Alfred Bester

Orion Millennium / 268 pages / March 1999

ISBN: 1857988140

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

How’s that for a hook? Pretty compelling stuff, isn’t it? You have no idea. Wait until you get into the novel. This is what adventure is all about. Adventure and a whole lot more.

You’ve probably seen The Stars My Destination included in every science fiction top ten list published. Forty-five years have passed since it was first published and it’s yet to be knocked out of the masters’ circle. That’s a pretty impressive statement. Bester’s classic has the stuff to back it up.

Meet Gully Foyle. He’s not exactly one of the good guys, but he’s your hero for this trip. Foyle’s life has never been easy, but as the novel opens he is in about the worst predicament of his life — stranded in space, alone, with little or no chance of rescue. Like I said, the worst scrape of his life…yet. Things are bound to get better for Foyle; things for the people who betrayed him are bound to get so much worse.

Call him what you want: criminal, victim, have-not, survivor, scoundrel; he is at all times a very dangerous man. If revenge is a dish best taken cold, Foyle doesn’t have the time or passion to wait around for it to cool. Get ready for some rough stuff. Really rough stuff. But, will vengeance be as sweet as he hopes?

Bester’s portrayal of a divided society where the rich are the real masters of the universe, is social commentary at its best. It’s a lesson that slips seamlessly into the brain, riding on the back of a non-stop action story. This world where a ‘jaunte’ can transport a person’s body across thousands of miles is closed to someone like Foyle who appears to be not worth the time and trouble is takes to teach this feat.

The Stars My Destination holds on to its coveted top ten rating with its dazzling mixture of tantalising plot, multi-faceted cast of characters, social commentary, and chilling speculation. Thousands of science fiction stories have been published since this amazing novel appeared in 1956. Good, bad, superb — none has bumped Bester’s landmark novel from the list of the genre’s true classics.

Space opera, adventure story, heroic journey, and wry social commentary — consider it Bester’s own Count of Monte Cristo, with a less noble background, of course. But, nobility is a relative thing in Gully Foyle’s universe; give this ripping tale a good read and make up your own mind. And be ready to join in the next discussion of the truly stellar examples of science fiction.