Regular price: $24.49

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
  • Get access to the Member Daily Deal
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Marooned in outer space after an attack on his ship, Nomad, Gulliver Foyle lives to obsessively pursue the crew of a rescue vessel that had intended to leave him to die.

When it comes to pop culture, Alfred Bester (1913-1987) is something of an unsung hero. He wrote radio scripts, screenplays, and comic books (in which capacity he created the original Green Lantern Oath). But Bester is best known for his science fiction novels, and The Stars My Destination may be his finest creation. With its sly potshotting at corporate skullduggery, The Stars My Destination seems utterly contemporary, and has maintained its status as an underground classic for over 50 years.

©1956 Alfred Bester; copyright renewed 1984 by Alfred Bester; special restored text of this edition copyright 1996 by the Estate of Alfred Bester; Introduction copyright 1996 by Neil Gaiman (P)2017 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    363
  • 4 Stars
    235
  • 3 Stars
    138
  • 2 Stars
    46
  • 1 Stars
    31

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    414
  • 4 Stars
    212
  • 3 Stars
    86
  • 2 Stars
    24
  • 1 Stars
    16

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    343
  • 4 Stars
    201
  • 3 Stars
    131
  • 2 Stars
    51
  • 1 Stars
    30
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Frederick
  • Warren, NJ, United States
  • 03-26-18

Magnificent

Bester is my favorite Science Fiction writer. I first read this book more than thirty years ago and Instead of aging Bester’s prose just gets better and better. His necessary interpretation or 300 years going forward is entertaining and clever.
The narration is superb and it adds to the enjoyment rather than distracts.

54 of 56 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

STILL AMAZINGLY GOOD AFTER 62 YEARS

A Science Fiction classic by anyone's standards! A 25th century Count of Monte Christo, the classic story of revenge that Alfred Bester used for inspiration to write what was originally titled Tiger Tiger. I first read the Stars My Destination in 1957 at the age of 7 and was thunderstruck even at that young age. I've continued to re read it every year or two since and it never loses its ability to thrill me. When I saw the audio version available for the first time I was filled with excitement and a bit of trepidation. How would a narrator interpret the characters I knew so well after reading this story 40 times or more over six decades? I practically know the dialogue by heart. Listening was an interesting experience. The narrator certainly did not sound like what I had imagined the characters sounding like. But how could anyone? After a bit I got used to his voice(s) and overall I found the audio version of this amazing story well worth the listen. Listen to it with an open mind and remember that it was written in the mid 1950s when the average person's understanding of the universe and space travel was not what it is today. One of my favorite books of all time.

81 of 86 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Ok...

I know this is recognized as a classic of its time and I don't dispute its place - unfortunately I don't think it has aged well. Other classic sci-fi books (journey to the center of the earth, 20,000 leagues, inter alia) which are even older remain highly enjoyable today (partly due to the rich language more commonly used) but 'The Stars my Destination' falls victim to being less than stellar in almost all of its aspects. The character of protagonist Gulliver develops in fits and starts, with the author rarely showing the readers the progression, only simply presenting it. The plot eventually seems to fall victim to the kitchen sink method of sci-fi storytelling - adding in space travel, love at first sight, interplanetary warm time travel, teleportation, multi-corps, body-mods and on and on and on... It finds focus only to squander it by adding a new deus ex machina whenever it seems 'neat' and by the end - about when the time travel stuff comes out of the blue - it lost cohesion and I lost patience...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Timeless classic

Alfred Bester's The Stars my Destination is classic sci-fi from the 1950's that stands the test of time. Set far into the future, the 25th century, humans have settled the solar system out to Neptune. Along the way, jaunting was discovered which involves personal teleportation over distances up to 1000 miles. The resulting impact on society and the economy results in conflict between the inner and outer system. Gully Foyle is a nondescript mechanic 3rd class on a freighter that is the sole survivor of some unknown disaster. When his emergency beacon is ignored, he is driven by revenge to hunt down the perpetrators. At the same time, Foyle is pursued by many for the secrets the freighter was carrying of which he is unaware.

Bester employs many sci-fi elements with jaunting or personal teleportation being a major aspect. Space travel is routine with colonization extending out to a moon of Neptune. Inner versus outer system conflict mirrors the cold war situation at the time. Telepathy is also common with an unusual one way telepath who can only transmit. The special substance pyre is some sort of superweapon akin to a fusion bomb. Bester also creates unique social groups such a cargo cult living on an asteroid fashioned with salvaged spacecraft and a monkish aesthetic cult that severs all sensory nerves . Finally Bester explores long range teleportation with relativistic implications.

The narration is excellent with a wide range of characters with good distinction. Pacing and mood are well aligned with the plot and the voice of Gully is spot on. Even in the 25th century, this story will not be dated.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A Good Enough Read...But Mercilessly Stolen from Dumas

I enjoyed this book and will keep it in my collection. However, it is painfully obvious that the entire storyline is ripped from The Count of Monte Cristo. In virtually every plot development. He’s altered it to be, what I’d call in today’s world, “Steam Punk”. But it is Cristo all the way.

More frustrating than the copied plot, was the inconsistent character reactions. A couple of the characters - particularly the women - are written to behave in embarrassingly contradictory ways...within sentences. If this is a reflection of 50’s sexism or just poor writing is up to you. He does refer to an African-American with a prejudiced word (not the one you’re thinking) which does show its age.

Nevertheless, I found myself engrossed at several points in the book and listened eagerly to the conclusion within one week. The fact it was written more than 50 years ago and still is so readable does give it credit...though perhaps more to Alexander Dumas than to Mr. Bester.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • SD
  • North Potomac, MD, United States
  • 11-09-18

Meh...

