The Deceivers

Alfred Bester

Published by I Books, 1999
ISBN 10: 0671038893 / ISBN 13: 9780671038892
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Synopsis: When his lover is kidnapped by the evil Duke of Death, Rogue Winter, King of the Maori Commandos searches the solar system for her and uncovers evidence of an unlimited energy source in the underground torture chambers of Triton. Reprint.

Review: Way back in the 1950s, Alfred Bester established himself as one of the greats of SF with a number of dazzling short stories and two major novels: The Demolished Man (1953) and The Stars My Destination (1956, also known as Tiger! Tiger!), both much reprinted. The Deceivers, his final SF novel, appeared in 1981.

It's a colorful, whimsical romp that plays entertainingly with themes from Bester's peak years, though without his old driving, compelling savagery. Hero Rogue Winter is a "Synergist," acutely sensitive to the world's patterns: in one set-piece sequence he follows an intuitive trail from 12 drummers drumming in a street parade to the goal of a (metaphorical) partridge in a pear tree. Winter is also heir-apparent to the Maori Mafia, which controls much of the Solar System's crime, but he must single-handedly battle the dread mammoths of Ganymede to earn his crown. Meanwhile, he has fallen helplessly in love with a sexy nonhuman shapeshifter from Titan, making him vulnerable to minions of the insidious Manchu Duke of Death, who plans to smash the syndicate that's smuggling the priceless miracle fuel Meta from the heavily defended mines of Saturn's Chinese/Japanese-dominated moon Triton.

Bester crams this wild farrago of a narrative with wisecracks, junk science, circus glamor, odd catch phrases, bits of self-conscious cleverness and excess, Chinese esoterica like the Mirror-and-Listen Mystery, and his trademark typographic tricks. Amusing candyfloss nonsense; quite readable, but definitely not in the same league as his 1950s classics. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Deceivers
Publisher: I Books
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Good

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Bester, Alfred
ISBN 10: 0671038893 ISBN 13: 9780671038892
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