The Stars My Destination

The Stars My Destination

Book - 1996
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Marooned in space after an attack on his ship, Nomad, Gulliver Foyle lives to obsessively pursue the crew of a rescue vessel that intended to leave him to die.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1996.
ISBN: 9780679767800
0679767800
Branch Call Number: BESTE
Characteristics: x, 258 p. : ill. ; 20 cm.

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Bester uses science fiction to tell one monster of an adventure tale that is a joy to read. Unlike some authors who would turn this into a trilogy and spend 20 pages describing the contents of a room (Yes, Nate Hawthorne, I'm talking about you.), He manages to cram five major plots into a satisfying 197 pages chock full of spies, thugs, telepaths, planetary war, mind-teleporting, and the evolution of man. Dig this, you!

s
smarjano
Mar 12, 2017

The story certainly moves very quickly in this later novel by the very first Hugo Award winning writer. And great ideas and crisp dialogue fill every page. But action and ideas alone do not make a great science fiction novel. If the main character is superhumanly powerful to overcome every conceivable obstacle (and unexpected powers do crop up every few chapters), then where is the interest in the outcome? This work lacks the poetry and the characterization of e.g. James Blish or Clifford Simak from the same era. Neither did I like the novels this work influenced, the Neuromancer trilogy by William Gibson.

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peawormsworth
Jun 19, 2016

This story moves quickly and the quick descriptions of character and place leave much to the imagination. If you have good imagination, you will enjoy this.
The main character is not terribly ethical. If you like this, then you may also like Clockwork Orange.

h
humbleworm
Jan 20, 2016

I re-read this again after many years because I heard someone rave about it on CBC radio. Honestly, this is pretty typical space opera and may have inspired other writers in its time, but it's pretty awful by today's standards. Only a classic perhaps in the context of an insignificant sample and definitely not enough substance to write a essay about. I own a couple thousand sci-fi/fantasy books and seriously wonder at the hyperbole about this less-than-novel novel.

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JihadiConservative
May 26, 2015

A stunning classic that's influenced a generation of writers and sub genres, including the Cyberpunk movement. The Stars My Destination broke away from the main stream SF about supermen, heroes, and good guys. Instead of the handsome, altruistic good guy, we have a character who's rather repugnant, both physically and morally; an amoral black hole who manages to suck out the good around him without spitting anything of value back into the universe. And despite this,we get it; we understand what makes this man tick. And by golly,we actually emphasis with him -- which is the real genius of Bester.

The story centers on a wonderfully ruthless and tortured protagonist who has a major revenge hard-on. The quest for revenge begins when the protagonist is near-death and adrift in space in a starship a ship approaches that could help instead flies away leaving him to die. The novel is basically Gay Foyle’s obsessive revenge quest against the owners of said ship. Foyle is a flawed individual – lazy to the point of only doing enough to get by and no more, a man with potential but without the will to harness it. His lackadaisical view on life changed when he’s suddenly marooned in space; his flaws prevent him from improving his situation and he’s resigned himself to a slow death until a rescue ship deliberately ignores him. This one act galvanizes Foyle into saving himself and wrecking a horrible vengeance on the owners of said ship.

This is a violent story and the author makes no apologies for it. This is a rewrite of an old staple, the Count of Monte Cristo. A man who’s been betrayed becomes transformed into a different character by that very betrayal and returns to wreck vengeance on the culprits under a different identity. This is no common revenge tale though. The language is evocative with a rather unique journey, set in a fascinating world of unfamiliarity. The hero is thoroughly villain; he’s not some good guy who’s been wronged who turns the other check or some bad guy wrong who becomes a good guy in the process of revenge; no, he’s a bad guy who’s been wronged and motivated by one single thing: revenge.>

The Stars My Destination preceded the whole Cyberpunk movement, founded by Gibson in his seminal novel Neuromancer, but anticipates some of the cyberpunk staples: mega corporations that are the equal of governments, the cybernetic augmentation of the body, building the human mind and body according to specs, a dark unfriendly world, and a lone hero/anarchist. Because of these Cyberpunk staples, The Stars My Destination functions as a sort of proto cyberpunk novel.

The author writes in the same sort of idea-exploring way of Heinlein, but with a darker voice and a darker, completely unpredictable hero. Bester’s experimental yet wonderfully evocative prose, vivid revenge story, dark, brutal world, flawed (arguably unbalanced) yet always interesting characters make this one of the Best Science Fiction books ever written. It’s a classic among classics. If you only ever read five science fiction books, this should be one of them.

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Donymous
Feb 03, 2015

Humanistic. Great book for a discussion.

g
Gold_inthosehills
Oct 10, 2014

There are only a handful of novels that will change how you see the world. This is one of them. Enough said?

s
Seanahnah
May 12, 2014

This is one of my favorite Science-Fiction novels!
If you are a fan of Count of Monte Cristo, Give this a try.

m
MissVerity
Jan 21, 2013

Yes, both a short & fast-paced read. Without spoiling too much: Be forewarned that the main character is a despicable lowlife at the get-go... but his character development doesn't doesn't stay exactly like the first few chapters. Actually my first sci fi book, and a blind book club pick by my sci fi connoisseur friend. Turned out to be a engrossing read, & inspired 3 hours of book club discussion.

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LazyNeko
Mar 10, 2012

It's the Count of Monte Cristo... in space... in a future where everyone has the ability to teleport... and the inner planets and the outer planets are at war. Also, the actions of the revenge-taker (framed in fearful symmetry) leave the fate of all humankind hanging in the balance. Can it be any more awesome?

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LazyNeko
Mar 10, 2012

Gully Foyle is my name And Terra is my nation. Deep space is my dwelling place, The stars my destination.

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