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The Stars My Destination (1956)

by Alfred Bester

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,8091651,490 (4)2 / 311
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)
Recently added bylocky_grant, private library, hms_, sedeara, TeamB, inunonaizo, gsmaclean, midget1977, yaminacb, kamintra
Legacy LibrariesLeslie Scalapino
  1. 150
    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. 00
    Camp Concentration by Thomas M. Disch (Anonymous user)
  7. 04
    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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» See also 311 mentions

English (160)  Italian (2)  Finnish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (164)
Showing 1-5 of 160 (next | show all)
Gully foyle is a Spaceman who is marooned on his wrecked spaceship. He's been 5 months dying.
"...since he was already wearing the patched space suit he might just as well run the gauntlet vacuum again and replenish his supplies.
he flooded his space suit with air from the tank, resealed his helmet and sailed out into the frost and light again. He squirmed down the main-deck corridor and ascended the remains of a stairway to control deck which was no more than a roofed corridor in space. most of the walls were destroyed.
with the sun on his right and the stars on his left, foyle shot aft toward the galley storeroom. Halfway down the corridor he passed a door frame still standing four square between deck and roof. The leaf still hung on its hinges, half open, a door to nowhere. Behind it was all space and the steady stars.
As foyle passed the door he had a quick view of himself reflected in the polished chrome of the leaf ... Gully foyle, a giant black creature, bearded, crusted with dried blood and filth, emaciated, with sick, patient eyes... And followed always by a stream of flowing debris, the raffle disturbed by his motion and following him through space like the tale of a festering comet."
He can't believe his eyes when he sees this spaceship coming towards him. He rushes to the supply locker, taking out emergency flares, and lights one after another. The spaceship, obviously seeing his flares, slows as it comes near him. But with astonishment, foyle sees the spaceship take off again. The rest of the book is foyle's attempt to avenge this abandonment. He is so outraged, he is motivated to save himself in his desire to go after and destroy the spaceship.
In the beginning, he's too stupid to realize that the spaceship itself is not at fault. He traces the spaceship to its home in a launching pad. Attempting to destroy the spaceship, he is caught and sent to a cavernous prison in france. Prisoners are kept in absolute darkness, and are not allowed to speak. Foyle becomes despondent and is considering a blue jaunte (where you jaunte into space, and are thus destroyed), when he discovers that he can hear someone whispering:
"It whispered in his ear from nowhere, and suddenly, with the logic of desperation, it came to him that there was a way out of gouffre martel. He had been a fool not to see it before.
'Yes,' he croaked. 'there's a way out.'
There was a soft gasp, then a soft question: 'who's there?'
'me, is all,' foyle said. 'you know me.'
'where are you?'
'here. where I always been, me.'
'but there's no one. I'm alone.'
'got to thank you for helping me.'
'hearing voices is bad' the furious Angel murmured.'the first step off the deep end. I've got to stop.'
'you showed me the way out. Blue jaunte.'
'Blue jaunte! My god, this must be real. You're talking the gutter lingo. You must be real. Who are you?'
'Gully foyle.'
'but you're not in my cell. You're not even near. Men are in the north quadrant of gouffre Martel. women are in the South. I'm south-900. Where are you?'
'you're a quarter-mile away. how can we -- of course! It's the whisper line. I always thought that was a legend, but it's true. it's working now.'
'here I go, me,' foyle whispered. 'blue jaunte.'
'foyle, listen to me. forget the blue jaunte. Don't throw this away. It's a miracle.'
'what's a miracle?'
'there's an acoustical freak in gouffre martel... They happen in underground caves... A freak of echoes, passages, and whispering galleries. Old timers call it the whisper line. I never believed them. no one ever did, but it's true. We're talking to each other over the whisper line. No one can hear us but us. We can talk, foyle. we can plan. Maybe we can escape.' "
So foyle meets jisBella McQueen [!]. They plan their escape and after incredible mishaps and hardship, they are successful.

Foyle was tattooed with a tiger's markings and the words "Nomad," the name of his wrecked spaceship, on his face, by a crazy chieftain of a people living on an asteroid that he crashed his spaceship into. jisBella pays a cosmetic surgeon to remove the tattoo, but the tattoo reappears when Foyle gets angry.
" 'I don't think this can be fixed, gully.'
'Skin graft...'
'no. the scars are too deep for graft. You'll never get rid of the stigmata, gully. You'll have to learn to live with it.'
'foyle flung the mirror from him in sudden rage, and again the blood-red mask flared up under his skin. He lunged out of the main cabin to the main hatch where he pulled his spacesuit down and began to squirm into it.
'gully! Where are you going? What are you going to do?'
'Get tools,' he shouted. 'tools for the safe.'
'in the asteroid. they've got dozens of warehouses stuffed with tools from wrecked ships. There have to be drills there, everything I need. Don't come with me. There may be trouble. how is my goddamn face now? Showing it? By christ, I hope there is trouble!' "
As it turns out, the Nomad had on board a valuable material, called pyrE, which its holder controls the means of winning the war between the inhabitants of the inner planets (I.P.) and the outer planets (O.P.). The owner of the ship, Presteign, who throughout the book is always "coldly" replying to someone or other, is desperate to get this back from its concealment inside a disguised safe. Gully Foyle doesn't know what the substance is, but he knows that its possession will give him the means to find the person who gave the order for the rescue ship to abandon him, and destroy them.

I don't want to spend anymore time on this review, because I didn't like the book. Some reviewers have said that this is a sci-fi takeoff on "the count of monte cristo." I have read that book and this doesn't rate. I despised the protagonist. I don't like the women characters, either. The book is sexist. I don't think I would've liked Alfred Bester. ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
I haven't liked the book so much as to give it 4 stars, but then it's true that this book does a lot of things well, and when there are a lot of good things, you must acknowledge it.

The pace is good, the story is good, there are some brilliant moments. I still expected more. ( )
  NachoSeco | Oct 10, 2022 |
a lot of cool ideas here (especially for the time), some boring tropes ( )
  rottweilersmile | Sep 16, 2022 |
What a very strange book. Not a single likeable character but that doesn't bother me. I was occasionally lost - there were a few HUH moments. Not sure what to make of it at all, tbh. ( )
  infjsarah | Sep 7, 2022 |
Am citit o cateva capitole dar e ceva in stilul lui care nu imi place.
Si poveste care parea interesant s-a schimbat in rau cand s-a reintors Gully Foyle pe pamant. ( )
  Faltiska | Apr 30, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 160 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (38 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bester, Alfredprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adams, MarcCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bacon, C.W.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bing, JonAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bringsværd, Tor ÅgeAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chesterman, AdrianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dahl, Tor EdvinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Doyle, GerardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giancola, DonatoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horen, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, Richard M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sleight, GrahamIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stege, GiselaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Tiger! Tiger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame they fearful symmetry?
~ Blake
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.
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", was the original title used for the publication in Galaxy magazine.
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (4)

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.

No library descriptions found.

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.


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