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The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

The Stars My Destination (1956)

by Alfred Bester

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,8571301,425 (4.05)2 / 286
  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. 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 (126)  Italian (2)  Finnish (1)  All languages (129)
Showing 1-5 of 126 (next | show all)
Secretes -Babylon 5 as Devil's Advocate (PsyCorp villian 'Al Bester takes opposite tack from end of Bester's book)?
31 December, 12014 HE (Holocene/Human Era) ( )
  ShiraDest | Mar 6, 2019 |
This novel, a landmark text in the history of science fiction, holds little to no interest for casual fans of sci-fi (among which I consider myself).

Published in 1956, the story of Gully Foyle—an intergalactic rogue hellbent on revenge—reads like pulp detective fiction. Throughout his adventures, an intricate web of intrigue involving explosives and government/corporate malfeasance peppered with numerous episodes of space-and-time-hopping called “jaunting,” Foyle encounters many “dames”—stereotypical female characters that do little more than spark his rage and stir his loins.

I found the story tedious, yet I acknowledge that more sophisticated fans of the genre revere this novel. If you’re a sci-fi aficionado, dive in. If you’re not, avoid it. ( )
  jimrgill | Feb 2, 2019 |
Everyone has their instance of "the Mandela effect," I suppose. For me, it's a belief that when working at Kroger as a cashier in the early 2000s, one of the songs that frequently rotated on corporate radio (along with the inferior Counting Crows cover of "Big Yellow Taxi") included the lyrics "deep space is my dwelling place / the stars my destination." I'm pretty sure this isn't actually true now because no evidence exists, but by God I remember it. How those lines from a poem in a 1950s sf novel would have otherwise ended up in my consciousness, though, I don't know, because I didn't read the book until fifteen years later. I probably first heard of Alfred Bester in the mid-2000s, reading episode guides for Babylon 5 and the terrible 1970s British children's telefantasy programme The Tomorrow People. The former named a character after him; the latter reused the term jaunte from this novel to describe mental teleportation.

All this is to say, the book was a long time coming for me. I finally felt moved to read it when I read Bester's other big sf novel, The Demolished Man, because it won the 1953 Hugo Award for Best Novel. There was no 1957 Hugo Award for Best Novel, but if there had been, The Stars My Destination might have won it.

But I found the novel disappointing. I would say it failed to grab me, but it actually did grab me: the opening is great, with Gully Foyle stranded on a spaceship and doing his damndest to survive, going from ordinary man to extraordinary. I love the exploration of how jaunting would change our culture's conceptions of privacy and security. Gully's adventures in prison and such are clever and interesting. However, somewhere around the midpoint of the novel, once Gully embarked on his ripped-from-Count-of-Monte-Cristo campaign of anonymous revenge, I found that my interest had evaporated. The set-up is great, and Bester's prose is miles above his sf contemporaries, but he just doesn't do anything particularly interesting with it all, and like Demolished Man, things get all mindtrippingly weird in the last few chapters, and not in a good way.

Also I think it's weird that the back cover of my Gollancz SF Masterworks edition trumpets an introduction by minor sf critic Graham Sleight, but fails to mention at all the presence of an afterword by Neil Gaiman!
  Stevil2001 | Jan 11, 2019 |
"Sorry I raped you and then terrorized you into doing whatever I told you."
"Haha, no worries, I'm over it." ( )
1 vote pnppl | Jan 10, 2019 |
Really not my type of book. ( )
  VLarkinAnderson | Sep 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 126 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (50 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alfred Besterprimary authorall editionscalculated
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
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".
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (4)

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.


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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