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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 Destination

User Review  - Goodreads

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. Read full review

Review: The Stars My Destination

User Review  - Goodreads

I would give this two or even one star. The characters are cardboard puppets yanked by the incoherent erratic plot However I must say that a lot of sci-fi has similar sins and given that this is ... Read full review

Review: The Stars My Destination

User Review  - Goodreads

For the first time, I'm going to write a review on this book without reading other people's thoughts. There was a lot of action in this fast-paced book, but I suspect there were what you would call ... Read full review

Review: The Stars My Destination

User Review  - Goodreads

Great book, soft sci fi, really loved the ending. Read full review

Review: The Stars My Destination

User Review  - Goodreads

A progenitor as awesome as it is inventive, this book was full of vivid imagery and uncanny predictions about current day life. Although no one knows how to "jaunt," our Web is much the same and our ... Read full review

Review: The Stars My Destination

User Review  - Goodreads

Originally titled 'Tiger Tiger' after a Blake poem, Bester's novel is written like he was on fire like 'The Burning Man' who appears about midstream in this magnificent story. Terse dialogue, rapid ... Read full review

Review: The Stars My Destination

User Review  - Goodreads

The first long part seemed unoriginal to me, but all of it was redeemed it an incredible way the last 10 pages. I want to copy these pages and use them as wallpaper, so much widom snd truth that you find in them. Read full review

Review: The Stars My Destination

User Review  - Goodreads

Not as good as The Demolished man. Loads of good fun interesting sf ideas but a bit rushed and disjointed. Read full review

Review: The Stars My Destination

User Review  - Goodreads

Awesome read! I had a lot of fun reading it...this shit gets crazy! Read full review


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