The Stars Are My Destination Essay, Research Paper
The Stars My Destination
…The key turned in the lock of his soul and the door was opened. What emerged expunged the Common Man forever.
The Stars My Destination pg 22
Gully Foyle. Uneducated. No skills. No merits. No recommendations. A short
description given by the author Alfred Bester of his main character as the stereotypical Common Man of humanity. A man who later motivated himself to become something more than just a mere man. Within the few pages of just the first chapter, Bester had pulled me into the diluted, freakish mind of Gully Foyle.
As the story began, Gulliver Foyle was awaiting death aboard the wreckaged ship NOMAD in deep space. It s been six months since the NOMAD was left out to rust. Foyle just happened to be the sole survivor. Until one day, a sister ship to the NOMAD, VORGA managed to cross paths with the wreckage. Foyle did everything he could to send out rescue signals. But alas, his actions were wasted time and effort, for she had rejected him. And thus began his quest for vengeance upon the VORGA.
As his ship drifted out further into space, Foyle had spent his entire time aboard not welcoming death anymore. Instead he was now obsessing himself with the destruction of VORGA. For the first time in his life, Foyle was now motivated. He felt the need to punish and there was nothing anybody could do. He had vowed to himself to fight anything that was a threat towards his plans to destroy the ship that could have saved him.
While floating, into an asteroid belt, he was saved by the Scientific People of the Sargasso Asteroid. A tiny planet that was built by man. Primarily made of rock and two hundred years of salvaged ships. The tiny planet had made a new addition to their planet and population. It s rather ironic that of all people, Bester had decided to reverse the psychological role of scientists on this planet. He had turned the scientists into our definition of uncultivated savages in society. During his stay with the Scientific People, Foyle was forced into their society whether he liked it or not. They had given him a new
name and tattoo across his face: NOMAD. Foyle knew he couldn t stay. He still had a score to settle and so he busted off the asteroid with a vengeance burning higher.
After escaping the Sargasso Asteroid, Foyle was then picked up by the Navy and
was sent on his way back to Terra. Back on Terra, Foyle was healing from his injuries in outer space. To help his recovery, Robin Wednesbury was assigned to help Foyle regain his ability to jaunte. To jaunte, is to concentrate and focus on a specific location and to physically travel there with the speed of thought. Unfortunately, Robin had no idea what trouble she had gotten into by just being an acquaintance to Foyle. Although she was portrayed as a passive woman early in the story, she later turned herself into an aggressive person trying to stop Foyle from achieving his one and only goal.
After following leads and tips, Foyle had discovered the port where VORGA was
stationed at. Without thinking, he charged into the area. Jaunting through each security wall until he got to his target. At the same time, the owner of VORGA was also there. Presteign of Presteign was present during the attack. Presteign was a man of high society and believed in sacrificing the common folk for the greater cause. What Foyle didn t realize was that he was already a wanted man by Presteign. For Presteign, he had his own agenda with Foyle. It seemed that Presteign s portrayal in the story resembled the stereotype of the ultra obnoxious high society in Hollywood. He would be involved in society, but also involved in political scandal. Deemed as the main opponent to Foyle but hidden behind VORGA.
Along with Presteign, was his faithful side kick Saul Dagenham. Throughout the
story, it was up to Dagenham to dutifully badger and torture Foyle for the whereabouts of the NOMAD wreckage. But he wasted his time with Foyle, he was unaware that Foyle was impossible to crack. Nonetheless, he kept pursuing Foyle to point of sending him to a maximum security cavern hospital where no one has ever jaunted to freedom. Even up to this point of the story, Presteign and his associates still had no clue to Foyle s intentions. Nor did they care, they had bigger problems to worry about.
In the ten months Foyle spent at the underground hospital, he befriended another
inmate. A woman by the name of Jisbella McQueen. She was in for five years on the account of larceny. With Jis, they worked as a team to escape and traveled back to the NOMAD before Dagenham and company would find it. Through Jis underground connections, Foyle went through surgical procedure to remove all the color pigment off his tattooed face. His face returned to normal, but at times when he was overwhelmed with emotions, his face would turn flaming red at where the tattoo use to be. It was his permanent curse for life. Over time, Jis had convinced Foyle that his actions towards VORGA were not justified. He approached the whole issue in the wrong way. It wasn t VORGA who ignored his cry for help, but the person who was gave the orders to disregard his plea. And with this new perspective and physical identity, Foyle began collecting information the smart way: by inquiring about the crew who were onboard that
one fateful day. Of all the characters, it seemed to me that Jis was the strongest of all side characters. She had the most reason and common sense above all characters. What helped shaped her character was mainly her upbringing as an independent at a young age. Through her rough life, she managed to be quickwitted with Foyle and tutored him in how to be more civilized and how to deal with things the right way with just plain common sense.
In the end, Foyle found out the reason they were badgering him about the
NOMAD. Other than carrying twenty million in platinum bullion (currency), onboard the wreckage was twenty pounds of pyrE. A piece of metal that helped create the universe in the Big Bang theory. The only way to release an energy of that magnitude was through Will and Idea. Also revealed at the end was who gave the order to leave Foyle drifting in space. To his surprise, it was someone he fell in love with: Presteign s albino daughter, Olivia. It seemed that she was just as sick and twisted in her own way as Foyle was in his obsession with VORGA. Dismayed at his conclusions, he went on a rampage with pyrE by jaunting across the globe and left pieces of the metal in crowds of
people. He was so careless that some residue of the pyrE was left nearby in an old church where he jaunted into. The place exploded and Foyle s life was in jeopardy. He couldn t control himself. With his fear controlling him, he jaunted wildly in and out of the fire hole he was trapped in. He was jaunting through time. An ability that scientists have not even thought to tap into. He jaunted throughout his past, all the way back to when he was in the NOMAD until finally, he jaunted through outer space. To his final resting place he could truly feel at home, he had jaunted to the NOMAD of the present time. He was back at Sargasso Asteroid. Through his unconscious instinct, he naturally
went into the tool locker of the NOMAD and went into a deep sleep in a fetal position.
Since the book s publication, many sci-fi readers have enjoyed the Bester s story with great anticipation of what happens next to the characters. Although, it is no comparison to his previous work The Demolished Man.1 I have to admit I couldn t put the book down myself. The entire story focuses around the idea of ESP. Bester proves in his story that anyone can do anything they want if they are motivated enough. For Foyle, he starts out as a nobody and works himself up the social ladder. At the time of writing his novel, the generation back then was not ready for his graphic content during his day writing for television. To write was his own version of psychotherapy. So, out of frustration, I went back to science fiction in order to keep my cool. 2 And so he wrote and wrote and wrote. He figured that writing sci-fi would comfort him the most because
his creativity had no limits in that realm and felt he could ..do anything we damn well please. 3
1. Bester, Alfred, Alfred Bester, Interview by Charles Platt in Dream Makers
(New York: Berkeley Books, 1980), p.96
2. Bester, Alfred, My Affair with Science Fiction, Hell s Cartographers
(New York: Harper & Row, 1995), p.57
3. Rawdon, Michael, Bookreviews . Online posting. Reviewed Dec. 1996
Available: www.spies.com/ Rawdon/books/sf/bester.html