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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best sci fi novel ever. Buy it now. Right now.
This is the greatest science fiction novel ever written, and in my humble opinion one of the greatest novels of the 20th Century. Strangely, it has long been known to me as "Tiger Tiger" and I have never got used to this, its original title.
Underneath the superb and imaginative futuristic setting is the story of a man transformed from a Dave...
Published on 20 April 2000 by James Adamson

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3.0 out of 5 stars jaunting and telepathy - nice ideas!
My return to the reading world of science fiction is not without flaw. I found this book difficult to read. My strong preference is that the differences to the world in which science fiction novels are written are clearly and simply explained. This novel fails my test! There is only really confusion over many aspects of the storylines. A little like many of the old...
Published 5 months ago by Ter


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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best sci fi novel ever. Buy it now. Right now., 20 April 2000
By 
This is the greatest science fiction novel ever written, and in my humble opinion one of the greatest novels of the 20th Century. Strangely, it has long been known to me as "Tiger Tiger" and I have never got used to this, its original title.
Underneath the superb and imaginative futuristic setting is the story of a man transformed from a Dave Lister-style space bum into a raging, semi-literate savage intent on killing the spaceship Vorga that left him stranded. Through his weird and often violent trials and tribulations he is transformed into a powerful, intelligent and finally great man on whom the future of civilization rests. The story he uncovers and the "driven" people at the centre of the immense power struggle in which he finds himself, are remarkable and yet terrifying.
This is a superb futuristic novel which at its heart is an acute and insightful reflection on the present day world. It seems to offer something new every time I read it, and I never tire of re-visiting this wonderful story.
This is a breathtaking, pulse racing, thoughful and magnificent work of fiction, with a million great ideas tightly woven into one excellent, coherent story. It is a great achievement in itself, and also the reason why we have William Gibson and cyberpunk.
Buy it now. There is no excuse not to.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blinding pace; an unforgettable, amazing novel, 5 July 2003
This is certainly not a perfect book. There is a lot in it that turns me off; that doesn't sit right with me (The descriptions of Presteign and his contemporaries' lifestyles, the circus bufoonery and some of Bester's future vision for women) - These elements do not seem to fit with the rest of the book, and chapters which do not focus on the main character, Gully Foyle, are just nowhere near as interesting as the rest of the book.
But oh, the rest of the book - The other 70% - That's the reason why I'm giving this the full five stars, and why I do consider it, though not perfect, still one of the finest and most unique books I've ever read. First of all, the pace: This book reads faster than anything else I've come across. Without wanting to sound cliched, Bester's prose burns off the page at a speed somewhat faster than lightning. He moves effortlessly across continents and planets, from action scene to action scene, all in the space of a typical chapter. The action is blinding (Bester wrote a lot of comics, earlier in his career, and it really shows), often violent and visceral in a way that I just didn't believe '50s novels could be, and Foyle is a madman, more than a man, a towering anti-hero. Yes, Foyle: One of the best characters ever created. Perhaps 'anti-hero' wasn't fair - He defies description. You just have to read about him. He changes so much during his adventures, and all in a totally believable way. Lastly, I want to mention the actual technology, the sci-fi: It has not, on the whole, dated badly. Most of it still seems wonderful and far-flung, though believable, today. And better than that, it's cool! In one of the best chapters of the novel, Bester introduces nano-augmentation and proceeds through a blistering set of action scenes that easily out-Matrix 'The Matrix.' This is hot, hot stuff! And, of course, there is the central idea of a wild new breakthrough in travel that changes the whole of human civilization - 'Jaunting.' Perhaps I am not well-read enough; Perhaps Bester was not the first to come up with an idea like this, but I've certainly never read anything like it. It's wonderful, and the newfound human ability of transporting oneself a thousand miles in a couple of seconds just adds to the frenetic, driving pace of Bester's stripped-bare, hi-frequency narrative.
'The Stars My Destination' dazzles, delights and addicts. Not just one of the best SF novels ever, but one of the best novels ever. I've just finished reading it for the first time, and I don't think I'll ever forget it.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Millions for defense, but not one cent for survival", 30 Nov 2006
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Mr. Simon J. Harpham "SleepyHead" (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
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I can't praise this book highly enough. It's part social critique, part re-write of the Count of Monte Cristo, part play, part novel, part re-telling of the "Hero" monomyth, and through all its rough and ready ugliness and glory shines a firm belief in humanity and our ability to redeem ourselves if we'll only stand still long enough to listen.

