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The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
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The Stars My Destination (1956)

by Alfred Bester

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,2211111,180 (4.07)2 / 249
  1. 151
    The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester (timspalding)
    timspalding: The rest of Bester isn't very good. These two are great.
  2. 70
    The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père (sturlington)
    sturlington: Inspired The Stars My Destination.
  3. 41
    Ubik by Philip K. Dick (falls)
  4. 31
    Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks (EatSleepChuck)
  5. 00
    Join by Steve Toutonghi (47degreesnorth)
  6. 03
    The Stars' Tennis Balls by Stephen Fry (pnorth)
    pnorth: Another book based on The Count of Monte Cristo but closer to the original than Bester's.
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English (110)  Italian (2)  Finnish (1)  All languages (113)
Showing 1-5 of 110 (next | show all)
It is meant to be one of the best classical SF books, but really it shows its age. Mediocre writing, indifferent characters and a less than inspiring plot. I guess the imagination at the time was impressive but today there are many more comprehensive and beguiling sf worlds created by good writers... Shame really, but hey ho.
Writing: 1/5
World: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Plot: 1/5 ( )
  PeterWhitfield | May 19, 2016 |
Very interesting story, and good example of classic sci-fi, but the dialect at the beginning killed it for me. Also, while I understand the title, it could have had a much more apt one. ( )
  bookwyrmm | May 3, 2016 |
Probably more of a 3-star read for me but I will allow an extra half star for the era in which this was written. The narrative clearly shows that this was originally published in serialized form. Nevertheless, the story itself...

There are a lot of ideas here to like. Unfortunately for me, this book hinges on some of my least favorite SF tropes. Chief among them is telepathy and traveling through time and space using nothing more than your mind, (jaunting). The other thing that made this a difficult book was the protagonist. For the bulk of the narrative, Gully Foyle has almost no redeeming qualities. He is arrogant, angry, glib, misogynistic, spiteful, deceitful, and downright mean-spirited. A remarkably difficult character to identify with!

Bester does write a fast-paced, frenetic tale that shows a lot of potential and has clearly influenced many writers that have followed in his footsteps. To my way of thinking, many of those writers have surpassed him in execution of story while paying homage to his creativity.

Overall, I'm glad to move another classic SF book from the TBR to the 'Read' shelf. This one is unlikely to get a re-read from me tho... ( )
  ScoLgo | Feb 29, 2016 |
This book has been cited as influencing Jasper Fforde, Neil Gaiman and Iain M Banks, so I came to it with high hopes. Science Fiction does not always date well and this was written in 1956 as 'Tiger Tiger', but seems to have escaped unscathed and stands up well.

The story centres on Gully Foyle, stranded alone on the wreckage of the Nomad drifting in space, he is overlooked for rescue by the sister ship Vorga. This provides the spur for Gully to 'rescue' himself and he then goes on a rampage to find and punish those that left him to die. It's a wild journey full of understated violence.... the fact that this was written in 1956 means that various things, such as rape and seduction, are left to the imagination. It would have been unthinkable to describe them in detail then. Maybe that is the only sign of the book dating but, personally, that doesn't detract from it for me. Otherwise the actual sci-fi works well and I can see why this is one of the books credited with inventing cyberpunk. There's also an element of steampunk here but kind of in reverse. Instead of being set in victorian times with sci-fi elements, it's set in the future with victorian elements.

I really enjoyed this book, but I do like and have read a lot of Science Fiction, so it plays to my peferences.

Further info gleaned on the novel/author/influence etc:

The Stars My Destination (aka Tiger, Tiger) was Bester's second novel and was outlined while he was living in England and mostly written when he was living in Rome. It had its origins in a newspaper clipping that Bester found about Poon Lim, a shipwrecked World War II sailor on a raft, who had drifted unrescued in the Pacific for a world record 133 days because passing ships thought he was a lure to bring them within torpedo range of a hidden submarine. From that germ grew the story of Gully Foyle, seeking revenge for his abandonment and causing havoc all about him: a science fiction re-telling of Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo with teleportation added to the mix. It has been described as an ancestor of cyberpunk.

It has been repeatedly voted in polls as the "Best Science Fiction Novel of All Time' and cited as #2 in Iain M Banks top 10 sci fi novels. It's also listed in The Guardian's 1000 best novels
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/jan/23/bestbooks-fiction

Gully Foyle makes a cameo appearance as an agent for the Jurisfiction organisation in the BookWorld of author Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series. Another novel in the series, The Well of Lost Plots, uses Stars My Destination as the title of a tabloid newspaper in the fictional universe of Emperor Zhark.

