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The Stars My Destination

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4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  27,506 Ratings  ·  1,570 Reviews
In this pulse-quickening novel, Alfred Bester imagines a future in which people "jaunte" a thousand miles with a single thought, where the rich barricade themselves in labyrinths and protect themselves with radioactive hit men - and where an inarticulate outcast is the most valuable and dangerous man alive. The Stars My Destination is a classic of technological prophecy an ...more
Paperback, 258 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Vintage Books / SFBC (first published January 1st 1955)
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Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardDune by Frank Herbert1984 by George OrwellFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books
57th out of 5,256 books — 17,856 voters
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Best Science Fiction
43rd out of 1,970 books — 2,962 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Terry
Dec 04, 2013 Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gully Foyle is my name
Terra is my nation
Deep space is my dwelling place
The stars my destination

Sci-fi from its formative days is funny. Not funny ha-ha (not always anyway), but funny-weird…at least for me. I am often unable to get over the clunky writing and wispy plots despite the many cool ideas on display. Sometimes even a premise as cool as a galaxy-spanning empire held together by the prods and pokes of a few cognoscenti using an arcane sociological science still can’t make a plodding plot
...more
Catie
Jun 01, 2011 Catie rated it really liked it
I think that this book pretty much just blew my mind. I mean, am I crazy, or is this one of the most profound things ever written?

"You pigs, you. You goof like pigs, is all. You got the most in you and you use the least. You hear me, you? Got a million in you and spend pennies. Got a genius in you and think crazies. Got a heart in you and feel empties. All a you. Every you….”

Alright, you probably have to read the book to appreciate that, and you should! Can I entice you further by saying that an
...more
mark monday
Oct 10, 2011 mark monday rated it really liked it
¡WOW BOB WOW!
GULLY FOYLE IS FAST AND FURIOUS!
A MADMAN OUT FOR VENGEANCE, LEFT FOR DEAD NOT ONCE - BUT TWICE!
HE IS HUMAN JUGGERNAUT, HE IS FORCE MAJEURE, HE IS BOTH ROCK AND HARD PLACE!
HE HURTLES THROUGH SPACE & TIME & MISADVENTURE, HE WEARS MANY FACES, A LOVER AND A RAPIST, THE MOST VIOLENT MAN IN THE ROOM, THE ANGRIEST BOY EVER, A HUMAN TIMEBOMB!
HIS FACIAL TATTOOS:
A TIGER, A TIGER!
BURNING BRIGHT!

THE ONLY GIRL FOR HIM - ANOTHER SOCIOPATH!
THE ONLY DESTINATION FOR HIM: THE STA
...more
RandomAnthony
Apr 20, 2013 RandomAnthony rated it it was amazing
Holy shit, The Stars My Destination is a revelation. How'd this novel get past me for so long?

I picture Alfred Bester as a mad scientist, surrounded by paper and typewriters, a cigarette dangling from his mouth, knocking this fucker out in the mid-50s. Bester writes likes he has to get all of his ideas out of his head RIGHT NOW, like they're going to explode if they stay in his brain too long. People who buy special diseases so they can go into the hospital and hang out with cute nurses? Neurol
...more
Apatt
Jul 26, 2015 Apatt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-20, favorites
I first read this book decades ago under the title of Tiger! Tiger! (British edition). I just reread it recently for the purposes of writing this review. Fortunately I have memory like a sieve so I enjoy this reread just as much as the first time.

The Stars My Destination is one of the few sf books that is included in almost every all-time best sf books I have ever seen, and I have seen many. If I see such a list without this book I will probably dismiss it.

The story is centered upon Gully (Gulli
...more
Algernon
Aug 29, 2013 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013

This was a golden age, a time of high adventure, rich living and hard dying ... but nobody thought so. This was a future of fortune and theft, pillage and rapine, culture and vice ... but nobody admitted it. This was an age of extremes, a fascinating century of freaks ... but nobody loved it.

