The Stars My Destination

Alfred Bester
The Stars My Destination Cover

The Stars My Destination


This is an unusual book, the first of Alfred Bester I have read. Its style evolves. At first it seems maybe like Heinlein. Then something akin to Vonnegut starts to move in and take over. Then it slyly shifts to being Philip K Dick-ish. In the end we are fully immersed in the Burning Man's synesthesetic dream-state. Very strange; very surreal. Without doing much research, I think Bester and the authors whose styles I allude to were more or less contemporaries, but I have no idea who may have influenced whom, or if there were even a mutual awareness.

The characters who puzzled me the most were the women: Robin Wednesbury, Jisbella McQueen, and Olivia Presteign. For each of them I could not fathom their reaction to and feelings for Gully Foyle, nor his towards each of them. The science fiction is not hard science at all, but wild imagination conjuring up whatever is needed to forward the story.

This book was originally entitled Tiger, Tiger - An unremarkable but not bad name for it. The Stars my Destination doesn't seem particularly fitting until the penultimate page:

Gully Foyle is my name
Terra is my nation
Deep space is my dwelling place
The stars my destination