User Review - Flag as inappropriate
In his introduction to the book, Neil Gaiman notes that most science fiction, while being about the future, is a product of the times in which it was written. Therefore, most science fiction can be easily dated within the first two pages. Books from the 80s read like Neuromancer, with their despairing cyber-topiae, books from the 50s all sound like Arthur C. Clarke, and books from the 70s have entirely too much sexual subtext.
The Stars My Destination was originally published in 1956, but damned if it feels that way. Probably because so much 50s sci-fi predicted the shiny-jumpsuit future where the biggest problem we face is robot Armageddon. This book, on the other hand, deals realistically with the problems of the future. One of which is the realistic implications of "jaunting," the will-driven teleportation that any normal person should be able to achieve, albeit to different magnitudes. The ability to move yourself up to 1,000 miles with a thought creates a terrible economic and social upheaval, reordering the way that humans have lived ever since we figured out how to fit wheel to axle.
The other element that I likesd was that of the corporate ruling class that runs thoroughout the book. While there is no explicitly shown "lower class," the overarching power of the corporate clans tacitly demands the existance of an impoverished working class, full of ignorant laborers who will just work for their day's pay.
Such is Gully Foyle. He's presented to us in the beginning as a near-animal brute, thinking of only one thing - survival alone in deep space. As it turns out, he's very good at that, and eventually manages to signal a passing spaceship to pick him up. But, when the ship passes him by, his thoughts turn to a new white-hot focus: revenge. And with revenge in mind, it turns out, you can accomplish damn near anything.
The path that Foyle takes is long and complicated, driving him from the highest of high society to the depths of the earth, and at each stage of his quest, he becomes more than he was. Gully Foyle goes from animal to man, and then on to something more....
I tore through this book in a couple of days, and enjoyed most of it very much. Most of it. The ending fell flat for me, though. For the majority of the book, Bester was trying to get us to cheer for this revenge-driven brute, this animal in human flesh who, no matter how well he learns to speak or dress, is still driven by his burning flame of vengeance. In the beginning, in fact, he reminded me a lot of Marv from Sin City - The Hard Goodbye. As we get to the end, though, it seems like Bester felt compelled to throw in some social commentary about the inherent goodness of the masses of humanity and our limitless potential or some other such nonsense. I didn't buy it. Foyle's switch from selfish individual to quasi-messianic superhero seemed really forced. I would have been happier if he'd just killed the people who needed killing and then went off to explore the universe.
Other than that, it was a great book.
Review: The Stars My DestinationUser Review - Gabriel C. - Goodreads
Trigger warning. This book has some heavyweights in its corner. If I recall correctly, Sam Delany recommended it in The Jewel-Hinged Jaw. Gaiman wrote the intro (which I'll read after I write this ... Read full review
Review: The Stars My DestinationUser Review - Andrewcharles420 - Goodreads
A merchant [space] marine is the only survivor on an attacked ship, barely scraping by for six months before sighting another vessel. He signals the ship and it approaches... only to look him over and ... Read full review
Review: The Stars My DestinationUser Review - Terry - Goodreads
Gully Foyle is my name Terra is my nation Deep space is my dwelling place The stars my destination Sci-fi from its formative days is funny. Not funny ha-ha (not always anyway), but funny-weird…at ... Read full review
Review: The Stars My DestinationUser Review - Jeff - Goodreads
This was a book I had sitting in my library for years and finally got around to reading. It is regarded as one of the all time science fiction classics, and I even remember shopping at The Stars Our ... Read full review
Review: The Stars My DestinationUser Review - Joan - Goodreads
A paperback I was given. Good job really because it went into the next bag of charity stuff to be 'got rid of'. I love early Sci-fi... Heinlein, etc, The gritty,.,. man v space stories, Tunnel in the ... Read full review
Review: The Stars My DestinationUser Review - Bria - Goodreads
I could write an in-depth analysis of just what makes this book so hideously misogynistic, racist, obnoxious, idiotic, and just generally odious, not to mention unfoundedly preachy, but we're all ... Read full review
Review: The Stars My DestinationUser Review - Kendal - Goodreads
I want to start by saying that I did not like this book. I have a hard time accepting that this is a classic piece of science fiction. I thought it was well-written but the characters are difficult to ... Read full review
Review: The Stars My DestinationUser Review - Marc Goldstein - Goodreads
Gully Foyle is a 3rd-class mechanic on a star freighter. His ship is crippled and its crew killed. He alone survives. Previously a lazy no-account, Foyle turns into a inhuman machine of vengeance when ... Read full review
Review: The Stars My DestinationUser Review - Patrik Kullebjörk - Goodreads
Ferocious, queer and beautiful. This is not run-of-the-mill science fiction. Read full review