Alfred Bester began his career with stories published in Thrilling Wonder Stories , Startling Stories , Astounding Science Fiction - names that have come to define that brief period known as the Golden
...more
Paul Bryant
Jun 18, 2013 Paul Bryant rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf-novels-aaargh
Oh I forgot to list this one! Wow - oversight city! (A city not found on any maps). God knows whether this is really a five star novel, but it was when I read it as a young teenybopper, and it bopped all over my teeny brain and imploded it into a zillion sparkly pieces which took many months to gradually meld back into a usable item again - I think that's why I did so poorly in my physics exam. It was called Tiger! Tiger! then, partly because Gully Foyle, the antiest of heroes, has a facial tige ...more
Sandi
Jul 10, 2008 Sandi rated it liked it
Recommended to Sandi by: Online Book Club Selection
Shelves: 2008, sci-fi
I have two thoughts on "The Stars My Destination" by Alfred Bester. One is that it really reads modern for a book written in 1956. The other is that it has some really antiquated ideas about the future.

First for the positive. For the first 200 of the 250 or so pages of the story, I couldn't stand the protagonist, Gulliver Foyle. However, he grows as a human being to the point that I ended up spending the last 50 pages cheering him on. Bester did an excellent job of taking Foyle from being almost
...more
Brad
Sep 22, 2015 Brad rated it it was amazing
Wow. I can see now why this is considered one of the greats of sci-fi. It ought to be required reading for anyone setting out to know the history of the field and what sparked the imagination of so many other writers. The very ending was somewhat weak, but the climax was great. The emotions were the strongest part of the whole tale. Gut wrenching and visceral doesn't begin to describe it. Great setup, straightforward adventure/revenge tale, and a great twist. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

I just
...more
Adam
Aug 05, 2008 Adam rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who wonder what "classic" means
Fast and furious and blackly comedic similiar to early Vonnegut or Jack Vance mixed with the bitter surrealism of Finney's "Circus of Doctor Lao", this book predicted and influenced trends like the British New Wave,cyberpunk, and new space opera, but retains an oddball flavor of its own. Satirizing 50's anxieties like the red scare and the threat of nuclear annihilation(and unhindered corporate greed and warmongering)and featuring a psychopathic protagonist(loose in world that makes him look lik ...more
Stuart
The Stars My Destination: Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright, Intent on Revenge
(Posted at Fantasy Literature)
Much has been written about Alfred Bester’s classic 1956 SF novel The Stars My Destination (Tiger! Tiger! in the UK edition). According to Wikipedia, it is considered one of the best SF books of all time by many authors such as Neil Gaiman, Joe Haldeman, Samuel. R. Delany, Robert Silverberg, and William Gibson. Predating cyberpunk by almost three decades (if you count from Neuromancer in 1984),
...more
Bill
when i was much younger, in my teens and early to mid twenties, i read a lot of sf.it was fun, it was exciting and full of adventure. then when i got into my later twenties, i pretty much lost interest. i'd read a lot of the classic stuff, a lot of the authors i liked were either retired or dead, and fantasy was taking over from science fiction with books about dragons and wizards and their ilk, and that really didn't turn me on.

so then, for close to 30 years, i read very little sf at all and i
...more
Matthias
Dec 20, 2015 Matthias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-reviews
Grab no guesses you! Read it, is all.

This book has been quite the ride. Gully Foyle is your guide in a future where teleportation ("jaunting") is the main mode of transportation and where interplanetary tensions seem to mount up to an unavoidable Solar System War.

Gully Foyle is a guide you might not like very much, but boy, will he take you places. You'll feast your eyes on locations like Nightmare Theatre, Freak Factory, sub-terranean prisons, a Sedative Garden and an asteroid consisting of sa
...more
Felina
Jun 03, 2012 Felina rated it it was ok
Shelves: star-2, 2012
Gully Foyle is my name
And Terra is my nation.
Deep space is my dwelling place,
The stars my destination.


A man is a member of society first, and an individual second. You must go along with society, whether it chooses destruction or not.

Here's the break down:

Characterization - What a book of incredibly unlikable people. All the female characters are happy to be victims and while they are pretty badass in some regards are totally obsessed with love. Ummm...shut up. All the male characters are power
...more
Lyn
May 24, 2015 Lyn rated it liked it
“Gully Foyle, that’s my name, me.”

Alfred Bester has created in Gulliver Foyle one of Science Fiction’s great characters. The protagonist of Bester’s 1956 novel The Stars My Destination is a brutish, driven by internal energies force of nature and provides the most memorable element of this archetypal SF story.

