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The Star Rover

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  1,570 ratings  ·  94 reviews
The Star Rover, in the UK published as The Jacket, is a collection of short stories revolves around the concept of reincarnation. It tells the story of San Quentin death-row inmate Darrell Standing, who escapes the horror of prison life —and long stretches in a straitjacket— by withdrawing into vivid dreams of past lives, including incarnations as a French nobleman and an...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 11th 2003 by Modern Library (first published 1915)
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Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardDune by Frank HerbertThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams1984 by George OrwellFahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Best Science Fiction
487th out of 1,582 books — 2,209 voters
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Best Twentieth Century American Novels
85th out of 178 books — 59 voters

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Community Reviews

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Stefania T.

Mettiamoci tutti in fila, sparpagliati ad entrambi i lati della strada, ad osservare con smorfia solenne e cipiglio indignato (scuotendo il capo in segno di palese disapprovazione) il cammino del Vagabondo delle stelle verso la Mensola dei Miei Libri Preferiti.
Signori, questo è un libro RACCOMANDATO.
Sì, avete letto bene (signora, lei non svenga, per cortesia!): "Il vagabondo delle stelle" appartiene a quella feccia di libri-figli-di-papà che siamo obbligati ad amare a prescindere, perché hanno c...more
Whispers from the Pirate's Ghost Whisper
Star Rover by Jack London - Uleash the Powers of Your Mind I’ve struggled with how to review this one. It’s getting five stars because I think it’s greater than the sum of its parts. The book description states that this is a collection of closely related short stories. Having read it, I think that’s either a mistake or a very sad attempt to water down, what I feel is a very thought provoking story. Jack London, for his day, was a great researcher and shrewd observer of the human condition. In f...more
Jack London's output never ceases to surprise me with its diversity. There's a lot more to him than stories about dogs and the Arctic. For example, the sailing adventure cum debate about evil, The Sea Wolf, autobiographically inspired story of a self-educated writer, Martin Eden, pro-Communist revolutionary tale, The Iron Heel, tongue-in-cheek philosophical action adventure,The Assassination Bureau, Ltd., and various science fiction shorts (many of them also pro-Communist) including ones with pr...more
Aug 21, 2007 Alex rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: most anyone
There are exactly three reasons why this book isn't regarded as an American classic and taught in high schools across the country:

#1 - The critics hated it when it came out. Oddly they slammed it for all the wrong reasons. Thinking this to be an absurd descent into London's imagination they tore it apart as inferior to his loosely autobiographical fiction. The book is in fact largely based on the life and times/crimes of one very real man who was kind/wise enough to share his story with Jack. Th...more
The Star Rover is unknown compared to Londons other works but this is an amazing book. A straight jacketed prisoner is brutalized and basicly left in the dark in solitary confinement, wills himself to learn astral projection, and relives past lives from previous incarnations. Very unique book that is unlike anything else Jack London wrote. Although the theme of struggle, defiance, strength of spirit and willpower are one of the main themes in The Star Rover as in most of Londons other work, but...more
Ilenia Zodiaco
"La mia mano nella tua, vecchio compagno! So che, anche con la corda al collo, sarai tu ad aver vinto la partita. Non avranno la dinamite".

Tra le mille riflessioni, credo che la più forte, quella che si ostinava a riemergere senza sosta in me, durante la lettura di questo magico romanzo, sia questa presuntuosa volontà di vivere a testa alta. Darrell Standing, il vagabondo delle stelle, l'unico prigioniero di San Quintino libero di vagare nel firmamento. Le guardie ottuse, il direttore sanguinar...more
Ho sulle spalle l'ebbrezza di un viaggio durato cento vite.
Ho visto il mare lambire le coste di un'isola sperduta nell'oceano del Sud, ho mangiato carne di foca essiccata al sole e ho leccato gocce di rugiada dagli spuntoni delle rocce. Ero su una delle quaranta carovane dirette in California, intenta a razionare illusioni e polvere da sparo. Ho governato città e province, poi ho mendicato, in quelle stesse strade cementate col mio nome. Sono stata Guillaume De Sainte-Maure, sono stata Jesse Fa...more
The main protagonist of "The Jacket" is Darrell Standing, a university professor serving life imprisonment in San Quentin State Prison for murder.

