The Stars My Destination

Alfred Bester
The Stars My Destination Cover

The Stars My Destination (UK Tiger! Tiger!) by Alfred Bester


Gully Foyle, mechanics mate third class on his spaceship, is an ambitionless, brutish nonentity. His dossier says it all EDUCATION: none SKILLS: none MERITS: none RECOMMENDATIONS: none. Even as the only survivor in a damaged ship, he scavenges for air and food, but sits grimly waiting to die. All that changes when a ship deliberately leaves him unrescued. After finally being saved, Foyle is now obsessively determined to discover who left him, and why, and he will do anything- theft, rape, torture and murder, even to remake his body and mind, in his relentless pursuit of his revenge. Later falling in love with Olivia may realign his plans, but he will now turn to greater wider goals, even gainly mastery over traveling enormous distances in space, something which his 25th century world deems impossible....

Well, Tiger! Tiger! arrived and I have done nothing but read it at every spare minute. I have never read reviews etc. of this book, so I came to it totally without preconceptions. Or maybe I did have some preconceptions, you know, the word classic can summon up the idea of worthy but rather heavy books, so I was bracing for slow thoughtful reading... Hah! At times the plot was so dizzyingly warp speed I felt like the pinball in an arcade machine, bouncing from one scene, one wonder, one hair-raising event to another. I just found it completely impossible to slow down even to reread something odd or wonderful. It was rather like being on a white water raft, just hang on and go with the flow! Obviously at least one reread, probably more is going to be needed to absorb everything, from the implications of jaunting to what is going to happen beyond the book's end. Certainly this was an unexpected rip-roaring adventure, and the speed did, I think, make me skate over weaknesses-such as Gully's sudden "love" for Olivia, and his just as sudden remorse and reversal of aims. Perhaps not quite credible enough. But never mind, the white water raft whisked us away before we had time to think about it. Also the ending perhaps tailed off a little. But as long as you have an intriguing world, plenty of action, and, towering over the book, the cruel, obsessive, vile yet charismatic character of Gully Foyle, much will be forgiven. Great fun-and not a bit of slow, "worthy" polemics anywhere. A must read!