Felina's Reviews > The Stars My Destination

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
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's review
Jun 03, 12

bookshelves: 2012, star-2
Read from May 23 to June 03, 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 hungry assholes. Not a hero or friend in the lot. The main character, of course, is supposed to be horrible...rapist, sociopath, psychopath, you name it. (view spoiler). But as I don't think the author intended for me to like any of the characters (at least not until the end) I can't really fault him on that front but I will say that it's odd to cast a bunch of douche bags.

Story - The central plot is fairly entertaining. It takes a little to long to wrap up and there are far to many tangents that are not fully realized. The book should have been shorter and some of these tangents edited out or it should have been longer with the tangents fleshed out. Either way not quite there.

Concept/story line - Kind of brilliant. There was a really good idea in here. Sometimes it was hard to see. This concept is something I think Asimov would have been better equipped to convey. The story is pretty heady and eventually ends up in a really fascinating place. A really good tale about good and evil and what makes a person good or evil.

World Building - Excellent. I liked the description of the different races/planets. I liked how society was described (i.e. the different 'houses' dressing according to the year their ancestors changed history). I loved everything that happened in Gouffre Martel. I would have liked the outlawing of religions to be discussed a little more. There were hints in conversations about things that I would have preferred to have read about over Gully's story like WWIII. And, of course, jaunting was a great idea. Brilliant actually. What happens at the end with Gully (view spoiler) I didn't see that coming at all it and opened the book up quite a bit.

Tropes/Cliches - Way to much love at first sight bull shit. I hate that crap. I want to understand why people are into each other. If its just physical fine... I can understand that but these characters are all so flimsy. As soon as the relationships form you can actually see the respect for the woman disappear. When a female character would offer advice it was listened to but once a female character became someones 'property' they would get ignored. There is one section where a female character is talking to Gully and she makes a point of telling him she is now Mrs. whatever. It had no bearing on the story, the scene or the character development. But this was written in the 50's so I guess thats to be expected.

Bester has a knack for action writing and physical description. That is probably the best part of this book. Its not terribly long. Just 258 pages. The story is interesting enough to stick with. At about 200 pages in I could have easily quit reading it and been fine with it. It was the last 50 pages that made the difference. It was in the last 50 pages that had the best dialogue, the best story line, the best character development and the best writing. Bester designed this book to come together at the end but unfortunately failed to make the reader realize that would happen, so throughout the entire book I'm searching for connections and coming up empty and blaming myself for missing the point. I don't like that. A lot of stories are like that but not all of those stories make you feel like its totally over your head. I had this pegged for a 3 star but I'm pushing it down to 2 stars.

I'm still not sure what the plan was with the cast of idiots and assholes though.
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05/23/2012 page 75
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome Interesting review. I read the book in one shot as a kid. But I can understand why women wouldn't like it (both you and Mur).

Felina While the sexist stuff bugged it wasnt even close to the main reason why I rated this low.

I admittedly don't have very much experience in science fiction let alone classic sci-fi. It seems like woman as a dominated sex is a pretty prevalent theme even in fairly new sci-fi. It doesn't typically bother me but I think it did in this book just because the female characters were so flimsy and stupid. (view spoiler)

I'm a realist so I'm not going to buy a woman beating up a man in hand to hand combat but woman can be hard and heartless as well.

message 3: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome Oops, I thought you were Felicia Day.

Felina I don't know who Felicia Day is but hopefully that is a compliment. :)

message 5: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome She's only the queen of the nerds!


Felina Oh well then I'll take it as a compliment.

Jasvanth Sureshkumar Well, I can understand jiz's connection and feeling for gully. They spent 10 months keeping each other sane. It wasn't love at first sight sort of.

I agree with many of your points though. And most of them seem positive except your gripe about love at first sight haha. I agree with you there though.

The last 50 pages were pretty amazing and really tipped my hand and made me rate it a 4 instead of a 3. Though I thought it was a bit preachy at the very end, his unwavering faith in humanity, almost a cry for religion to come back.

Shlomz Completely agree with you on the characters. This book has many of the faults shared by other 50s SF novels.

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