Alfred Bester

“Faith in faith’ he answered himself. ‘It isn’t necessary to have something to believe in. It’s only necessary to believe that somewhere there’s something worthy of belief”

― Alfred BesterThe Stars My Destination

Born Alfred M. Bester in New York City on December 18, 1913, the second child of James J. Bester, who owned a shoe store, and Belle Bester (née Silverman), a Russian immigrant.

Graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played on the football team, in 1935; studied law at Columbia for two years.

In September 16, 1936  married Rolly Goulko, an actress and later advertising executive, they stayed together for 48 years until her death from cancer in 1984 at the age of 66. (see photo bellow)

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Published his first story, “The Broken Axiom” in Thrilling Wonder Stories in April of 1939 (check the photo to the cover), winning a prize for best amateur contribution of US 50,00. (you can download a version here: http://www.demonoid.me/files/details/2526444?load_bal=04960090248&show_files=&page=2&ref=1342661648#file_list)

Wrote thirteen more stories for the magazine by 1942, when he followed his editors Jack Schiff and Mort Weisinger to DC Comics; contributed scripts and outlines for SupermanBatmanGreen Lantern, and Captain Marvel, also working on the Lee Falk comic stripsThe Phantom and Mandrake the Magician.

In 1946, began writing radio scripts for The Shadow, Charlie Chan, Nick Carter, Nero Wolfe, and other programs, shifting to television in 1948, most notably with Tom Corbett: Space Cadet.

Returned to science fiction beginning in 1950, publishing stories in Astounding Science Fiction and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and his first novel, The Demolished Man, in Galaxy magazine in 1952 (book, 1953); it won the first Hugo Award.

Attended gatherings of the Hydra Club, meeting Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Anthony Boucher, Avram Davidson, Judith Merril, Theodore Sturgeon, and others. In 1953 published “Who He?”(later reprinted as The Rat Race), a novel about the television industry.

With the proceeds of the film rights, moved with Rolly to England and then Italy, where he wrote articles on European television for Holiday magazine, and finished The Stars My Destination, his third novel (first published in England asTiger! Tiger!, 1956, then in the U.S. in 1957; adapted as a graphic novel in 1979 and 1992).

In 1957, delivered lecture “Science Fiction and the Renaissance Man” at the University of Chicago. Published Starburst, a collection of stories, in 1958 (later collections included The Dark Side of the Earth, 1964, and Starlight, 1976).

Adapted his story “Fondly Fahrenheit” for television as Murder and the Android(1959).

Became a regular contributor to Holiday and then senior editor from 1963 to 1971, when the magazine folded.

Went on to write novels The Computer Connection (1975; serialized as The Indian Giver and published in the United Kingdom as Extro), Golem100 (1980), and The Deceivers (1981).

Moved to Ottsville, Pennsylvania, in the early 1980s; died of complications from a broken hip on September 30, 1987, in nearby Doylestown.

His unpublished early thriller Tender Loving Rage appeared posthumously in 1991, followed in 1998 by an unfinished novel, Psychoshop (completed by Roger Zelazny).

In 2001 he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

The Walking Dead: Bester’s adaptation of “Fondly Fahrenheit” (1954)

Bester published his story “Fondly Fahrenheit” in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in August 1954—a couple of years before his novel The Stars My Destination appeared. Here, he adapts this classic story in the radio play The Walking Dead. It was originally broadcast on May 20, 1976, as part of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater series.

A full biography can be found in Google Books: Click here

Listen to the Radio Superman  program with his wife (Rolly Goulko)

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~UG02/superman/radio.html

 

Good information about Alfred in:

http://www.loa.org/sciencefiction/biographies/bester_writings.jsp

 

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