Ulysses and would preach it enthusiastically without provocation, to their great amusement. ... They thought "Diaz-X" [Bester's original title] might fill the bill if it was whipped into shape." This was the very same contest that Robert A. Heinlein famously chose not to enter, as the prize was only $50 and Heinlein realized he could do better selling his 7,000-word unpublished story to Astounding Science Fiction for a penny a word, or $70. Years later, Bester interviewed Heinlein for Publishers Weekly and the latter told of changing his mind for Astounding. Bester says that he replied (in jest), "You sonofabitch. I won that Thrilling Wonder contest, and you beat me by twenty dollars."
However, as Bester was the winner of the contest, Mort Weisinger also "introduced me to the informal luncheon gatherings of the working science fiction authors of the late thirties." He met Henry Kuttner, Edmond Hamilton, Otto Binder, Malcolm Jameson and Manly Wade Wellman there. During 1939 and 1940 Weisinger published three more of Bester's stories in Thrilling Wonder Stories and Startling Stories. For the next few years, Bester continued to publish short fiction, most notably in John W. Campbell's Astounding Science Fiction.
In 1942, two of his science fiction editors got work at DC Comics, and invited Bester to contribute to various DC titles. Consequently, Bester left the field of short story writing and began working for DC Comics as a writer on Superman, and, under the editorship of Julius Schwartz, Green Lantern, among other titles. He created super-villain Solomon Grundy and the version of the Green Lantern Oath that begins "In brightest day, In blackest night". Bester was also the writer for Lee Falk's comic strips The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician while their creator served in World War II. It is widely speculated how much influence Bester had on these comics. One theory claims that Bester was responsible for giving the Phantom his surname, "Walker".
After four years in the comics industry, in 1946 Bester turned his attention to radio scripts, after wife Rolly (a busy radio actress) told him that the show Nick Carter, Master Detective was looking for story submissions. Over the next few years, Bester wrote for Nick Carter, as well as The Shadow, Charlie Chan, Nero Wolfe and other shows. He later wrote for The CBS Radio Mystery Theater.
With the advent of American network television in 1948, Bester also began writing for television, although most of these projects were lesser-known.
In early 1950, after eight years away from the field, Bester resumed writing science fiction short stories. However, after an initial return to Astounding with the story "The Devil's Invention" (a.k.a. "Oddy and Id"), he stopped writing for the magazine in mid-1950 when editor John Campbell became preoccupied with L. Ron Hubbard and Dianetics, the forerunner to Scientology. Bester then turned to Galaxy Science Fiction, where he found in H. L. Gold another exceptional editor as well as a good friend.
In New York, he socialized at the Hydra Club, an organization of New York's science fiction writers, including such luminaries as Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Anthony Boucher, Avram Davidson, Judith Merril, and Theodore Sturgeon.
The Demolished Man" period: 1951–57
In his first period of writing science fiction (1939–1942), Bester had been establishing a reputation as a short story writer in science fiction circles with stories such as "Adam and No Eve". However, Bester gained his greatest renown for the work he wrote and published in the 1950s, including The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination (also known as Tiger! Tiger!).
The Demolished Man (1953)
The Demolished Man, recipient of the first Hugo Award for best Science Fiction novel, is a police procedural that takes place in a future world in which telepathy is relatively common. Bester creates a harshly capitalistic, hierarchical and competitive social world that exists without deceit: a society in which the right person with some skill (or money) and curiosity can access your memories, secrets, fears and past misdeeds more swiftly than even you.
Originally published in three parts in Galaxy, beginning in January 1952, The Demolished Man appeared in book form in 1953. It was dedicated to Gold, who made a number of suggestions during its writing. Originally, Bester wanted the title to be Demolition!, but Gold talked him out of it.
