Ariel's Reviews > The Stars My Destination

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
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's review
Oct 03, 2011

it was amazing

My partner Lambert and I had a brief debate about The Stars My Destination last night because he thought the book was cryptic and silly, and I loved it. I see why many SF authors consider The Stars My Destination to be the best SF novel. It may not be my favorite book ever, but I loved reading it. It was a intellectually stimulating and a quick page-turner at the same time. It is one of the earlier works of SF I have read that considers how human advancement radically changes what it means to be human. (It this book, humans advance without aid of technology, curiously! They can teleport or "jaunte" through will of the mind, but still have the same old diseases and social problems. Some technology seems to be forgotten, too, like tattooing and tattoo removal.)

Some of the content was hard to read in terms of sexual (which was at least implied rather than shown), racism, sexism, and ableism but you could also read the book as critiquing such things: the characters with "disabilities" actually have incredible powers, and one of the book's three women characters rebels against rigid gender roles that lock women away for their "protection." She is jailed for her rebellion against gender roles, and escapes. Then of course the women go and take their husbands' last names, but this book was written in the 50s.

The Stars My Destination aged very well in presenting a future that seems very plausible. Besides some of the language around race and gender, if you'd told me it was written today, I'd have believed you.

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