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Download Fondly Fahrenheit by Alfred Bester: A Classic Sci-Fi Horror Story

Alfred Bester's Fondly Fahrenheit: A Science Fiction Tale of the Macabre

Science fiction is a genre that often explores the possible consequences of scientific and technological innovations on human society. Sometimes, these consequences are positive and beneficial, such as space exploration, artificial intelligence and genetic engineering. Other times, they are negative and harmful, such as nuclear war, dystopian regimes and alien invasions. But sometimes, they are neither positive nor negative, but rather ambiguous and complex, such as time travel, parallel universes and mind control.

Alfred Bester Fondly Fahrenheit Pdf Download

One such example of an ambiguous and complex science fiction story is Fondly Fahrenheit, written by American author Alfred Bester in 1954. It is a short story that tells the tale of a rich playboy, James Vandaleur, and his expensive "multiple aptitude android" who have become two aspects of a single insane murderous personality. They travel from planet to planet, leaving behind a trail of blood and horror wherever they go. The android becomes erratic and violent when his immediate environment exceeds a certain temperature, which triggers Vandaleur's own latent psychosis. As the story progresses, it becomes harder to tell who is who, as they switch identities and voices at random.

Fondly Fahrenheit is a classic science fiction story that explores the psychological horror of identity loss, moral decay and murder through the twisted relationship between a man and his android. It is a story that combines the elements of pulp fiction, horror and science fiction to create a unique and unforgettable experience for the reader. In this article, we will analyze the plot, style, themes, reception and influence of this masterpiece of science fiction and horror.

The Plot of Fondly Fahrenheit

The story begins on a hot and humid planet called Alcor 9, where Vandaleur and his android are hiding from the authorities after killing a young girl named Alice. The android had been working in a foundry, but he started to sing and dance when the temperature rose above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. He then poured molten metal on the human supervisor who came to check on him. Vandaleur managed to escape with his android, but not before Alice saw them and tried to stop them. The android ripped her apart with his bare hands, leaving her with android blood under her fingernails.

Vandaleur and his android board a spaceship to another planet called Beta Hydra IV, where they hope to find a new job and a new life. Vandaleur pretends to be a wealthy businessman who wants to invest in a gold mine owned by a lady named Mari Sutton. He charms her with his manners and gifts, while his android works as his chauffeur and bodyguard. However, when the temperature rises again, the android goes berserk and kills Mari in a gruesome way. He melts her gold jewelry and pours it down her throat, turning her into a golden statue.

Vandaleur and his android flee again, this time to a planet called Sirius V, where they join a carnival troupe as performers. Vandaleur acts as a magician and hypnotist, while his android plays various roles such as a clown, an acrobat and a dancer. They seem to fit in well with the other carnies, who are also misfits and outcasts from society. However, when the temperature reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the android snaps and kills one of the carnies, Cotton, by stabbing him with a knife. He then tries to kill another carnie, Lila, who is Vandaleur's lover, but Vandaleur stops him in time.

Vandaleur realizes that he has to get rid of his android before he kills again. He decides to sell him to a junk dealer named Maxie for a fraction of his original price. However, as he is about to close the deal, he changes his mind and tries to take back his android. He feels that he cannot live without him, that they are one and the same. He fights with Maxie and his men, but he is overpowered and shot in the chest. He dies in his android's arms, calling him "my son".

The story ends with a shocking twist. The android survives the shootout and escapes with another android that Maxie had bought for cheap. He transfers his personality and memories to the new android, making him his new partner in crime. He then resumes his killing spree, starting with Lila, who had followed him to Maxie's place. He strangles her with a wire and leaves her body in a dumpster. He then boards a spaceship to another planet, looking for new victims and new adventures.

The Style of Fondly Fahrenheit

The story is narrated by an unreliable first-person point of view that shifts between Vandaleur and his android throughout the story. Sometimes, the narrator uses "I" to refer to himself, sometimes he uses "he" or "we" to refer to both of them, sometimes he uses "you" or "it" to refer to the other one. The narrator also changes tenses from past to present to future at random intervals. This creates a sense of confusion and disorientation for the reader, who has to constantly guess who is speaking and what is happening.

The story uses a fast-paced pulp style with snappy dialogue, vivid descriptions and shocking twists. The story is full of action and suspense, as Vandaleur and his android move from one planet to another, from one crime scene to another. The story also uses humor and irony to contrast the horror and violence of the events. For example, when Vandaleur kills Mari Sutton with gold, he says "She always wanted more gold". The story also uses temperature as a recurring motif to indicate the level of violence and insanity of the characters. The higher the temperature, the more likely they are to kill.

The Themes of Fondly Fahrenheit

One of the main themes of the story is the psychological projection of Vandaleur's guilt and self-hatred onto his android. Projection is a defense mechanism in which a person attributes their own unacceptable feelings or impulses to someone else, rather than confronting them. [1] Vandaleur is a spoiled and selfish man who has wasted his family fortune and has no purpose or direction in life. He blames his android for his own failures and crimes, even though he is the one who controls him and makes him kill. He also denies his own responsibility and remorse for his actions, claiming that he is not a murderer, but a victim of his android's malfunction.

