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The Stars My Destination (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 11 Mar 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Paperback, 11 Mar 1999
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (11 Mar. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857988140
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857988147
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 522,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Long out of print, and hugely influential on both the SF New Wave of the 60s and the cyberpunks of the 80s, Bester's second novel is a fast-moving pyrotechnic extravaganza with enough bloodshed for Tarantino and enough social analysis for Marx. The solar system is torn by warfare--the discovery of a human capacity to move short distances by the power of mind has blown open the balance of economic power. A marooned spaceman, Gully Foyle, seeks revenge on the ship and crew that left him to rot, and pursues them among hereditary industrialists, sensory-deprived monks, circus freaks and the convicts of the deepest Hell on Earth. Marked by hideous facial tattoos, and haunted by his own flaming double, there is nothing that Foyle will not do-- and he is pursued by a selection of Furies as highly coloured as himself. Bester's profligate imagination gives us Dagenham, the radioactive courier, Jizbella, the consummate feminist thief, Robin, the one-way telepath, Ang-Yeovil, secret master of intelligence and Olivia, the albino who sees infra-red. Streetwise and high-gloss, this is one of the finest of SF classics, full of evocative scenery and much-imitated stylistic gimmicks that for once work perfectly. --Roz Kaveney


you can see seeds of science fiction's next half century sprinkled throughout its pacy. compulsive narrative (SFX) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had heard so much about this book and the claim that it may be the best sci fi novel of all time that I suppose I was bound to be disappointed. However, I really struggled to like it at all. It starts ok, some reasonably interesting set up, relatively fast moving plot etc. About half way through I got bored. There are no likeable characters in the book, though having said that, the fact that the main character is unrelenting horrible is one of the most unusual and interesting things about it. The basic plot is ok, not great, a simple revenge story taken to the nth degree. The universe created is not very believable or that interesting. Most of the characters are one dimensional. I didn't really care about anyone so why should I care what happens? I hate not finishing a book, and I may go back and try to finish it later, but having got 86% of the way through, and no longer enjoying reading, I am giving up for now. I have persisted this far because I keep thinking so many people can't be wrong, but I am not going to say this is good just because of its reputation. If I had not heard that reputation and had just picked it up and read, I would have assumed it to be a bog standard fairly poorly written piece of pulp. But you may have a different experience.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of my 2 favorite scifi books of all time (other one is Dune).

Alfred Bester was not consistently amazing, like some other great writers, but at his best he was truly astonishing and surpassed them all. And this book is his very best. The power, catharsis, pace, and meaningful transformation in this story is awesome to read.

The protagonist is definitely an anti-hero....but he does have a valid gripe, to say the least. Its hard to say much about this story without spoiling it. But the feel of much of the story is very Gibson like....moving around the world in a cyberpunk way...but this was well before that genre ever started. Its a cyberpunk feel without being cyberpunk. And there are things like tickertape machines that you will have to accept as part of its time, but that is easy for me to get by.

The flow of the story, the power of his vengeance, is written superbly. It sends chills up my spine reading it.

The ending incredible. It would not work for some authors or some stories, but it fits perfectly in this sort of story and the way it is written. If your mind is open to it, it will never leave you.

This story is a gem. Everything went right in its creation. Behold the masterpiece.
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