Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

The Stars My DestinationThe Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am not a huge sci fi fan but I do like the stories written in the fifties, some of them anyway. This story was high action adventure and I felt like I was running along with the characters and needed to catch my breath, they were going so fast. In some ways the storyline zig zagged all over the place which made me wonder if this was initially a serial published in a magazine. There was a sense that the plot was something the author was making up as he went along. That would be my one complaint: that I felt a lack of continuity. I also found the ending a bit obscure, but that could just be me.

Gully Foyle is the sole survivor on a space ship called the Nomad. He struggles to stay alive until he can be rescued. He has been in this space ship for almost a year and is about to run out of his supply of oxygen.

At last another ship, The Vorga, comes into view. Foyle sets off the flares. The Vorga is very close, no doubt they saw them. Yet the ship takes off, leaving Foyle behind. Thus begins a quest for revenge that propels Foyle to heights he did not know he was capable of. After months of waiting for rescue, he figures out how to rescue himself and then begins his journey to find out who owned the ship, who was on the ship and how he plans to destroy every one of them.

Along this over-arching theme are several sub-plots and smaller journeys and trials that Foyle must overcome before reaching his final goal. But...

Things are not as they seem. Without giving anything away, the reader cannot assume they know anything about anyone in this book. The good guys and the bad guys are not as obvious as they first appear. That is a strength of the book. I hate cardboard characters.

Where Foyle and the other characters end up is entirely unpredictable, but after so many plot twists one finishes the story with a kind of exhaustion and almost indifference as to the conclusion.

Nevertheless, this is an excellent read, especially if you are a Classic Science Fiction fan.

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  1. this was one of my first initiations into sci fi, i think, anyway... i probably read it in the late fifties some time and went on to Asimov and Heinlein, Clark and Poe and Smith and Tolkien and... you get the idea. it's been sixty years of reading and i wouldn't have had it any other way... tx for the post: really takes me back quite a few years...

    1. Hi Mudpuddle! My favorite sci fi is from the fifties and earlier. I've really enjoyed this collection. The next story is James Blish's a Case of Conscience which I read years ago but I remember being really good.

  2. When I was younger I read a fair amount of science fiction that was similar to this. I think that I would still enjoy this. The characters as you describe them sound so good. The plot description also sounds interesting. Though the serial style has its drawbacks. It can be enthralling.

    1. HI Brian. I mostly read sci fi in my twenties and then it got to be a little redundant with little new material that authors worked with.

      I have been enjoying this collection just because the story lines are good and exciting, even if they don't introduce any scientific concepts I haven't already read about.

  3. Sharon, your fine review has me longing for a time machine and a return to the fifties; oh, those were the days, my friend.....Thanks for your posting. Tim

    1. Hi R.T. That is one thing I love about reading. It is the closest thing we have to time travel. I was born in the next decade but I love books from the first half of the 20th century, including sci fi.


I welcome comments from anyone with a mutual interest in the subjects I written about.