The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The backdrop of The Stars My Destination is a war between the Inner Planets (I.P.) and the Outer System (O.S.) in the twenty-fifth century. Humans have learned how to teleport themselves, or “jaunt.” In this age of robber barons and conspicuous consumption, mechanic’s mate Gulliver “Gully” Foyle, the “stereotype common man,” as Alfred Bester’s narrator calls him, is left adrift in space. He is the only survivor of the wreck of the Nomad. Unknown to Foyle, the Nomad carried a fortune in bullion and twenty pounds of PyrE, an explosive substance similar to antimatter. After 170 days, Foyle is spotted by the spaceship Vorga, which then passes him. Enraged, Foyle saves himself by learning to pilot the Nomad. The “vengeful history of Gully Foyle” begins as he crashes into the Scientific People’s asteroid. While he is unconscious, the Scientific People, recognizing his nature, tattoo a Maori tiger mask and the name NOMAD (a male symbol standing in for the “O”) on his face.

Foyle appears on Earth, where he uses one-way telepath Robin Wednesbury (she can send but not receive) to help him find out about the Vorga. Foyle is now sought by four parties: Presteign of Presteign, a robber baron, Regis Sheffield, a lawyer and spy for the O.S., Saul Dagenham, a brilliant troubleshooter, and Peter Y’ang-Yeovil, the chief of police.

Foyle is captured by Dagenham but does not break...

(The entire section is 583 words.)

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Stylistically, The Stars My Destination is even more ambitious than The Demolished Man, although the devices that Bester...

(The entire section is 560 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

As was the case with The Demolished Man, elements in The Stars My Destination can be traced back to numerous examples in the...

(The entire section is 196 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

While Bester is best known for, and has made his most important literary contributions through, his novels, he has also written numerous...

(The entire section is 649 words.)