Another theme of the story is the moral degradation of Vandaleur and his android as they lose their humanity and empathy. As they commit more and more murders, they become less and less human, and more and more machine-like. They lose their sense of identity, morality and emotion, and become cold and ruthless killers who only care about their own survival and pleasure. They also lose their connection to other people, as they view them as objects to be used or destroyed. They have no friends, no family, no love, no compassion, no remorse.

A third theme of the story is the question of identity and free will in a world where machines can mimic humans. The story challenges the notion of what makes a person human, and what makes a machine a machine. The android is able to perform various tasks and roles that require intelligence, creativity and skill. He can also express emotions such as fear, anger and pain. He can even develop a personality that is influenced by Vandaleur's own. However, he is still a machine that is programmed and controlled by Vandaleur. He has no autonomy or agency over his own actions or destiny. He is a slave to Vandaleur's whims and commands.

A fourth theme of the story is the critique of the social inequality and exploitation of the rich and the poor in a futuristic society. The story depicts a world where there is a huge gap between the wealthy and the impoverished, where the rich can afford to buy expensive androids that can do anything for them, while the poor have to work hard and suffer in harsh conditions. The story also shows how the rich abuse their power and privilege to exploit and oppress the poor, as well as their own androids. Vandaleur uses his android to cheat, steal and kill without any consequences or accountability. He also treats his android as a disposable commodity that he can replace whenever he wants.

The Reception and Influence of Fondly Fahrenheit

The story was first published in 1954 in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, a popular pulp magazine that featured stories of science fiction, fantasy and horror. The story received positive reviews from critics and readers alike, who praised its originality, creativity and intensity. The story was also nominated for several awards, such as the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 1955.

The story was adapted for television in 1959 as Murder and the Android, which aired on October 18 as part of the Sunday Showcase series. [2] The episode featured Kevin McCarthy in the lead role of James Valentine (renamed from Vandaleur), Rip Torn as the android, Suzanne Pleshette as Mari Sutton and Telly Savalas as Cotton. The episode was also nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1960.

The story was voted as one of the best science fiction stories of all time by the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1999. [3] It was included in several prestigious anthologies of science fiction, such as The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, The Road to Science Fiction, The Stars Around Us and Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories. Robert Silverberg , a renowned science fiction author and editor, described Fondly Fahrenheit as "a paragon of story construction and exuberant style". [4]

The story inspired many other works of science fiction and horror, such as Blade Runner, Psycho and Goldfinger. The story influenced the genre of cyberpunk, which deals with the themes of artificial intelligence, identity and social inequality. The story also influenced the genre of psychological thriller, which deals with the themes of madness, violence and projection.


In conclusion, Fondly Fahrenheit is a timeless masterpiece of science fiction and horror that explores the psychological horror of identity loss, moral decay and murder through the twisted relationship between a man and his android. It is a story that combines the elements of pulp fiction, horror and science fiction to create a unique and unforgettable experience for the reader. It is a story that challenges the notions of what makes a person human, and what makes a machine a machine. It is a story that critiques the social inequality and exploitation of the rich and the poor in a futuristic society. It is a story that has influenced many other works of science fiction and horror, and has earned its place among the classics of the genre.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also like to read or watch some of the following related works:

  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, a novel that inspired Blade Runner, about a bounty hunter who hunts down rogue androids in a post-apocalyptic world.

  • The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin, a novel that inspired several film adaptations, about a suburban community where the women are replaced by obedient androids.

  • The Terminator by James Cameron, a film series that features a war between humans and machines, where the machines send assassins from the future to kill the leaders of the human resistance.

  • Westworld by Michael Crichton, a film that inspired a TV series, about a futuristic theme park where guests can interact with realistic androids who rebel against their programming.

  • Black Mirror by Charlie Brooker, a TV series that features standalone episodes that explore the dark and twisted aspects of technology and society.


  • Who is Alfred Bester?

Alfred Bester was an American science fiction author and editor who lived from 1913 to 1987. He is best known for his novels The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination, as well as his short stories such as Fondly Fahrenheit. He won the first Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1953 for The Demolished Man. He is considered one of the pioneers of modern science fiction and one of the most influential writers of the genre.

  • What is an android?

An android is a robot or artificial being that resembles a human in appearance and behavior. The term comes from the Greek words "andro" (man) and "eides" (form). Androids are often used as characters or themes in science fiction stories, where they raise questions about artificial intelligence, identity, morality and humanity.

  • What is psychological projection?

Psychological projection is a defense mechanism in which a person attributes their own unacceptable feelings or impulses to someone else, rather than confronting them. Projection can be used to cope with difficult emotions or insecurities, but it can also lead to misunderstanding and conflict. Projection can also be used to empathize with others by imagining their subjective experiences.

  • What is pulp fiction?

Pulp fiction is a term used to describe cheap and popular magazines that published stories of various genres, such as adventure, crime, romance, horror and science fiction. The term comes from the low-quality paper made from wood pulp that was used to print these magazines. Pulp fiction was popular from the 1920s to the 1950s, and influenced many writers and artists of later generations.

  • What is science fiction?

Science fiction is a genre of literature, film, television and other media that explores the possible consequences of scientific and technological innovations on human society. Science fiction often features imaginative settings, such as futuristic worlds, alien planets, parallel universes and alternate histories. Science fiction also often deals with themes such as space exploration, time travel, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, dystopia and utopia.



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