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SF Masterwork of the Week: The Stars My Destination

Gully Foyle is my name
And Terra is my nation.
Deep space is my dwelling place,
The stars my destination.

There are very few poems that resonate in science fiction literature, but the quatrain above is certainly one of them. Alfred Bester‘s debut novel, The Demolished Man, won the first Hugo Award for best novel. As brilliant as The Demolished Man is, his third novel (and second SF novel) The Stars My Destination, published three years later, is even better. Modelled after Alexandre DumasThe Count of Monte Cristo, it is a tour de force of a proto-cyberpunk, space opera revenge saga. To read it is to see what science fiction at its best is capable of . . .

 

Gully Foyle, Mechanic’s Mate 3rd Class.

EDUCATION: none

SKILLS: none

MERITS: none

RECOMMENDATIONS: none

That’s the official verdict on Gully Foyle, unskilled space crewman.

But right now he is the only survivor on his drifting, wrecked spaceship, and when another space vessel, the Vorga, ignores his distress flares and sails by, Gully becomes obsessed with revenge. He endures 170 days alone in deep space before finding refuge on the Sargasso Asteroid and returning to Earth to track down the crew and owners of the Vorga. But, as he works out his murderous grudge, Gully Foyle also uncovers a secret of momentous proportions . . .

 

The Stars My Destination is available as an SF Masterworks paperback. You can read more about Alfred Bester in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.