Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Stars My Destination - SF Book Discussion

The HPL Science Fiction Book Discussion group met April 4th to discuss Alfred Bester's classic The Stars My Destination. This mid-1950's novel is frequently cited as an influence on the SF cyberpunk movement. The work is also known by its UK title, Tiger, Tiger! after the first line of William Blake's poem The Tiger.

Bester is perhaps better known for his novel, The Demolished Man, which received the first Hugo Award in 1953. The Stars My Destination is, in a nutshell, a story that starts out all about revenge and ends up with personal growth. Now our group is composed of individuals with strong opinions about SF and as I have learned, a fairly high bar to be impressed.

To our last two books, despite high acclaim for the titles, our group responded with a resounding "meh". Concerning Bester's book, the general consensus seemed to be summed up by one member's comment, "I at least wanted to see how it turned out". Damning with faint praise? I don't think so. I think we dare to want more from an author. This story explores fascinating themes; following the ramifications to society of a human evolutionary step, "jaunting", to its possible conclusions. It is worth a read. Despite its age, it is easy to see why this book is often considered a precursor or major influence on the cyberpunk movement of the late 20th century.

Our group will meet again on May 2nd to discuss another SF classic, A.E. van Vogt's SLAN. If you would like to join us, contact Gregg Wamsley at (620)663-5441 or gwamsley@hutchpl.org

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