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The Stars My Destination [Hardcover]

Alfred Bester
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 18 2001 S.F. Masterworks
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, Gully 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, Gully Foyle also uncovers a secret of momentous proportions...

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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.) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Alfred Bester (1913-87) was born in New York and educated at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia. He was a scriptwriter and journalist by profession but he set the science fiction world alight with The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination and his extraordinary short stories in the 1950s, and blazed a trail for the sf New Wave of the 1960s and the cyberpunk writers of the 1980s.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars My cousin loved it Jan. 8 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Even though it was not the cheapest exemplary of this book on Amazon, I got the book in time for Christmas and that's what matters. Also, I got it in mint condition and I didn't have to run to the post office to fetch it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The medium contains the message. Dec 22 2003
Format:Paperback
Alfred Bester, The Stars My Destination (Vintage, 1956)
Considered by many (or so the book jacket tells us) the single finest science fiction novel ever written, The Stars My Destination (also known as Tiger! Tiger! in some parts of the world) is certainly a hefty train ride with a lot of fine sightseeing along the way. The best? I don't know, I'm not much of a science fiction fan. But it worked for me.
The Stars My Destination is the story of Gulliver Foyle, mechanic's mate third class on a ship called the Nomad when we come into the story. Or he was one, because the ship is a wreck, Foyle is the only survivor, and he's rapidly running out of air tanks. He sees a vessel going by him, and risks his life to get to the airless bridge and fire off the safety flares; the ship, called the Vorga, ignores him and goes on its merry way. He vows to stay alive long enough to revenge himself upon the Vorga and its crew, and thus we have ourselves a story.
Gully Foyle is, not to put too fine a point on it, an archetype. (If only more like him existed.) The brilliance of The Stars My Destination is that Bester is able to couch Foyle's archetypal qualities in a great story, showing once again that if you let the art speak, the message you have underlying the art will show through just fine. (Overemphasizing the message has turned innumerable potential works of art into innumerable realized crap.) He bounces around from episode to episode on his quest for revenge, acting, reacting, trying to figure out what to do next, and above all being a three-dimensional character, which far too many archetypes in literature are not. He is surrounded by a cast of other three-dimensional characters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ... is filthy death for us May 29 2004
Format:Paperback
Among the voluminous piles of predictable spaceships-and-aliens tomes of classic sci-fi, once in a while you'll find an off-kilter underground gem like this. Bester's bizarro novel from 1956 was way ahead of its time, at least in terms of sheer weirdness and cracked feats of the imagination. In this story, Bester has imagined a sci-fi future that is depressingly realistic - the miracles of interplanetary travel have been turned toward corporate profiteering, those who have learned teleportation and telepathy have used them for self-interested and criminal pursuits, and humans are still warring with themselves but now from different planets. This frantic universe and the frenetic story told here are being navigated by a quite strange character named Gully Foyle, whose relentless quest for personal revenge accidentally turns him into the nearly godlike figure that he narcissistically assumed himself to be. Gully's bizarre trips through Bester's strange universe will be matched only by the trippiness in your own brain, as you digest this story that was decades ahead of its time, if only for the very depths of its strangeness. [~doomsdayer520~]
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By Some Bloke TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Yup... it's The Count of Monte Cristo. But not a bad facimile - in the same way The Bridges of Maddison County was a copy of Noel Cowards,"Brief Encounter." Readable but unoriginal.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic work of hope and redemption. Feb. 16 2004
Format:Paperback
What a great book! And what a stupendous character is Gully Foyle! Brutish, nasty, self-centered, focussed, he hurts anyone and everyone in the drive for his answer: why he was left so dependent, so lonely.
And what a tremendous growth and rebirth he experiences! From ape to cosmic being, the stereotype common man, not recommended for promotion, becomes the newborn man of Clarke's 2001, a dream, a vision of tomorrow.
Pay attention to his epiphany: It isn't necessary to have something to believe in. It's only necessary to believe that somewhere there's something worthy of belief.
An outstanding, enriching addition to life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate in SF - It doesn't get any better!!! Jan. 13 2004
Format:Paperback
Why this hasn't been made into a full length motion picture, I haven't a clue.
And who could star in this awesome epic as our enigmatic hero???
Bruce Willis of course ;o)
Ahhhhhhhh, Vorga T-1339. I rot you filthy.
Doc
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5.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get any better Dec 24 2003
Format:Paperback
I thought Asimov was the godfather of sci-fi, and then only recently I discovered Alfred Bester. This book is easily the best sci-fi novel I have read. It surpassed 2001 and the Foundation series on my top ten list. I hoped I haven't hyped it, but I simply have to encourage any fan of sci-fi to read this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest SF novels ever written. Oct. 31 2003
Format:Paperback
Capsule Description: Proto-Cyberpunkish dark future with some unique twists, a flawed and driven protagonist, and gripping action. On my Top Ten list. Read it. Buy it. Buy two and give one to a friend.
Review: Alfred Bester is generally recognized as one of the greatest writers of SF, especially on the strength of his plots and prose style. He made his reputation on short stories, but is best remembered for two novels: The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination (sometimes known as "Tiger! Tiger!" in the UK). First published in 1956, The Stars My Destination anticipated many of the staples of the later cyberpunk movement -- the megacorporations as powerful as the governments, body and mind redesign to specs, the dark overall nature of the world, even the cybernetic enhancement of the body. To this it added the standard "one wierd idea" of SF -- that human beings could learn to teleport, or "jaunte" from point to point, with various personal limitations but one overall absolute limit: no one could bridge the gap between a planet and anywhere in outer space. On the surface of a planet, the jaunte ruled supreme; off of it, mankind was still restricted to machinery. In this future world -- extrapolated with convincing and sometimes frightening accuracy by Bester -- we are introduced to the protagonist, Gulliver ("Gully") Foyle: "He was one hundred and seventy days dying and not yet dead..." Foyle is a former nobody, a man who had lots of potential but never had to use it, completely lazy, doing the minimum he could to get by, who is suddenly marooned in space with no escape. Even this isn't enough to motivate him beyond trying to find air and food on the wreck; he hasn't learned enough to know it's possible to FIND a way out of his situation.
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