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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 27 April 2017
A book full of interesting ideas. However! The protagonist distributing the most powerful weapons in the known universe to ordinary people and insisting that there should be no more elites, showed the optimism and naivety of the 1950's. Readers in the 21st Century know that giving people access to incredible technology (globe spanning networks, a searchable database of all the worlds knowledge) does not elevate humanity. It makes us more tribal, insular and confused by fact and fiction. The stars might be our destination, but first we have to stop thinking like cave dwellers. I liked the book, hated the protagonist and felt sad that the dream had died in the 70 odd years since the book was written.
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on 15 May 2017
Fantastic sci-fi book. So many authors have used this book as a basis for their own sci-fi. I urge anyone with an interest in sci-fi novels to read it.
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on 8 March 2017
Great book. Bought as gifts and great feedback.
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on 11 June 2017
unique yet thrilling
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on 31 January 2014
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 ..is 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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on 11 May 2017
I am always interested by books that get a huge amount of excellent reviews, and then some real one-star stinkers. So, I borrowed a copy and frankly couldn't put it down.
Alfred Bester was a psychology graduate who wrote over many decades. He also wrote for Marvel Comics and appears to have had a rich and varied literary career. Hugely eccentric, he willed his entire estate to his Bartender!
He published this book in 1956 and like many ScFi novels is is full of real science, predicted science and some rather clever bits of prophecy. The scale of the book is staggering and his main character 'Gully Foyle' could well have been the prototype for The Terminator.
His characters are all pretty universally dreadful personalities though and this will not appeal to those who like to identify with and empathise with the cast. They are all, however, extraordinary inventions off on a real roller-coaster of a futuristic adventure.
Deeply religious readers may be offended too, as Gully Foyle's World has banned religion and categorises religious images as pornographic.
The only reason I've dropped a star off my review is that I found it a bit tangled and confusing towards the end, although fully accept that it could just be that I was just not intellectually up to it! A brilliant read though. I agree that this may well be the best film never made, although someone really ought to try.............
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VINE VOICEon 4 June 2013
Having just recently started reading Science Fiction books again I was absoloutely blown away by this story. The concept is fabulous in it's execution which sees Gully Foyle turned from a nobody into the most wanted man in the universe, while being driven by his quest for vengeance on the ships crew that left him to rot on his own stranded craft. Not only that but unbeknown to Foyle he holds two secrets which could hold the key to ultimate victory in a cosmic war which is being fought in the background to all the action surrounding him. Foyle becomes the lone man raging against the system to exact his terrible revenge on all who stand in his way. Of course the story is so much more than this as Foyle begins to see things in a different light the more he uncovers about himself and the people who abandoned him. The action never lets up, and although the story does leap from one scene to another, the cracks n the plot are well papered over to never let it spoil your enjoyment. I would definitely love to see this turned into a movie. Excellent!!!
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on 20 April 2000
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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on 22 September 2010
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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on 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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