I bought this based on the positive reviews and my appeal for early science fiction. The story presents some fairly original ideas such as "jaunting" as a means of travel. However, I found that there must have been ideas buried in the relationships and politics and motivations of the characters presented that just simply went "over my head". I wasn't enamored by this book as others have been. Instead I found a choppy story about a man on a relentless vendetta of mindless revenge with a weird ending.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Classic SF pulp adventure

This sci-fi classic was a dated yet still exciting and entertaining pulp adventure that broke ground and used a lot of tropes that were not yet well-worn back in the day.

Gully Foyle is not a likeable hero. He's a low-born, gutteral, uneducated feral man, aptly expressed in the dialect Bester creates for the lower classes. We find him stranded as the sole survivor of a space wreck, pillaging supplies to prolong his miserable and hopeless existence out in the void, when another ship cruises by. Foyle sends out distress flares... and the ship passes him by, leaving him to die. Consumed with rage, Foyle swears to survive and wreak vengeance on the crew of the ship that left him to die. "Kill you filthy!"

I used to be almost exclusively a SF and fantasy reader. One of the pleasures of expanding my literary horizons is that having now read many more classics and literary works than I used to, I recognize references even in my favorite genre novels. So I was a third of the way through the book when I realized that Bester was totally writing a SF version of The Count of Monte Cristo.

It's not a beat-for-beat copy with a space theme. Golly Foyle is a very different antihero than Edmond Dante. He's a brute, he's a liar and a swindler, he's also a rapist. And the people who did him wrong didn't care about his woman (he didn't have one) or his position (he had nothing). But like Edmond Dante, he turns from an uneducated sailor into a wealthy, refined gentleman who uses his immense wealth to train and equip himself and become a superhuman vengeance machine, while capering beneath the noses of his objects of vengeance without them realizing who he is.

The story goes weird places towards the end - time travel, multi-universe hopping, and psychic powers, all reflective of the era when it was written. (There is no real explanation ever given for how all of humanity just learned to "jaunt," or teleport.) But it's a great (short) epic and deserves its status as a classic in the field.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Joe Kraus
  • Kingston, PA, United States
  • 07-24-18

Too Busy, Too Contrived

This one looked interesting enough to give a shot – and I needed the distraction of sci-fi while I was dealing with my mother’s final days, -- and then Neil Gaiman’s introduction got me intrigued. Gaiman argues that we should see this as a key text in the development of the genre, a story where a real character emerges within an invented world, one where the technology of the future reveals who we really are rather than who we imagine ourselves becoming.

It is, Gaiman insisted, a kind of sci-fi Count of Monte Cristo.

That should have been my warning, though. As it happens, I don’t like the terrestrial Count of Monte Cristo very much. When I gave it a shot five or six years ago, it seemed endless and contrived. So, if Dumas didn’t make it work for me, Bester certainly doesn’t.

There are a lot of intriguing inventions here, from the idea that humans are suddenly able to use their minds to move from place to place, to “jaunt,” that corporations have become the new feudal structures, and that there’s a vast interplanetary battle among the haves and the have-nots. In fact, I probably like many of the other ideas here, too, including the commercial use of telepaths, the notion of a substance that can power an army or explode with a carelessly directed thought, and the possibility of time travel, but eventually they come too quickly and too furiously.

This starts with a tight, careful plot – and I thought initially I’d see this as Gaiman prompted me to – but it unwinds in ways I can’t help but find careless. Bester not only breaks his narrative in two or three spots – usually when Gully either flees or gets returned to captivity – but he seems to reinvent his entire setting. At one point Gully undergoes an operation that makes him faster and stronger than other humans. I have to wonder, though, if such surgery is possible, why don’t the incredibly well-funded corporate titans outfit their personal armies the same way? (Eventually one does, but only after Gully gets dramatic utility out of having no real competition in the strength department.)

I could make the same complaint about jaunting. It works one way – the way it’s defined in the opening chapter – for about half the book, and then it starts to work somehow differently. Jaunters can go much farther than the original rules suggested, and they can do so more furtively than they could in the early chapters. Gaiman tells us not to overthink it, tells us to pay attention to the way Gully eventually realizes his mad quest for revenge has turned him into a kind of demon, but I find the one distracting and the other contrived.

I did see this one through the end, and I respect both its place in the genre’s history and its handful of striking inventions. As a novel that holds up, though, not so much.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

It Might Just Be Me....

Oh no - I hate it when this happens! I am a huge sci-fi fan and have heard for years that this is one of the greats, so I was excited to finally get around to it. I hated it! Like really truly did not enjoy it whatsoever. I forced myself to finish it out of pure stubbornness, but what a let down. The narration was so grating at times that I actually had to take deep breaths to suppress a physically negative reaction to the sound. The plot was fine - decently creative and interesting, but I honestly do not see why it's elevated to the level that it is. I was hooked in the beginning and it just went downhill from there. When I think of the sci-fi greats, this pales in comparison. It might just be me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Tiger Tiger

What a delight! Yes, it’s dated but that doesn’t diminish the enjoyment at all. Masterfully performed by Gerald Doyle; I’m sure to return to this one.
Life’s a freak!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rich
  • 09-07-18

Excellent sci fi tale

I've read this book a few times over the years and I really enjoyed this audiobook version which was really well narrated.
Amazing that Alfred Bester published it in 1956, I've always thought it would make a fantastic film but it would need a visionary director and a huge budget to get it right.