I can think of few other novels which make me want to laugh, cry and dance with joy just for the remembrance of them.

A wonderful book that no sci-fi fan should be without - 10/10
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dynamic, 4 Jan 2004
The plot is quite simple, but the momentum it builds is so well balanced it sees you through the quirkier aspects of the storyline. I would say there are not many instances where you are made overly aware that this book was written about 50 or so years ago, some people say the attitudes to women are the most obvious, but I don't really agree in this respect.
Not so keen on the concrete poetry bit, but parts like the prison break more than make up for it. Stars... is so dynamic it would make a great film, but Hollywood is unlikely to make a film where the hero is SO antihero it would be impossible to reconcile without ruining the whole story.
This is a really great book to read when you've been wronged by someone. Foyle's quest for revenge is cathartic and absolute in it's single mindedness.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Up-tempo; c. 308 BPM., 26 Feb 2001
By A Customer
Burning with the bright and energy of the pulps, Tiger! Tiger! is of science fiction without actually being it. The throwaway invention of gadgetary, the grotesquery, the literateness, and the memorable and extraordinary supporting cast take back seat to the driving character of Gully Foyle, and a way of writing that inspired all the Simmons, the Delaneys and Bankses that were to follow. There is no time to think; a dazzling orgy of riotous incident, this is Space Opera gone Greenwich Village Hip; wide-screen Charlie Parker, rather than wide-screen Baroque; and immense fun.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vorga, I kill you deadly!, 5 July 1999
By A Customer
Brian Aldiss coined the term "wide-screen Baroque" to describe this marvellous, pulsating, vibrant novel. It's brash, it's silly, it's chaotic, it's full of witty asides, and it moves with a smooth, deadly precision. It's funny, thrilling, and contains one of the immortal characters of science fiction in Gully Foyle...
Sheer lunatic epic out-of-control joy, a book to read and re-read for its superb style as much as its twisted revenge tragedy plot...
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tiger Tiger Burning Brightest, 8 Oct 2007
By 
Michael Cope (Staffordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
Would anyone who had never heard of 'The Stars My Destination' be able to guess that it's over fifty years old? It's as fresh and gripping now as it was when it was first published, although to the 1950s reader it must have been mind-blowing.

Every re-read always yields more, and sometimes it becomes prophetically relevant. For instance, when I first read it in the 70s I thought the naming of clans after the companies which their ancestors had founded was a little far-fetched, but now . . . Paris Hilton, anyone?

The ideas burst from the page. Bester's use of synaesthesia has never been bettered, although Christopher Priest's short story 'Whores' comes close. The combination of formidable invention and relentless pace is surely unmatched in the genre.

Bester never wrote anything as good again, but most authors would be pathetically grateful to have written anything as good, period. And although I can't recall who said of Bester that he 'lived life as if the world had been invented for his pleasure', 'Stars' surely earned Bester that right.

