Book Review – The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this pulse-quickening novel, Alfred Bester imagines a future in which people “jaunte” a thousand miles with a single thought, where the rich barricade themselves in labyrinths and protect themselves with radioactive hit men – and where an inarticulate outcast is the most valuable and dangerous man alive. “The Stars My Destination” is a classic of technological prophecy and timeless narrative enchantment by an acknowledged master of science fiction. 

Review:

As I mentioned in my review for The House of Shattered Wings, I like trying to read a book from every shelf at my local bookstore and so along with reading a Fantasy novel, I also chose a Sci-Fi novel from the same shelf to read – especially as this had actually been on my to-read list for quite a while.

I went into this book knowing almost nothing beyond the synopsis. The world is ours, but in the future where we have space travel and colonies on other planets. There is a dispute between the outer colonies and the original planets over resources and that is the backdrop to the novel.

The main character, Gully Foyle, is the sole survivor on his ship and and when a nearby ship passes by and doesn’t stop to rescue him, he is consumed by thoughts of revenge on that ship. He becomes determined to survive and will learn as much as he can in order to achieve this goal.

The book follows Gully throughout his travels to get his revenge as he learns more about the ship that passed him over and the reasons behind that decision. Along the way, we meet several other characters that aid him in this quest, each with their own motivations.

The ability to “jaunte” is something that plays an important role in the novel, this allows users to teleport around and Gully Foyle is particularly skilled at this. Various methods have been devised in order to prevent jaunting and this leads to some interesting worldbuilding.

I’m very glad I picked this book up and I really enjoyed reading it and seeing the development of Gully throughout the novel. It’s definitely one I’d recommend to fans of Sci-Fi and I definitely plan on trying to read more of Bester’s work.

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