The Stars My Destination

Alfred Bester
The Stars My Destination Cover

The Stars My Destination


I read this book in March, and was favorably impressed. I would say the main thrust of this work is the philosophical question of "free will" which gets its turn in quite a bit of science fiction. The protagonist is in the mold of the sixties superman. Bester definitely fails my personal test of ability to write convincing female characters - every woman in the book is a beautiful sex object, unable to resist the manly attractions of Gully Foyle. One is even raped by him, and is still in love with him, one of the regrettably common tropes of old school, pre-feminist sf.

Political correctness aside, there are some beautiful and evocative moments in this book, and it is very well-plotted and narratively strong. The poem that contains the title line "the stars my destination" was a highlight, as are many of the evolved humans Bester comes up with, especially the haunting catacombs of the senseless.

This is a book where I wound up not caring very much about the psychological or philosophical trappings, and actually enjoyed the romp, the powers, and the aesthetics more than the ideas. I would definitely read more Bester based on this work - I've seen that his later books veered into more experimental forms, and that would be very exciting to read.