Who He? (1953)
Bester's 1953 novel Who He? (also known as The Rat Race) concerns a TV variety show writer who wakes up after an alcoholic blackout and discovers that someone is out to destroy his life. A contemporary novel with no science fiction elements, it did not receive wide attention. It did, however, earn Bester a fair amount of money from the sale of the paperback reprint rights (the book appeared in paperback as The Rat Race). He also received a substantial sum of money from a movie studio for the film option to the book. Reportedly, Jackie Gleason was interested in starring as the variety show writer; however no movie was ever made of Who He? Still, the payout from the film option was large enough that Alfred and Rolly Bester decided they could afford to travel to Europe for the next few years. They lived mainly in Italy and England during this period.
The Stars My Destination (1956)
Bester's next novel was outlined while he was living in England and mostly written when he was living in Rome. The Stars My Destination (also known as Tiger, Tiger) had its origins in a newspaper clipping that Bester found about Poon Lim, a shipwrecked World War II sailor on a raft, who had drifted unrescued in the Pacific for a world record 133 days because passing ships thought he was a lure to bring them within torpedo range of a hidden submarine. From that germ grew the story of Gully Foyle, seeking revenge for his abandonment and causing havoc all about him: a science fiction re-telling of Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo with teleportation added to the mix. It has been described as an ancestor of cyberpunk.
As had occurred with The Demolished Man, The Stars My Destination was originally serialized in Galaxy. It ran in four parts (October 1956 through January 1957) and the book was published later in 1957. Though repeatedly voted in polls the "Best Science Fiction Novel of All Time", The Stars My Destination would prove to be Bester's last novel for 19 years. A radio adaptation was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1991 and again in 1993.
Film adaptations of The Stars My Destination have been frequently rumored. According to David Hughes' Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made, Richard Gere owned the rights to this novel right after his success with Pretty Woman, and wanted to star in it. Later, NeverEnding Story producer Bernd Eichinger had the rights and hired Neal Adams to do concept art. Still later, Paul W.S. Anderson was set to direct it, but wound up doing Event Horizon instead. Since then, a number of scripts have been written, but nothing more has happened.
Magazine fiction and non-fiction: 1959–62
While on his European trip, Bester began selling non-fiction pieces about various European locations to the mainstream travel/lifestyle magazine Holiday. The Holiday editors, impressed with his work, invited Bester back to their headquarters in New York and began commissioning him to write travel articles about various far-flung locales, as well as doing interviews with such stars as Sophia Loren, Anthony Quinn, and Sir Edmund Hillary. As a result of steady work with Holiday, Bester's science fiction output dropped precipitously in the years following the publication of The Stars My Destination.
Bester published three short stories each in 1958 and 1959, including 1958's "The Men Who Murdered Mohammed" and 1959's "The Pi Man", both of which were nominated for Hugo Awards. However, for a four-year period from October 1959 to October 1963, he published no fiction at all. Instead, he concentrated on his work at Holiday (where he was made a senior editor), reviewed books for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (from 1960 to 1962) and returned to television scripting.
In 1959, Bester adapted his 1954 story "Fondly Fahrenheit" to television as Murder and the Android. Telecast in color on October 18, 1959, the hour-long drama took place in the year 2359 amid futuristic sets designed by Ted Cooper. This NBC Sunday Showcase production, produced by Robert Alan Aurthur with a cast of Kevin McCarthy, Rip Torn, Suzanne Pleshette and Telly Savalas, was reviewed by syndicated radio-television critic John Crosby:
|“||Despite the fact that the androids refer contemptuously to human beings as people who suffer from glandular disorders called emotions, Torn wants very much to suffer from these disorders himself. Eventually, he does. I have no intention of unraveling the whole plot which was not so much complicated as psychologically dense. If I understand him correctly, Mr. Bester is trying to say that having androids to free us of mundane preoccupations like work is by no means good for us. His humans are pretty close to being bums.||”|
Murder and the Android was nominated for a 1960 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and was given a repeat on September 5, 1960, the Labor Day weekend in which that Hugo Award was presented (to The Twilight Zone) at the World Science Fiction Convention in Pittsburgh. Bester returned to Sunday Showcase March 5, 1960 with an original teleplay, Turn the Key Deftly. Telecast in color, that mystery, set in a traveling circus, starred Julie Harris, Maximilian Schell and Francis Lederer.
