|Alfred Bester was relatively unprolific compared to most science fiction authors of his era, but his contributions were extremely influential. Born in 1913 in New York, he studied humanities and psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He published his first story, "The Broken Axiom", when he was 26. Over the next three years, until 1942, Bester wrote only a handful of stories before moving into comic books, working on "Superman", "The Green Lantern", and "Batman". After comics, he started working for radio serials. Returning to sf in the 1950s, Bester began to produce not only his own best work, but some of the best work in the field. 1953's THE DEMOLISHED MAN, which won the very first Hugo Award for Best Novel, was his debut novel, and is still regarded as a classic. Though it didn't win any awards at the time, his second novel, TIGER! TIGER!, known more commonly as THE STARS MY DESTINATION, is also a classic work. His short stories from this period, which include "The Men Who Murdered Mohammed", are as good as, if not better than, anything else being published in the genre at the time. Bester's work between 1950 and 1970 was a major influence on the "new wave" sf authors, especially in its addition of psychological depth to what had been a somewhat sterile genre. Most critics point out that, with a few exceptions, there was a general decline in the quality of Bester's work after 1970. His best of the era is probably GOLEM 100. With his health failing and his 1981 novel, THE DECEIVERS failing to generate any interest among critics, Bester largely retreated from the field and died six years later, apparently willing his house and estate to his favorite bartender. Bester's work remains influential today--one of America's premier science fiction bookstores and a song by English/French "alternative" music group Stereolab are both named The Stars Our Destination. Ideas from his works pop up in science fiction television shows, and there is seemingly always a movie version around the corner. In the mid-1990s, largely due to demand, Bester's work began to be reissued, and will no doubt influence a whole new generation.