Study Questions for Alfred Bester's "Adam and No Eve" [1941]

Bester's 1941 story is early enough that he is able to employ the privately built rocket ship in a shed scenario while developing his critique of overreaching science. He manages to maintain reader interest by creating a non-linear plot, beginning at Krane's impending demise, then returning us to the earlier events through Krane's somewhat distorted memories. Here are a few questions to consider while reviewing the story:

  1. Does Bester's withholding of information and slow reveal of the specific cause of Earth's devastation work to maintain your interest? What devices does he use to prod you to keep reading? The reference to his holding Ulmer as he parachutes down to Earth? The reference to his argument with Hallmyer? The ghostly appearances of Evelyn?
  2. Does Bester's depiction of Steven Krane function as a critique of the standard adventure hero? If so, in what ways?
  3. What role does Hallmyer play in the story? Evelyn? Ulmer?
  4. Ultimately, which character's views are upheld?
  5. What twist at the end of the story could justify placing "Adam and No Eve" in the section of Masri's book titled "Evolutions"? What exactly about the evolution of life on Earth are we supposed to understand at the story's end, and how is that understanding reflective of the story's title?
  6. Masri suggests that this story is an example of the sf narratives that became common during and after WWII. Is his story derived from concerns that developed during the Manhattan Project? Particularly those expressed by Robert J. Oppenheimer?