Awesome Science Fiction
book, written in 1956 by Alfred Bester
. Originally published in the UK as "Tiger! Tiger!", from the first line of the William Blake
poem "The Tyger
". The book opens with "This was a Golden Age, a time of high adventure
, rich living, and hard dying . . . but nobody thought so. This was a future of fortune and theft, pillage
, culture and vice. . . but nobody admitted it. This was an age of extremes, a fascinating century of freaks. . . but nobody loved it."
The hero of the story is everyman personified, Gulliver Foyle
, a second class machinist
's mate, with the following qualification
s on his merchant marine
service card: "EDUCATION: NONE. SKILLS: NONE. MERITS: NONE. RECOMMENDATIONS:NONE". A man who never had a real goal
in his life, until his ship is torpedoed by an enemy starship
, and he is trapped in the wreckage for 170 days, in the sole airtight compartment, a closet
. Every day of that 170 is a hell
ish fight for survival, until one day a ship arrives, answers his signal, and leaves him to die in the wreckage without a word of explanation. With that, Gully Foyle suddenly finds his purpose in life. To find the bastards who abandoned him, and make them pay.
Despite being written in the 1950s, The Stars My Destination isn't nearly as dated as one would think. The fact that computer
s hardly existed then means they aren't present in the book at all to be botched like they were in 1980s SF. Bester was principly known as a writer of comic book
s and television shows (he invented Superman
villain Solomon Grundy
and wrote the Green Lantern Oath
), so the narrative is action packed and relatively short. Highly recommended.