BOOK REVIEW- BESTER, ALFRED – THE STARS MY DESTINATION 1956 SF Masterworks #5 Reissued periodically as Tiger, Tiger, after the William Blake Poem quoted in the opening lines of the book, this is possibly the greatest science fiction novel of all time. The story is essentially a reworking of Dumas’s The Count Of Monte Christo. It features Gulley Foyle, possibly the most irate and embittered hero in all literature. Foyle has every reason to feel vengeance. He has been working on a space salvage mission when his employers leave him in deep space, on a wrecked star freighter he has being trying to salvage. Foyle seems doomed, but he is rescued by a mysterious group of aliens. He immediately embarks on a revenge mission, wanting to kill the men who abandoned him, and find out why they did it. He does this in a world where people jaunt from one place to another through airport like terminals. People can simply hop from one place to another through dimensional portals. With Foyle having killed a few of his enemies, security at such facilities intensifies, phthisis useless. Since the aliens rescued him, Foyle has been able to jaunt at will, without need of terminals. He can appear anywhere at any time. Nevertheless, his mission becomes increasingly difficult. He finds it necessary to take a woman initially as a reluctant accomplice. As she falls in love with Foyle, she advises him to find out more about the ship he was rescued from and the aliens who saved him. Foyle revisits the aliens. Instead of answers, they give him a curse. If he gets angry, his face will flare up in tiger like stripes, revealing to his enemies that he is a treat to them. Foyle has to learn how to control his fearsome temperament, and slowly the anger in him dissipates. He now finds that his power to jaunt spontaneously is his true gift. He leaps into space with no set-landing place, and the story echoes the wording of the book’s true title, The Stars My Destination. Wonderful stuff with a truly fantastic central hero.
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