Friday, January 17, 2014

The Stars My Destination

The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester

It's my other Bester book for Vintage SF Month!  Also published as Tiger! Tiger! (as in the Blake poem), it tells the story of Gulliver Foyle, the most dangerous man in the galaxy if only he knew it.

Bester explores what would happen if people could "jaunte" -- teleport by the power of the mind.  In this future, once the ability is discovered, it can be taught, and almost everyone can jaunte--though not usually more than 500 miles at a time.  And you have to know where you're going.  In such a world, the wealthy hide behind mazes and criminals live in a round-the-world night.  Girls are guarded from attack by seclusion in rooms without doors that only their family or friends can enter, and the highest mark of prestige is to walk where you're going.

Gully Foyle, a rough and violent laborer, lives for just one thing: revenge on the people who left him to die on a derelict wreck of a spaceship.  His life is dedicated to finding out who they are and why they did it.   As a matter of fact, much of Gully's plot is explicitly based on The Count of Monte Cristo!  Treasure, secret identity, and all.  But Gully also holds a secret that could change the world.  He doesn't know it, but some other very powerful people do.

Another good yarn from Bester, an early SF great.

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