That and jaunting.

Bester describes a future society where personal teleportation – jaunting – has transformed human society in virtually every way, from economic to sociological to legal. T
...more
Stephen
5.0 stars. A superb, SF novel that deserves the title of Classic. A pure adrenaline rush from start to finish with an excellent main character.
Tfitoby
Jul 05, 2012 Tfitoby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Who is Gully Foyle? The 25th Century Fighting Man!

I love my copy of this. That's the best part of this book. I'm left feeling letdown by the novel and hardly feel like bothering to tell you it was only OK in the enjoyment stakes. It might be one of the single greatest science fiction novels of all time but I just didn't think it was that much fun to read.

Gully Foyle exists in a permanent state of rage, desperate for revenge after being abandoned to die in space. His journey sees him grow from s
...more
Wastrel
A novel perched on the edge of genius.

The dialogue is poor. The characterisation is poor, and the character development is poor. The ending is poor. The beginning, which could be fantastic, is undermined by inserting an unnecessary chapter-length prologue of infodump before Chapter One. The ending is weird, and is a combination of dei ex machinae with sustain cod-philosophy lectures. My emotional engagement was weak throughout. The balance of the pacing is poor. And the main plot isn't 'derivati
...more
Scott Sheaffer
Aug 07, 2010 Scott Sheaffer rated it really liked it
Gully Foyle is my name
And Terra is my nation.
Deep space is my dwelling place,
The stars my destination.

Gully Foyle is one of the most memorable anti-heroes of science fiction I have ever read. He is an unpleasant but strangely fascinating character that lies, betrays, rapes and brutalizes his way towards seeking revenge. Foyle starts out as a grunting animal that only adopts more sophisticated techniques when brute force fails to be effective in achieving revenge. Two steps forward and one step b
...more
Daniel
Oct 07, 2015 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mracno i surovo, prica o coveku koji oce svoju osvetu i ne dozvolja nista da se ispreci. Ali je i prica o trasformaciji iz nikoga u bice terano mrznjom i osvetom da bi kraj na kraju kulminirao sa necim daleko boljim i tera te da malo razmislis o ljudima i svetu. Jeste da je pisano pre 60 godina ali ljudi se nisu uopste promenili tako da vazi i dan danas.

Ili da kazemo jednostavnije ovo vam dodje kao kniga sa jakim inspiracijama na Grof Monte Kristo, but in space :)

Preporuka.

Bonus: Alfred je odgov
...more
Steve
May 24, 2009 Steve rated it it was amazing
The Stars My Destination is probably the best (and least dated) of the sci-fi classics that I've read so far. Written in 1956, its influence must of been huge. Clockwork Orange (1962), Dune, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, were just a few of the lights that went off as I read about gutter talking, tiger tattoo faced Gully Foyle, and his mission of vengeance. And yet, with all of the novel's groundbreaking imaginative leaps, at heart it's a retelling of the The Count of Monte Cristo. But unlike t ...more
Gabriel C.
Apr 27, 2013 Gabriel C. rated it did not like it
Trigger warning.

This book has some heavyweights in its corner. If I recall correctly, Sam Delany recommended it in The Jewel-Hinged Jaw. Gaiman wrote the intro (which I'll read after I write this review). I guess I see some of what they saw here. There is a prefiguration of some of the schemae that would later become standard in the works of Gibson and Gaiman and Stephenson et al., things like the atmosphere of carnival, the antihero, the juxtaposition of high and low in a bubbling melting pot,
...more
Vlad Vaslyn
Jun 30, 2013 Vlad Vaslyn rated it it was amazing
This is the most entertaining Science Fiction/Adventure book I’ve read in a really long time. It was published in 1956, so it must be out-dated, right? Wrong! Like many of the sci-fi greats, Bester succeeds in creating a futuristic universe that exceeds our imaginations, even today.

In The Stars My Destination, the ability for most people to teleport short distances by thought alone has turned the societies of 2436 upside-down, a looming economic collapse has pitted the Outer Planets against the
...more
F.R.
Jun 17, 2013 F.R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow!

