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Alfred Bester Is Alive and Well and Living in Winterset, Iowa

Bret Bertholf
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Sep 2003, Vol. 105 Issue 3, pp.8-37
ISSN 0024-984X
September 2003

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This is quite a complex story. The protagonist may be an old man in a nursing home or a computer virus self-aware but unaware of its status. His female visitor, Jemmy Marko, may be the his daughter or the wife of the programmer who created the virusor both. The old man was a science fiction fan who attended an SF convention in New York in 1957 and there met a group of fans who lived in New Jersey, publishing a fanzine. All, including himself, wanted to get published but this only happened for one of them. They tear apart his story in which they are embedded. The characters, viruses, etc. are named for characters in Bester's stories: the protagonist is named Stuart Buchanan after a boy in a Bester story who could make his wishes come true. "The virus is administered with codes and string passages that make reference to the work of Alfred Bester."

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