Due to some low-level intrigue amongst prisoners, he is suspected of hiding dynamite and sent to solitary confinement. There he is put into the jacket, a canvas jacket which is tightly laced to compress the whole body and at first he experiences excruciating pain. However, another prisoner, Ed Morrell introduces him to a "trick" that would make his co...more
"ALL my life I have had an awareness of other times and places. I have been aware of other persons in me. Oh, and trust me, so have you, my reader that is to be. Read back into your childhood, and this sense of awareness I speak of will be remembered as an experience of your childhood. You were then not fixed, not crystallized. You were plastic, a soul in flux, a consciousness and an identity in the process of forming? ay, of forming and forgetting."

This must be one of my all time favorites. Thi...more
Uno di quei libri che non possono non cambiarti la vita
There is a lot to write about this book. Death seems like a petty thing for Darrell Standing who is about to be hanged after killing his professor. The mere thought of being confined in a solitary makes you wiser and closer to understand what's the reality of your true self and makes you ponder the perplexing questions that people are afraid to answer. London narrates his previous selves travelling beyond his prison walls living thousands of lives, he is a vagabond that roves in the past and lin...more
It's a pretty cool conceit -- although one I think London explored better in "Before Adam" -- that we all have a collective memory, or "spirit" as the narrator of this story would say, that is passed down through our genes from our ancestors. A subconscious notebook of experiences that define our thoughts and actions in ways we may not be aware of.

Pretty cool context here, mixing musings on capital punishment/the horror of prison systems in the early 1900s with a handful of stories relating hist...more
Michael William West
About a third of the way into the Star Rover, I decided that Jack London was about to do something magnificent; to encapsulate the experience of transcendence of the body while under conditions of torture without ever leaving the intense, layered claustrophobia of San Quentin. Almost immediately the book digressed into a series of hallucinatory experiences in which other characters were semi-forcibly developed and then retraced back into the thinning story of his incarceration. A little disappoi...more
Bryan Wood
The Star Rover was a great book, and such an imaginative premise for a book written 100 years ago. The book was based off Ed Morrell, (who is also a character in the story) who had spent years in prison, and later became friends with Jack London. While imprisoned and serving the death sentence, Darrell Standing serves most of his time in solitary confinement wrapped bone crushingly tight in a straitjacket. During these periods, Darrell learns a tapping language with other solitary inmates and es...more
Absolutely fascinating! Fantastic idea, interesting plot, amazing descriptions of major character’s adventures, affectionate relationships with women. Iron will, triumph of spirit over the body – that’s a propaganda.
“I’ve got so much life within you’ll never be able to exhaust it” – I think it should be the credo of every human being.
Impressive. Moving. There is no telling what Jack London could have accomplished had his life not been cut short at the age of 40...
One of my favorite books of all time. Oh the power of the human spirit! I can't recommend this forgotten gem highly enough.
This little-known novel from the author of such renowned works as Call of the Wild and White Fang surprised me, probably because this book seems so much more worthy of the pedestal that his more well-known works inhabit. I feel it's subject matter and philosophy are far more powerful than these other works, and is more easily translatable to our current general morality and philosophy. Also the fact that this is the first time (at least in english literature) a novel delved into not only the the...more
The main character Darrell Standing either A) hallucinates a whole lot while awaiting his execution, or B) actually experiences a series of his past lives. Either way, London presents the idea in the most boring way possible.