Senior editor of Holiday: 1963–71
After a four-year layoff, Bester published a handful of science fiction short stories in 1963 and 1964. However, writing science fiction was at this stage in Bester's life clearly more of a sideline than the focus of his career. As a result, from 1964 until the original version of Holiday folded in 1971, Bester published only one science fiction short story, a 700-word science fiction spoof in the upscale mainstream magazine Status.
Still, as senior editor of Holiday, Bester was able to introduce occasional science fiction elements into the non-fiction magazine. On one occasion, he commissioned and published an article by Arthur C. Clarke describing a tourist flight to the Moon. Bester himself, though, never published any science fiction in Holiday, which was a mainstream travel/lifestyle magazine marketed to upscale readers during an era when science fiction was largely dismissed as juvenilia.
Later career: 1972–87
Holiday magazine ceased publication in 1971, although it was later revived and reformatted by other hands, without Bester's involvement. For the first time in nearly 15 years, Bester did not have full-time employment.
After a long layoff from writing science fiction, Bester returned to the field in 1972. His 1974 short story "The Four-Hour Fugue" was nominated for a Hugo Award, and Bester received Hugo and Nebula Award nominations for his 1975 novel The Computer Connection (titled The Indian Giver as a magazine serial and later reprinted as Extro). Despite these nominations, Bester's work of this era generally failed to receive the critical or commercial success of his earlier period.
Bester's eyesight began failing in the mid-1970s, making writing increasingly difficult, and another layoff from published writing took place between early 1975 and early 1979. It is alleged during this period that the producer of the 1978 Superman movie sent his son off to search for a writer. The name Alfred Bester came up, but Bester wanted to focus the story on Clark Kent as the real hero, while Superman was only "his gun." The producers instead hired Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather, to write the film.
Carolyn Wendell wrote, "I shall always remember the time I saw Alfie Bester in larger-than-life action, at an academic conference in New York City ten years before he died":
|“||Bester had been invited to share a panel with Charles L. Grant, Isaac Asimov, and Ben Bova. He arrived attired in well-worn high-top sneakers, jeans whose major characteristic was that they looked comfortable, and a sports coat whose better days had been years before. He carried what must have been the world's largest jock bag, crammed with newly-purchased bottles of wine that did not quite fit into the zippered closing. He sat down behind a long table with the other writers and managed to behave conventionally for about half the discussion. Then, apparently able to stay put no longer, he leapt up, walked around to the front of the table to be closer to the audience, and paced back and forth, gesturing and talking. The other three writers (none exactly shrinking violets) tried to interrupt but finally lapsed into what might have been either respectful or overwhelmed silence. It was one of the most extraordinary performances I have ever seen.||”|
Bester published two short stories in 1979 and rang in the 1980s with the publication of two new novels: Golem100 (1980), and The Deceivers (1981). In addition to his failing eyesight, other health issues began to affect him, and Bester produced no new published work after 1981. His wife Rolly died in 1984. In the following years, Bester dated Judith H. McQuown [pronounced "McQueen"].
In 1985, it was announced that Bester would be a Guest of Honor at the 1987 Worldcon, to be held in Brighton, England. As the event neared, however, Bester fell and broke his hip. With his worsening overall health, he was plainly too ill to attend.
Bester died less than a month after the convention from complications related to his broken hip. However, shortly before his death he learned that the Science Fiction Writers of America would honor him with their Grand Master Nebula award at their 1988 convention.
Two works by Bester were issued posthumously. The first, Tender Loving Rage (1991), was a mainstream (i.e., non-science fiction) novel that was probably written in the late 1950s or early 1960s. The second, Psychoshop (1998), was based on an incomplete 92-page story fragment. It was completed by Roger Zelazny and remained unpublished until three years after Zelazny's death. When issued, it was credited as a collaborative work.
Alfred Bester had no children and, according to legend, left everything to his bartender, Joe Suder. That much is, in fact, true. However, the claim that Suder didn't know or remember Bester is legend rather than fact; Bester stopped by Suder's bar every morning on his way to get his mail, and the two men were friends.