Mike Cope, 8 October 2007.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatness is abundant here, 7 Feb 2006
By 
A. Morley (Ripley, UK) - See all my reviews
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The Stars, My Destination is one of those timeless novels that belong in any library regardless of your level interest in science fiction. It starts off narrow with very simple themes of vengeance and retribution but broadens out into a fantastic book with a particularly gratifying ending. There aren’t many books in SF that can manage that.
Alfred Bester’s 1956 novel starts off with an unlikable space crewman called Gully Foyle who has been trapped aboard his marooned ship for 6 months. In the space of a few pages a ship (the Vorga) goes past and Gully attempts to signal it for rescue but to no avail. Thus Gully’s goal in life is set: to hunt down Vorga. What strikes me most about the novel is how quick paced it is yet manages to flesh out a number of characters each with their own odd quirks and failings. Gully is a strangely likeable anti-hero in that his simplicity feels authentic. You know his deluded ‘mission’ is inevitably not going to give him the results he wants, but Bester writes him so well that you really are egging him on and are willing to overlook his obvious beastliness.
One of my favourite characters of the book is Presteign of Presteign; that being the owner/leader of the Presteign mega-corporation. He exhibits such a strange coolness in all situations and insists he be called Presteign rather than Mr. Presteign that I found him fascinating. In fact if you combined his coolness with Foyle’s brashness you’d end up with someone very similar to Ben Reich – the main protagonist of Bester’s other classic, The Demolished Man.
It has been mentioned as a forerunner to the whole cyberpunk genre and I would agree with that. In a way it reminded me of Altered Carbon. In that book the main technology is ‘sleeving’ where your mind is digitized and can be transferred to any body (at a price). In The Stars My Destination the key science part is ‘jaunting’ where everybody has the ability to instantly teleport themselves with only the effort of thought. But in both novels the technology serves as a background to essentially a straight and traditional story.
The title comes from a marvelous little rhyme at the end of the book:
Gully Foyle is my name
And Terra is my nation.
Deep space is my dwelling place,
The stars my destination.
Superb – 9/10!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must for cyberpunk fans, 22 Sep 2010
By 
Mr. Timothy W. Dumble (Sunderland, England) - See all my reviews
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It is unsurprising William Gibson cites this novella as a major inspiration to his work -in particular 'Neuromancer'. The parallels are striking and make this a must read book for followers of cyberpunk.

The desparate and driven Foyle is an obvious inspiration to Gibson's Case.Bester's classic cyberpunk background of multinational/ familial dominance (Presteign clan) is a clear precursor to the zaibatsus of 'Neuromancer'and the plutocratic Tessier -Ashpool family.Both works feature femme fatales- Olivia Presteign here and Gibson's 3Jane Tessier-Ashpool.Whilst Bester has potential informers conrtrolled by sympathetic nervous system blocks, Gibson has Case controlled by mycotoxin sacs slowly destroying his nervous system.

The themes of telepathy(Robin Wendsbury) here and altered realities (Riviera)in Neuromancer, synaesthesia and drug taking are also commonalities originated by Bester and developed by Gibson. At the heart of both works are central characters bent on survival and revenge caught between the aims of National intelligence agencies and plutocratic families or oligarchical multinational companies.

Although at times the plot has the unsophisticated feel of a comic strip or Manga work it is the depiction of Gully Foyle's evolution from an unskilled, meritless space crewman and selfish ,reckless miscreant to a controlled, outward looking human being capable of remorse and in the end who assumes almost the status of a deity that is the stength of Bester's narrative.Foyle's emotional,intellectual and spiritual journey is all sparked by that most motivating of all human senses - that of injustice. Bester's moral is clear- there is greatness in all of us - the problem is how to unlock it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MAD, CRAZY AND HIGHLY ENJOYABLE !, 23 Jun 2000
By A Customer
I find it difficult to write an objective view of this novel. The scenarios are sometimes so outrageous that the readers belief system is taken to the edge and beyond! The characters are memorable but not explored deeply enough - Gully Foyles motive is revenge and seems to give him amazing ability to solve any problem that comes his way. After those slightly negative views I really enjoyed this book - the story is fast paced and kept me on the each until the end.
The novel was published in 1956 but could quite easily fall into the later 'cyberpunk' era. Alfred Bester certainly had a very furtive imagination to write this piece of literature.
I do feel that this is one of those books that you either really love or hate - the style and subject of the book leaves very little 'middle ground'
My recommendation is to give yourself over to Bester for a few days and leave your preconceptions on the first page.
Another great addition to the SF Masterworks Series.
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The Stars My Destination (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
The Stars My Destination (S.F. MASTERWORKS) by Alfred Bester (Paperback - 29 Mar 2010)
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