The Stars My Destination

I can’t believe that it has taken me over five decades to read this book. It’s really quite a gem and I’m obviously pretty late to the party in recognizing its many merits and a few faults but even those are debatable and maybe just a result of the imperfection of our own existences.

I’ve been doing some research on futurism to lay some ground work for a future writing project I am working on. Alfred Bester wrote this book in 1955. Well it was published then. Think about that when you read it. It dares to give some scientific details which is usually a surefire way to date your work after 50 or more years pass. It still manages to stay pretty relevant especially since we went to the moon in what now seems a freak and almost reckless manner compared to the current very restrained space exploration of today.

Still, Bester imagines a solar system with outer resource gathering colonies rebelling against moneyed and aristocratic production inner planets. The book is filled with tropes, (I love tropes, anybody who says that they can write something non-tropy in this day and age is either lying or fooling themselves) some of them almost unheard of at the time and some not. Here is a list but DO NOT LOOK AT THEM until after you have read the book if that is on your list of books to read. SPOILERS abound.

I’m not doing a review. But I will say that I zoomed through it and enjoyed every word. I’m the kind of guy who enjoys 50’s and 60’s story narration, dialogue and pacing. I suspect that I would not survive a stint as a creative writing major. I think the show don’t tell thing has been overplayed so much that the descriptive telling that these kind of writers did is a rare art today.

There is a lot to mine from this work on futurism: AI, cyberlife, psi, human nature and spirituality. Too many topics to list. I finished it at 1am this morning and I am still thinking about it. It doesn’t hurt that at its core is a good revenge story. That turns out to just be the accidental skeleton but I’m still trying to work things out.

As a side note, I’m making great progress on Book 2 of the Pilgrim’s Path. Just did a chapter that I’m very pleased with. Sometimes I wonder if I am writing this story or if I’m just a conduit for it from another storyteller somewhere in another universe. I never had such strong “muse” moments when I was coding and designing. It’s a new experience to get such good shots of dopamine. Sometimes it’s truly exhilirating.

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