Legacy and tributes
- Alfred Bester - described as the Godfather of modern science fiction is honoured by Hugo winning StarShipSofa in a two part show.
- In Babylon 5, Psi-Cop Alfred Bester is named after him (and the treatment of telepathy in Babylon 5 is similar to that in Bester's works).
- The time-travelling pest named "Al Phee" in Spider Robinson's Callahan's Crosstime Saloon series is based on Bester.
- F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre wrote a series of stories — beginning with "Time Lines" (published in Analog, 1999) — about a time-traveling criminal named Smedley Faversham, who constantly runs afoul of a scientific principle called "Bester's Law". This term is MacIntyre's invention, but it is explicitly in homage to Alfred Bester's work: specifically, to Bester's 1958 story "The Men Who Murdered Mohammed". Bester's Law, as articulated by MacIntyre, states that a time-traveler who attempts to rewrite the past can only alter his or her own time-line, not anyone else's. Bester's Law is rigidly enforced by a legion of "time cops", whom MacIntyre's protagonist sneeringly refers to as "the Bester Boosters" and "the Bester-Busters".
- Bester is mentioned by Martin Prince in The Simpsons episode "Lisa's Substitute".
- A radio adaptation of The Stars My Destination was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1991, although this may have been a repeat broadcast. lists the play as a 60-minute episode, but the original running time was almost certainly 90 minutes. The story was also adapted in the 1970s as a graphic novel by writer/artist Howard Chaykin.
- Firefly – Many of the names of off-camera and minor characters are drawn from the ranks of science fiction writers; under the character name "Bester," actor Dax Griffin played the original mechanic of the ship Serenity.
- Lisey's Story – Stephen King's character Scott Landon makes reference to Bester when making a dedication to a new library, saying: "This one's for Alfie Bester, and if you haven't read him, you ought to be ashamed!"
- Comics writer James Robinson entitled a story arc in his Starman series for DC Comics "Stars My Destination".
- Stephen King's short story "The Jaunt" borrows that word for teleportation from Bester's The Stars My Destination, as does the ITV Television series (and subsequent remake) The Tomorrow People.
- Folk metal band Slough Feg have several lyrics inspired by his works, most notably Tiger Tiger about The Stars, My Destination.
- The Stars My Degradation, a comic strip written by Alan Moore under the pseudonym Curt Vile, and Steve Moore under the pseudonym Pedro Henry, appeared in the British rock music newspaper Sounds in the early eighties, featuring their long running character Axel Pressbutton. The title was an homage to Bester's The Stars, My Destination. The surname Pressbutton is also a reference to the last chapter of the novel, in which the main character repeatedly uses the phrase "Press the button and I'll jump".
- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz draws heavily on themes from The Demolished Man and incorporates the Man with No Face (a bugbear for the character Ben Reich) throughout the novel.
Notable short stories
- "Adam and No Eve" concerns the last man on Earth. Published in September 1941, this tale concerns an inventor who devises a method of rocket propulsion involving a catalyst that induces atomic disintegration in iron, releasing enormous amounts of energy. However, a colleague warns him that if even the tiniest drop of the catalyst were allowed to touch any of the iron which is widely present on Earth, it would cause a chain reaction that would spread and incinerate the entire surface of the planet. The inventor, with his dog, takes off in his experimental rocketship anyway and immediately passes out from the high g-forces. When he wakes, with his ship falling back toward Earth, he discovers that his colleague had been right: the world below is destroyed, its entire surface scorched and cauterized by the runaway reaction. He contemplates suicide by staying in his falling ship, but bails out with his dog. He wakes alone with a broken, infected leg and crawls about for some time, possibly weeks. He concludes he is the last living thing alive and hallucinates about his wife Evelyn and his colleague's warning. Dying from injuries and out of food, he encounters his pet dog, who attacks him out of hunger. After killing and cremating his dog, the inventor realizes that there is only one way he can atone for his actions and crawls to the sea, where by dying in the water he will enable the bacteria and entamoeba living his body to flourish, re-initiating the long evolutionary process. The last lines of the story—"...the mother of life rocked the last-born of the old cycle who would become the first-born of the new. ... [He looked up at the stars] Stars that had not yet formed into the familiar constellations, nor would not for another hundred million centuries."—imply that the story is set ten thousand million years ago and he is the ancestor of all life now on Earth.