I appreciate I’m arriving ridiculously late to the party here, but like many before me I’m blown away by this superb slice of 1950’s science fiction. Ostensibly ‘The Stars My Destination’ tells of Gully Foyle’s quest for revenge against the ship which abandoned him in deep space, but this is (even with the Dumas references) much bigger than just a simple tale of hunting vengeance. In Foyle’s quest we get to see a whole society, one with a built-in caste system and a desire for profit – even
...more
Jason
Apr 18, 2011 Jason rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Totally mind-blowing and unlike anything I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I can't offer any constructive criticism and can only say, "wow, just wow." Ok, a few more thoughts then:

I still can't believe this novel was written in 1956! There are some fairly risque subject matter, violence and profanity that Bester gets away with that must have been controversial for its time but I don't even know if this novel was popular when it was first published. I'm still trying to sort out my mishmash
...more
Charles
Nov 26, 2015 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This book has received a lot of acclaim over the years. I didn't think it was quite as good as many folks said, but it was very good. The opening is extremely good and the ending is dynamite. I found a little sag in the middle and novella length might have been better for the work.

I've not read a lot of Bester's work but I will tell you his writing is excellent. I found myself jealous at times of his way with words. And he was extremely inventive on the imagination front. I was endlessly surpri
...more
Lamora/Ches
May 02, 2015 Lamora/Ches rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, favourite
“Gully Foyle is my name
And Terra is my nation
Deep space is my dwelling place
The Stars my destination”


The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester is one of those books that will be included in pretty much every science fiction top ten list. Fifty-eight years have passed since it was first published, and it has maintained its reputation, which is a pretty impressive record. In fact, it’s hard to believe that it was written in the mid-1950s; its style, mood and surroundings are as compelling as in
...more
Kelly
Apr 16, 2009 Kelly rated it it was amazing
From the back cover: “EDUCATION: NONE. SKILLS: NONE. MERITS: NONE. RECOMMENDATIONS: NONE” So reads Gully Foyle’s Merchant Marine card. But Gully has managed to survive for 170 days in the airless purgatory of deep space and to escape to Terra with a murderous grudge and a secret that could change the course of history…

The Stars My Destination is a classic of technological prophecy and timeless narrative enchantment by an acknowledged master of science fiction.


Marooned in deep space by the wreck
...more
Chris
Sep 25, 2011 Chris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
What on Earth did I just read? Or should I say space? How about the time-dilated multiverse? In sci-fi lingo you could best describe the hypotheticals in this book as the quadruple T: telepathy, teleportation, and time travel. In this day and age these would be classified under the paranormal, but they become quite normal in Bester’s future. If that isn’t enough fun for you then behold the other spectacular oddities that he serves up here: egghead stoics stripped of all senses, an insane blind g ...more
Denis
May 20, 2015 Denis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: trade
This is definitively one of the most significant scifi novels ever written as it is probably one of the first with a protagonist that you must hate and love at the same time - Gulliver Foyle, is legitimately shafted, and therefore, he is a complex character unlike most written during that pulpy golden age era, and so the novel is well justified as being a Hugo winner as it broke ground in many ways: Unique lingo, odd trippy time dilation, messed up love interest - absolute weirdness throughout.. ...more
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10992
Alfred Bester (1913–1987) was an American science fiction author, TV and radio scriptwriter, magazine editor and scripter for comic strips and comic books.

Though successful in all these fields, he is best remembered for his science fiction, including The Demolished Man, winner of the inaugural Hugo Award in 1953, a story about murder in a future society where the police are telepathic, and The St
...more
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“Faith in faith' he answered himself. 'It isn't necessary to have something to believe in. It's only necessary to believe that somewhere there's something worthy of belief.” 157 likes
“You pigs, you. You rut like pigs, is all. You got the most in you, and you use the least. You hear me, you? Got a million in you and spend pennies. Got a genius in you and think crazies. Got a heart in you and feel empties. All a you. Every you...'

[...]

Take a war to make you spend. Take a jam to make you think. Take a challenge to make you great. Rest of the time you sit around lazy, you. Pigs, you! All right, God damn you! I challenge you, me. Die or live and be great. Blow yourselves to Christ gone or come and find me, Gully Foyle, and I make you men. I make you great. I give you the stars.”
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