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The Stars My Destination
by Alfred Bester

classifications: Science-Fiction / Cyberpunk / Philosophical

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I picked this book of the shelf because I remembered reading the title somewhere. I could not remember where, or what was said about it... But it looked promising.

Boy was it ever. Written smack in the middle of the Golden Age (1957), it is as seminal a novel as I've ever read. I think, too, that Cyberpunk owes more to this book than to Gibson and his Neuromancer.

Granted, written before organo-computer interfaces were thought of, and before all the fancy things that we take for granted in sci-fi today - it is still as good an example of the essence of cyberpunk as any I know of.

The story is set in the 25th century. This is a future that has been revolutionised by the development of the "jaunte" - instant personal teleportation. The hero is the perfect cyberpunk main character - someone who is cool but not someone you like, and he's set in a world that is every bit as bewildering as the most recent of cyberpunk developments.

Yet, as good as the story is, the brilliance of character development and unpredictable plot line are not what really pulled me into this story.

It was the prose. Such style I've never seen, and cannot accurately describe even now. Suffice to say that as beautiful as my style is, I would love to be able to write like this.

Told in a matter-of-fact voice with understated drama, Bester nevertheless manages to capture a stark, exhilirating beauty.

I continually found myself stopping reading to comment upon the style of the prose - but I could not look upon the prose for long before being sucked back into the story.

Overall, this is a truly admirable work. Only slightly dated by his use of rockets for space travel rather than more modern non-aerodynamic ship designs, his blend of physical truth and cyberpunk cool is unbeatable.

Read and learn, read and enjoy it - just read it. :)

"This was the Golden Age, a time of high adventure, rich living, and hard dying...but nobody thought so. This was a future of fortune and theft, pilliage and rapine, culture and vice...but nobody admitted it. This was an age of extremes, a fascinated century of freaks...but nobody loved it.

All the habitable worlds of the solar system were occupied. Three planets and eight satellites and eleven million million people swarmed in one of the most exciting ages ever known, yet minds still yearned for other times, as always. The solar system seethed with activity...fighting, feeding, and breeding, learning the new technologies that spewed forth almost before the old had been mastered, girding itself for the first exploration of the far stars in deep space; but-"

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