In addition, the character of Psi-Cop Alfred Bester in Babylon 5 is named after the author and the treatment of telepathy in the series is similar to that in Bester's works. ( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
I first read this book decades ago under the title of Tiger! Tiger! (British edition). I just reread it recently for the purposes of writing this review. Fortunately I have memory like a sieve so I enjoy this reread just as much as the first time.

The Stars My Destination is one of the few sf books that is included in almost every all-time best sf books I have ever seen, and I have seen many. If I see such a list without this book I will probably dismiss it.

The story is centered upon Gully (Gulliver) Foyle a vengeful anti-hero protagonist who thinks nothing of whacking all and sundry with a sledgehammer. It is set in a universe where practically everybody can teleport, the part where teleportation ("jaunting") is discovered by accident and developed into a normal mode of transportation is brief yet brilliant, and the social and cultural ramifications are very well thought out. Foyle is not exactly likable but you have to feel sorry for the ordeals he goes through in this book. Abandoned, marooned, kidnapped, tortured, and imprisoned, no wonder he is so bitter and vengeful all the time; at no point does anybody offer him a nice cup of tea or a manicure. Foyle stoically goes through all this ill treatment with a snarl and a promise of payback. Bester's witty and intelligent prose contrast nicely with the gutter language spoken by Foyle in the first half of the book. The author has cited The Count of Monte Cristo as an influence for this book but the similarity is not noticeable until Foyle reinvented himself with an extreme makeover in the second half of the book, the breakneck pace of the book also slows down for the elaborate revenge plan at this point.

As this is one of the most beloved sf books ever recommendation is not usually necessary for regular sf readers, readers new to the genre will find this an ideal starting point.

The last couple of chapters are wonderfully trippy, surreal, philosophical and cosmic! I suspect these last chapters play a large part in pushing the book to its classic status.

I love this book, me! ( )
  apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 110 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alfred Besterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adams, MarcCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bacon, C.W.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chesterman, AdrianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horen, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, Richard M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
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People/Characters
Important places
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Awards and honors
Epigraph
Tiger! Tiger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame they fearful symmetry?
~ Blake
Dedication
To Truman M. Talley
First words
This was a Golden Age, a time of high adventure rich living and hard dying . . . but nobody thought so.
~ Prologue
He was one hundred and seventy days dying and not yet dead.
Quotations
He was Gully Foyle, the oiler, wiper, bunkerman; too easy for trouble, too slow for fun, too empty for friendship, too lazy for love.
"Vorga, I kill you filthy."
It was an age of freaks, monsters, and grotesques. All the world was misshapen in marvelous and malevolent ways.
Gully Foyle is my nameAnd Terra is my nation.Deep space is my dwelling place,The stars my destination.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Bester's original title, used in the UK editions, was "Tiger! Tiger!" (a reference to the Blake poem). In the US: "The Stars My Destination".
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
In a future where humans have learned how to teleport, provided they have previously physically seen their destination, Gully Foyle's is marooned in space, and he becomes obsessed with getting revenge after another spaceship passes him by.
Haiku summary
Don't mess with Gully.
He'll do whatever it takes
To fuck you over.

(Carnophile)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679767800, Paperback)

When it comes to pop culture, Alfred Bester (1913-1987) is something of an unsung hero. He wrote radio scripts, screenplays, and comic books (in which capacity he created the original Green Lantern Oath). But Bester is best known for his science-fiction novels, and The Stars My Destination may be his finest creation. First published in 1956 (as Tiger! Tiger!), the novel revolves around a hero named Gulliver Foyle, who teleports himself out of a tight spot and creates a great deal of consternation in the process. With its sly potshotting at corporate skullduggery, The Stars My Destination seems utterly contemporary, and has maintained its status as an underground classic for forty years. (Bester fans should also note that Vintage has reprinted The Demolished Man, which won the very first Hugo Award in 1953.)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:52 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Gully Foyle, Mechanic's Mate 3rd Class, is the only survivor on his drifting, wrecked spaceship. When another space vessel, the Vorga, ignores his distress flares and sails by, Foyle becomes a man obsessed with revenge. He endures 170 days alone in deep space before finding refuge on the Sargasso Asteroid and then returning to Earth to track down the crew and owners of the Vorga. But, as he works out his murderous grudge, Foyle also uncovers a secret of momentous proportions.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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