GOLEM 100 by Alfred Bester


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Outrageous, erratic, brilliant Bester is back--with a generous, ultimately unsatisfying mix of fantasy, occult, science-fiction, and psycho-babble. He begins well, in a satiric vein, as some dumb Manhattan ladies of the 21st century get together for a few nice, old-timey ""chaunts"" for summoning up the Devil. And indeed, unbeknownst to the gals, their collective ids do conjure up super-fiend Golem 100--who starts murdering folks and sucking their bones clean, then returning to his ""phasmaworld"" below the level of conscious. Dear, dear--will anyone figure out what's going on, golem-wise? Yes: Gretchen Nunn, the world's leading psychodynamicist, intuits the Golem's horrors--and, moreover, she intuits that Dr. Blaise Shima, a Japanese-Irish-French perfume-expert chemist, falls into fugue states corresponding to Golem 100's murderous emergences from Phasmaworld. Furthermore, she finds a residue of Promethium (a hallucinogenic element) in the bones of the Golem's victims--a clue to the way that she and Shima can enter the Golem 100's subuniverse and perhaps combat the deadly delirium. And their various trips into Phasmaworld are illustrated with several dozen psychedelic drawings. . . . There is much to be admired in this fantasy--its satire and spontaneity--but somewhere along the line the high spirits congeal into massive self-indulgence and an attractively literate talent slips into doggerel. A juicy curiosity that only diehard golem-watchers will want to see through to the mangled finale.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1980
Publisher: Simon & Schuster