Alfred Bester, The Computer Connection (1975)

Alfred Bester, Datormannen [The Computer Connection] (1975 - Delta Science Fiction [34], Sweden), uncredited cover artist.
Alfred Bester, Datormannen [The Computer Connection] (1975 – Delta Science Fiction [34], Sweden), uncredited cover artist. Not the most colourful of covers, is it?
Alfred Besters bok Datormannen är en knepig tegelsten att tugga sig igenom. Hans lätt bisarra stil faller inte alla på läppen, men jag måste säga att jag fann den läsvärd och roande. Orkar faktiskt inte redogöra för handlingen, utan snor sammanfattningen direkt från engelska wikipedia:

In the future, a band of immortals (some who are famous historical characters, some who have tried their best to avoid becoming so), including Herb Wells, Ned Curzon (nicknamed Grand Guignol), Hillel, and Sam Pepys have only one requirement for membership: don’t die. Through their extensive social network, they come across a brilliant Cherokee physicist named Sequoya Guess, who himself has only very recently learned of his peculiarity and the catches and loopholes that come along with it. This creates a swift change in Guess’s day-to-day life that is as much a shock to his friends as to himself. At the same time, the world’s scientists are collaborating to bring together a supercomputer named Extro that will monitor and control all mechanical activity on Earth. The immortals create a plan to subtly harness Extro to aid them in their quest for knowledge and use some of the experience they’ve gained to assist it in its task. Working outside of expected behavior, Extro instead seizes control of Dr. Guess, leaving the only people who know what’s going on — the Immortals and Guess’s nearest friends — to grapple with the heart and mind of a malevolent machine in the body of an Immortal, a powerful and ingenious man who cannot be killed.

Se där, lättförståeligt eller hur? Det är en fartfylld burlesk historia, fylld av knasiga personligheter och tvära kast. Dessutom är den stundtals skriven på blandad dialekt, en slags hittepå-esperanto från framtiden. Boken måste varit ett hästjobb att översätta…

Som ni förstår är detta inte en roman man rekommenderar till någon som vill “testa på lite science fiction”. Boken kräver en hängivenhet till genren, samt ett förlåtande sinnelag. Har man det är den fantastisk – annars får man börja försiktigt med Gogol och jobba sig vidare stegvis uppför burlesktrappan.

 

Alfred Bester, The Computer Connection (1975), cover artist Richard Powers | credit ISFDB.
Alfred Bester, The Computer Connection (1975), cover artist Richard Powers | credit ISFDB. Another rather dull cover. Give me robots and space battles, will you?
Alfred Bester, Extro (variant title of The Computer Connection - 1975), cover artist Peter Tybus | credit ISFDB.
Alfred Bester, Extro (variant title of The Computer Connection – 1975), cover artist Peter Tybus | credit ISFDB. Now we are talking! Tiger people and green skeleton! Lots of colorful cords!
Alfred Bester, Der Computer und die Usteblichen [The Computer Connection] (1976), cover artist David Hardy | credit ISFDB.
Alfred Bester, Der Computer und die Usteblichen [The Computer Connection] (1976), cover artist David Hardy | credit ISFDB. Great cover illustrating the merge between the human scientist Guess and the central computer.
Alfred Bester, Extro (variant title of The Computer Connection - 1979), uncredited cover artist  | credit ISFDB.
Alfred Bester, Extro (variant title of The Computer Connection – 1979), uncredited cover artist | credit ISFDB.
Alfred Bester, The Computer Connection (2000), cover artist Jesse Cooday | credit ISFDB.
Alfred Bester, The Computer Connection (2000), cover artist Jesse Cooday | credit ISFDB. A modern, scary version of the computer connection.
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