- "5,271,009" is about a character who is placed within various science fictional wish-fulfillment scenarios, and discovers the flaw in each (the Last Man on Earth, adult wisdom in a boy's body, no dentists...)
- "Fondly Fahrenheit" — a malfunctioning android becomes murderously violent in hot weather. Not only is the android psychotic, but its owner is also unstable and projects his emotions onto the android. This is emphasized in the story by a remarkable shifting of viewpoint between third-person, and first-person singular and plural from the POV of both the android and the owner. It was adapted to television as Murder and the Android.
- "The Men Who Murdered Mohammed" is an ingenious twist on the standard time-paradox story. A man discovers how to travel through time, and arrogantly decides to alter the present by journeying into the past and murdering prominent historical figures. He returns to the present, only to discover that nothing has changed... except that it has, but in an unexpected way. One of Bester's most popular and influential pieces, this story's title is occasionally (and mistakenly) cited as "The Man Who Murdered Mohammed". The plural ("The Men Who...") is correct, due to a surprise revelation in the story.
- "The Rollercoaster" — People from the future use time travel to exploit contemporary folks, violently and sexually, for kicks. The famous opening line is, "I knifed her a little."
- "Time is the Traitor" is a story of powerful men and obsessive love. In Bester's Freudian discourse, the id is portrayed as a creature inside the mind with near-magical powers greater than the conscious ego's desire to control it. When the id escapes from the control of the ego, the results are disastrous.
The Science Fiction Writers of America made Bester its 9th SFWA Grand Master in 1988 (announced before his 1987 death) and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame inducted him in 2001, its sixth class of two deceased and two living writers.
Beside winning the inaugural Hugo Award, he was one of the runners-up for several annual literary awards.
- The Demolished Man – 1953 novel
- "Star Light, Star Bright" – 1954 short story (retro Hugo)
- "The Men Who Murdered Mohammed" – 1959 short story
- "The Pi Man" – 1960 short story
- "The Four-Hour Fugue" – 1975 short story
- The Computer Connection – 1976 novel
In the Best Novel categories, The Computer Connection was a finalist for both the Hugo and Nebula Awards and third place for the Locus Award.
- The Demolished Man (1953)
- Who He? (also published as The Rat Race) (1953)
- The Stars My Destination (also published as Tiger, Tiger) (1956)
- The Computer Connection (also published as Extro) (1975)
- Golem100 (1980)
- The Deceivers (1981)
- Tender Loving Rage (1991)
- Psychoshop (with Roger Zelazny) (1998)
- Starburst (1958) contains the short stories
- "Disappearing Act" originally published in 1953
- "Adam and No Eve" originally published in 1941
- "Star Light, Star Bright" originally published in 1953
- "The Roller Coaster" originally published in 1953
- "Oddy and Id" originally published in 1950 as "The Devil's Invention"
- "The Starcomber" originally published in 1954 as "5,271,009"
- "White Light Cinema" originally published in 1956 as "Patrick the Programmer"
- "Travel Diary"
- "Fondly Fahrenheit" originally published in 1954
- "Hobson's Choice" originally published in 1952
- "The Die-Hard"
- "Of Time and Third Avenue" originally published in 1951
- The Dark Side of the Earth (1964) contains the short stories
- "Time is the Traitor" (originally published in 1953)
- "The Men Who Murdered Mohammed" (originally published in 1958) (Hugo Award Nominee)
- "Out of This World"
- "The Pi Man" (originally published in 1959) (Hugo Award Nominee)
- "The Flowered Thundermug" (originally published in 1964)
- "Will You Wait?" (originally published in 1959)
- "They Don't Make Life Like They Used To" (originally published in 1963)
- An Alfred Bester Omnibus (1968)
