Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

Today I finished rereading The Stars My Destination.  As it turns out today would been Alfred Bester's 100 birthday, the author of the book.  Interesting coincidence there.

For those of you not aware, The Star My Destination is considered by many to be the greatest Sci-Fi novel of all time.  There is a good reason for this.  It is an incredible novel.

The first time I read it about fifteen years ago or so, I enjoyed it then.  I remember how intense it was and enjoyed the fact that you didn't know where the story was going next. It was a wild trip. A good read.

Rereading was an even better experience. I saw it in a different light this time, as my sensibilities have changed. I saw the commentary that was clearly there, especially once you get to the end and the mortality question is straight our presented unedited. So much of what was said in the conclusion of the story very much applies to what we are seeing today with the privileged and their priorities. It is timeless in its commentary.

I also saw the great play on human nature and how contradictory we are.  The nature of inner struggle is so well done with Gully Foyle, as he fights his inner monster. It is great, believable character development, even is he is unlikable for most of the story.

I will say that the attitude towards women presented in the book is very much dated, but that can be said of most classic sci-fi.  Is it one aspect of story telling that has greatly matured over the last half century since the book was written. It is one of those things that one has to understand when reading classic sci-fi and not letting it ruin the experience.

The visuals in the book would lend themselves so powerfully to the big screen.  I guess there have been numerous attempts at turning it into a film, but nothing has come to fulfillment.  With John Carter and Ender's Game not having done too well in the theaters, that will make it harder for high concept sci-fi like The Stars My Destination to get the go ahead.

There is no doubt the influence that The Stars My Destination has had on sci-fi.  It was ahead of its time, presenting so many strong concepts that are still active in sci-fi today.  I've seen it said that The Stars My Destination is an predecessor to cyberpunk, and I very much can see that.

This is a book that should be on everyone's must read list. If you have not read it, go get a copy.

1 comment:

  1. Bester was one of the best SF novelists of his time. Too bad his time was cut short.
    At least the best villain in B5 was named in his honor.