"The Stars My Destination" by Alfred Bester

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9-8-2011 11-53-20 AM.pngOne of the all-time classic science fiction novels, Alfred Bester's   The Stars My Destination    is a timeless, fast-paced and exciting thriller that, outwardly, looks like a action adventure thriller.  But Bester manages to work in social satire and observations on various topics including faith (religious and other) as well. 

It's the 25th century.  Megacorporations run the Inner Planets (Earth, Venus, Mars, the Moon) and war is on the horizon between the IP and the Outer Planets (other inhabited/colonized planets). 

People can now "jaunte" -teleport themselves by will- to anywhere within a thousand miles or so, disrupting the political and economic symmetry between the worlds.   After his ship the Nomad is nearly destroyed and he's marooned in space, a revenge-seeking, seemingly not very bright merchant marine,  Gulliver Foyle,  tries to track down the crew of the Vorga that refused to rescue him and left him to die in space.  Saved by the "Scientific People" tribe, Gully, undaunted despite getting his face tattooed into a fierce looking tiger-like mask with the word "Nomad", flees his hosts and makes way to Earth. 

A series of one harrowing experience (imprisonment; torture) after another follows, as Gully performs every underhanded trick (including rape!) to inflitrate the corrupt upper classes  as he tracks down the Vorga crew.  Along the way, Gully discovers that Presteign, the head of the corporation that owned the Vorga, believes that our protagonist knows the whereabouts of a certain shipment of PyrE, a potentially powerful weapon that could be a game changer between the IP and the OP's differences, that had been on Gully's ship.  With Presteign, his irradiated assassin Dagenham and corrupt government agents on his tail, Gully slowly comes to realize that his quest for revenge is nothing compared to the situation and events that are unfolding around him.  He begins to see the disparity between the social classes and the ways (including outlawing religion) society keeps people down.  And that pesky vision of a burning man that keeps coming up at the strangest moments only adds to Gully's growing self-awareness.

There's more to read into in Bester's absorbing and exciting narrative (which, yes, is slightly patterned on Alexander Dumas'  The Count of Monte Cristo), including what may be the first instance of "cyberpunk" fiction - at the novel's midpoint, Gully alters his physical body cybernetically- , plus some totally bizarre supporting characters, but you'll still be spellbound from beginning to end.  Reserve The Stars My Destination from us by clicking here.  (And check out Bester's other great work, The Demolished Man, which I reviewed here some time back!)

 

1 Comment

It sounds good, i really would like to read his book, i take it on my 'must to read' list :)

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This page contains a single entry by Ed published on September 8, 2011 11:54 AM.

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