- Starlight: The Great Short Fiction of Alfred Bester (1976)
- The Light Fantastic Volume 1: The Short Fiction of Alfred Bester (1976)
- Star Light, Star Bright: The Short Fiction of Alfred Bester, Volume 2 (1976)
- The Light Fantastic Volume 2: The Short Fiction of Alfred Bester (1976)
- Virtual Unrealities (1997) – contains the stories:
- "Disappearing Act" (originally published in 1953)
- "Oddy and Id"
- "Star Light, Star Bright" " (originally published in 1953, used as the title for two other compilations of Bester's short stories)
- "5,271,009" (originally published in 1954)
- "Fondly Fahrenheit" (originally published in 1954)
- "Hobson's Choice" (originally published in 1952)
- "Of Time and Third Avenue" (originally published in 1952)
- "Time is the Traitor" (originally published in 1953)
- "The Men Who Murdered Mohammed" (originally published in 1958) (Hugo Award nominee)
- "The Pi Man" (originally published in 1959) (Hugo Award Nominee)
- "They Don't Make Life Like They Used To" (originally published in 1963)
- "Will You Wait?" (originally published in 1959)
- "The Flowered Thundermug" (originally published in 1964)
- "Adam and No Eve" (originally published in 1941)
- "And 3½ to Go" (fragment – previously unpublished)
- "Galatea Galante" (originally published in 1979)
- "The Devil Without Glasses" (previously unpublished)
- Redemolished (2000) – Contains the short stories:
- "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"
- Also contains three fictional articles published in Holiday:
- "Gourmet Dining in Outer Space"
- "Place of the Month: The Moon"
- "The Sun"
- Also contains four essays:
- "Science Fiction and the Renaissance Man", originally delivered as a lecture at the University of Chicago in 1957. The other lecturers included Cyril Kornbluth, Robert A. Heinlein and Robert Bloch.
- "A Diatribe Against Science Fiction"
- "The Perfect Composite Science Fiction Author"
- "My Affair with Science Fiction"
- Also included are interviews with John Huston and Rex Stout, a conversation with Woody Allen, brief articles on Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein, two deleted prologues and an analysis of The Demolished Man, plus a memorial for Bester written by Isaac Asimov and an introduction by Gregory S. Benford.
- The Life and Death of a Satellite (1966)
Other short fiction
- "Ms. Found In a Champagne Bottle," collected in The Light Fantastic (1976)
- Alfred Bester, "United States Social Security Death Index". "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch, Alfred Bester, September 1987. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- Harrison, Harry (1996). "Introduction". The Demolished Man. New York: Vintage Books. p. vii. ISBN 0-679-76781-9.
- "Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master" Archived 2011-07-01 at the Wayback Machine.. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Retrieved 2013-03-22.
- "Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame" Archived May 21, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.. Mid American Science Fiction and Fantasy Conventions, Inc. Retrieved 2013-03-22. This was the official website of the hall of fame to 2004.
- Bester, p. 220.
- Bester, p. 221.
- The New York Times. February 25, 1934. "Captain Alfred Bester of New York gained two epee victories for the Red and Blue."
- Alfred Bester at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved 2013-04-11. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
- Bester, pp. 223–24.
- Bester, p. 224.
- Bester, p. 225.
- Green Lantern #223. April 1988. pp. letters page.
- Schwartz, Julius (2000). Man of Two Worlds: My Life in Science Fiction and Comics. New York: Harper Collins. pp. 67–68. ISBN 0-380-810514.
- "Free Audio SF - CBS Radio Mystery Theater". Hard SF. Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2011-02-10.
- "Alfred Bester". Library of America. Archived from the original on 2012-09-22. Retrieved 2012-10-05.
