The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester

Gully Foyle is marooned in space and sends a distress signal, but it's ignored by the cargo ship which goes past him. He just about manages to survive, but swears revenge on those who ignored his cry for help.

The Guardian had a feature asking various authors for their favourite SF works, and this cropped up a few times. I'd never heard of it before.

The book felt a bit like Heinlein (it's written in the 60's), maybe like Stranger in a Strange Land. There were some good ideas in there, chief among which was jaunting: a form of teleportation which involves visualising somewhere you know, and willing yourself to move there. As the technique is discovered and its practice becomes widespread, significant adjustments have to be made to society.

The main story of the book borrowed from The Count of Monte Cristo: at one stage Foyle is imprisoned for several years in an underground dungeon but manages to escape after establishing communication with a fellow prisoner in another cell. After this, he becomes fabulously wealthy and a society figure who is unrecognised by the enemies he's trying to track down.

I wouldn't say this is the best SF book (let alone the "best book in the world" as one review on the cover claims) but it was a pretty good read.

Completed : 22-May-2011

[nickoh] [2011 books] [books homepage]