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The Stars My Destination (Vintage Books) by…
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The Stars My Destination (Vintage Books) (original 1956; edition 1956)

by Alfred Bester, Neil Gaiman (Introduction), Alex and Phyllis Eisenstein (Editor)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,825991,350 (4.09)2 / 232
Member:sturlington
Title:The Stars My Destination (Vintage Books)
Authors:Alfred Bester
Other authors:Neil Gaiman (Introduction), Alex and Phyllis Eisenstein (Editor)
Info:New York : Vintage Books, 1996. Trade paperback
Collections:Your library, Fantastic Fiction
Rating:****
Tags:Teleporters, Revenge, Science fiction, edition (Vintage), unreviewed

Work details

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester (1956)

Recently added byDanielToveyHayes, pcollins, jockoflocko, private library, drcmg, mathsie, HenryKrinkle
  1. 130
    The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester (timspalding)
    timspalding: The rest of Bester isn't very good. These two are great.
  2. 60
    The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père (sturlington)
    sturlington: Inspired The Stars My Destination.
  3. 30
    Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks (EatSleepChuck)
  4. 31
    Ubik by Philip K. Dick (falls)
  5. 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 (96)  Italian (2)  Finnish (1)  All languages (99)
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
This book is a literary version of the car chase scene in the movies, and behind the wheel is a madman of such magnitude I haven't encountered before. What a ride. ( )
1 vote Me-chan | Jun 19, 2014 |
I don't think I can describe this. There are better reviewers than I to do that. My response? I read this in one day. I wanted to know what would become of Gully Foyle. There were many aspects of it, those which make it seem similar to The Count of Monte Cristo, which I enjoyed.

Other parts were painful. I did not understand some of the responses the characters had to Foyle, especially the women. That whole "I hate you, you've ruined my life, now let's make love" thing doesn't work for me. Also, I do not enjoy psychedelic trips, and there were enough of those in here to firmly ground this book in that I would have thought it was written in the 60's. The end disappointed me, because I like conclusive endings. ( )
  MrsLee | Mar 2, 2014 |

The Count of Monte Christo is space. Written in the 50s, portions of the book are very dated and winceworthy, whilst other parts pave the way for for sci-fi to come. ( )
  StigE | Feb 22, 2014 |
This book was published the year before I was born. I am 56. Of course the story is going to have some dated elements. It is older than the space race. It predates Sputnik. It pre-dates all the wonderful footage we have seen of astronauts and cosmonauts walking in space or floating through the International Space Station. Of course Bester was going to get some practical things wrong.

When I read an old book I read it taking the time of its writing into consideration. I can make allowances for the dated elements of such a story and I can find these quaint as they give clues to the contemporary social norms of the time. The type of things I can overlook include the referring to rocket boosters as jets, the concept of “corking” one’s spacesuit to keep the air in, and the unrealistic representation of people doing work in zero gravity. As I say, I can make allowances for these, as long as the story told has some other interesting elements such as a sociological statement I will suspend my incredulity.

As someone once said, “Science Fiction is about the present”. Bester was obviously making statements about issues he noticed at the time he was writing The Stars My Destination. He also included, albeit tangentially, indications of how he envisaged the future of multinational organisations, amongst other things.


Globalisation is obviously fully established in Bester’s world for the novel. Thanks to “jaunting” the big corporations can have a presence all over the world without too much trouble. It would not be difficulty to draw a parallel between the capability jaunting provides the corporation and the capabilities now available to the business world in terms of Internet communications and the relatively cheap availability of flight connections to virtually anywhere one wanted to go.

One thing I believe he failed to predict was the disruptive nature of new technology and the growth of new companies and organisations and the decline in the power of older companies. In The Stars My Destination one of the powerful clans is Kodak. If upstarts are to make a place for themselves they have to buy, bully or bluff their way into one of the existing big organisations and build their empire from within their adopted clan. There appears to be no room for building a new organisation from scratch.

He does not bring in government politicians but represents authority through the security agency, with Y’ang Yeovil in control, who also appears to have a global remit.

I perceive Bester’s message to be one that is anti-concentrated power, i.e. he pushes the idea of a more egalitarian society with everyone able to decide things for themselves. I felt his approach towards the end of the book was a bit preachy and a recipe for anarchy which would not really produce the best results for citizens and society.

Gully Foyle’s rise to riches and development of style and intellect would indicate Bester having a belief in positive thinking and that if people are sufficiently motivated and provided with the opportunity, the sky is their limit. Gully’s case is a bit extreme, but it is just a story.

I saw a parallel with Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001 in relation to the evolution of man through the growth in his mental agility and capability.

His portrayal of women would not be regarded as very PC in today’s world, but he did have a few very powerful women, but they did work and live in a relatively restrictive environment.

I got the impression that Bester did not find the world a place full of nice people. He certainly did not populate this novel with any nice people. I think he wanted to indicate that we are all flawed and he did that by having fairly unlikeable people in the novel. Gully is particularly obnoxious but I see the end of the novel as indicating that Gully was a good person at heart and that he strived for salvation and redemption for his transgressions against the world. I suppose some people would draw parallels between Gully Foyle and Christ in terms of his taking on the sins of the world. Regardless of that, there were no nice people to be found.

I think Bester was foretelling the possibilities of cybernetics with the enhancing technology implanted in Foyle’s body to give him superhuman capability.


What did I take from the book?:
Nobody is perfect; the establishment is always there and it is driven by the wishes of the big corporations; money corrupts; the little people always suffer; it is hard to change the world.

I think the world Bester created in this story has many parallels to the present day. ( )
  pgmcc | Feb 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 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
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:57:00 -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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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