- Biller, Diana (December 25, 2015). "The Essential Cyberpunk Reading List". io9. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
This 1956 novel, originally serialized in four parts in Galaxy magazine, predates the cyberpunk movement by more than twenty years, but nonetheless serves as one of its more important ancestors. With its bleak future, cybernetic body modification and evil megacorporations, The Stars My Destination set up a number of themes that became central to later cyberpunk works.
- Hiltzik, Michael (January 1, 2016). "A New Year's list: Five great sci-fi novels to make you forget 'Star Wars'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
Bester is a science fiction master unappreciated by the general reader but known as an important influence on Stephen King and the "cyberpunk" movement; The Stars My Destination frequently turns up on aficionados' lists of the greatest science fiction works of all time.
- Berthoud, Ella and Susan Elderkin (2013). The Novel Cure. Edinburgh: Canongate. p. W.
- Cavallaro, Dani (2000). Cyberpunk & Cyberculture: Science Fiction and the Work of William Gibson. London: Athlone Press. p. 9. ISBN 0-485-00412-7.
- BBC Radio 4 (14 September 1991). "The Shape of Things to Come". BBC. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
- BBC Radio 4 (16 August 1993). "Tiger! Tiger!". BBC. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
- Anders, Charlie Jane (Aug 10, 2012). "100 Wonderful and Terrible Movies That Never Existed". io9. Retrieved 2012-10-05.
- Wendell, Carolyn (2006). Alfred Bester. Wildside Press. p. 46.
- The Hugo Awards. "1960 Hugo Awards". World Science Fiction Society. Archived from the original on May 7, 2011. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
- Pilato, Herbie J. (2012). Twitch Upon a Star: The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery. Lanham, Maryland: Taylor Trade Publishing. p. 132. ISBN 978-1-58979-749-9.
Produced by Everett Freeman, "Mr. Lucifer" was written by Alfred Bester and directed by Alan Crosland, Jr...
- Lee, R. E. "The Series: Alcoa Premiere; The Episode: Mr. Lucifer". Bob's Bewitching Daughter: Elizabeth Montgomery. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
Satan invades Madison Avenue: Mr. Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness himself, determines to corrupt a clean-cut young couple with the help of his beautiful secretary, Iris, a former moon goddess, now transformed into a demon.
- "Watch Alcoa Premiere Season 2 Episode 5 S2E5 Mr. Lucifer". OVGuide. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
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- Wendell, Carolyn (March 1988). "The Late, Great Alfie B., 1913-87". Science Fiction Studies. Greencastle, Indiana: DePauw University. 15 pt. 1 (44). ISSN 0091-7729. Retrieved 2012-10-05.
- McQuown, Judith H. (November 1987). "Remembering Alfred Bester". Locus: The Magazine of The Science Fiction & Fantasy Field. Oakland, California: Locus Science Fiction Foundation. 20, No. 11 (#322): 63.
- Science Fiction Writers of America. "Nebula Award Winners: 1965 – 2011". Science Fiction Writers of America. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
- Clive Sarney. "Sound". Miranda Richardson. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
- Sturgis, Amy H. (2011). ""Just Get Us a Little Further"". In Edited by Dean A. Kowalski and S. Evan Kreider. The Philosophy of Joss Whedon. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. p. 24. CS1 maint: Extra text: editors list (link)
- Kelleghan, Fiona (November 1994). "Hell's My Destination: Imprisonment in the Works of Alfred Bester". Science Fiction Studies. Greencastle, Indiana: DePauw University. 21 (Part 3). Retrieved September 26, 2016.
- "Bester, Alfred". The Locus Index to SF Awards: Index of Literary Nominees. Locus Publications. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
Bester, Alfred (1976). "My Affair with Science Fiction". Star Light, Star Bright: The Great Short Fiction of Alfred Bester. II. New York: Berkley. pp. 220ff.
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- "Alfred Bester biography". Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.
- Alfred Bester at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Alfred Bester on IMDb
- Alfred Bester Bibliography
- Contento bibliography
- Science Fiction Studies on Bester by Fiona Kelleghan
- SFWA directory of literary estates
Novels by Alfred Bester
Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Awards (SFWA Grand Masters)