Let's get option A out of the way first, because there's definitely a dismissive tone toward this possibility in the book. Could this be a case of unreliable narrator? Sure, but London does nothing to emphasize this point or explore it in any interesting way, so I'd say the...more
It was a good experience reading this much similarity to what the verse of holy Geeta says...Nainam Chindanti Shastraani, Nainam dahati paavakaha.....
The soul is something that every religion has believed in....
The incidents of Darrel Standings' past incarnation experiences have been carefully chosen by the author from almost each era of the history of mankind....thats something really entertaining..and finally the confession (I call it confession)....that it is all about THE Woman......more
Un romanzo che ha lo spessore e la forza che pochi altri hanno. Ricorda in tal senso, oltre che nella trama, Mattatoio n.5 di Kurt Vonnegut. Quando si leggono opere del genere si ha la consapevolezza di essere di fronte a qualcosa di importante, forse proprio all’Esperienza, che infiamma le mani dello scrittore e incarna, inscena, inchiostra monumenti di Vita. E c’è tanta vita nonostante le tante morti narrate da Il vagabondo delle stelle.
È un libro in cui c’è di tutto: molto raccontano le tante...more
Das Buch ist im Ganzen unglaublich und besitzt eine sehr starke Ausdruckskraft.
Auch wenn ich bei fast jeder neuen Geschichte, die Darrell Standing über eines seiner vielen gewesenen Ichs erzählt, anfangs nicht die geringste Lust hatte, mir wieder ganz neue Namen zu merken und mich schon wieder auf eine komplett neue Situation einzustellen, hat es sich jedes einzelne Mal gelohnt, dass ich es doch tat.
Die Erzählung über Pontius Pilatus und den nordischen Soldaten war Erfurcht erbietend und hat mir...more
Shai Sachs
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book - the subject matter seemed pretty grim to me from the outset. But the writing style was very gripping, the narrative voice strong and complex, and the characters well-drawn. My guess is that this book is one of the first psycho-dramas ever written - though what-do-I-know - and as such it does a pretty decent job. That said, there were some parts that I simply didn't care for - particularly the prehistoric flight-of-fancy at the end, the oddly hete...more
Sam Flanagan
Jack London's the Star Rover is horrific yet hopeful, visceral yet profound. It is the story of Darrel Standing, a life-sentenced inmate in California's infamous San Quentin prison who, while serving extended bouts with the penal system's most torturous device, the straight jacket, attains the ability to transcend his body and relive the experiences of his past lives. He is a French nobleman in Renaissance Paris and a Roman soldier at the trial of Christ before Pilate. He is an Englishman who co...more
Hari Seldon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 19, 2014 Tina added it
I'm not sure how I came to read this book and find it hard to rate. It comes down to philosophy versus the writing. The story is odd and a bit morbid and yet I was so intrigued and drawn in by the narrative that I couldn't put it down. The human spirit is a fascinating topic. I admit I was disappointed to discover London's point of view of the Mountain Meadow's Massacre. I'm glad I live with someone that could help me sort fact from fiction.
I'd never heard of this book by Jack London and I was intrigued when I read the blurb about it. Although the book's appeal was probably supposed to be the past-life stories, I preferred the present-life story of the main character, a prisoner on death row, which was grittier and more realistic and why I give this book 3 rather than 2 stars. I grew impatient with the next-to-last chapter where London gets a bit carried away and goes on and on about the many past lives of the protagonist. I skippe...more
Nerea Serrano
I was given this book as a present and it took me a little while to start reading it since the first time I read London (Call of the Wild) I was bored to death. To my surprise, this book had me hooked on since page one. The narrative is just extraordinary! The plot is outstanding and the writing is lyrical and catchy at the same time. A masterpiece that everyone should read, it stands as contemporary as it was at the time it was written.
Vagabondo, tenace, intelligente e consapevole. Queste sono le caratteristiche dei protagonisti che vogliono intraprendere un viaggio tra le stelle. Un grande libro che ha molto da insegnare. Ma la nostra bravura più che nello studiare il libro stesso per comprenderne l'essenza, credo che dovrebbe essere nel ricordare a noi stessi ciò che noi siamo. Nel non abbandonare il nostro essere che si rinnova di vita in vita.
Jack vive a pieno la sua essenza, senza negarla e senza combatterla, consapevole...more
A fabulous adventure somewhere between psychotic hallucination and reincarnation. As with most reviews I do not so spoilers so that the reader has the opportunity to judge for themselves. I will merely say that this is a gripping and well written tale that leads to deep reflection and introspection. I guess that is pretty much what a good book is meant to do. It is a novel which straddles both time and space and plays with the human imagination. I would certainly recommend it. While it was one o...more
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Jack London was an American novelist, journalist, social-activist and short-story writer whose works deal romantically with elemental struggles for survival. At his peak, he was the highest paid and the most popular of all living writers. Because of early financial difficulties, he was largely self educated past grammar school.

London drew heavily on his life experiences in his writing. He spent ti...more
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The Call of the Wild White Fang The Call of the Wild/White Fang The Call of the Wild, White Fang and Other Stories The Sea Wolf

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“To be able to forget means sanity.” 157 likes
“Intelligent men are cruel. Stupid men are monstrously cruel. ” 137 likes
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