Monday, May 16, 2005

50 Book Challenge #26: The Stars My Destination

With such a hopeful sounding title, this piece of classic SF had me excited. However, the book itself is disappointing. Most of the plot comes from the Count of Monte Cristo: our anithero is Foyle, a spaceman out for vengeance against whoever gave the order not to pick him up when he was abandoned in the husk of a ruptured ship near the asteroid belt. I am pretty sympathetic to desire for revenge, but Foyle is needlessly brutal as well as obsessed. He lost me when he raped a helpless schoolteacher.

The sexual politics in the book lag centuries behind the technology, sometimes to the point of irrationality. Much of the travel takes place via "jaunt," in which one can teleport by an act of will to anyplace you've seen. The advent of jaunting is blamed for the sequestration of women, since only keeping them in concealed bowers can prevent strangers from jaunting right into a woman's bedroom. But if nearly everyone can jaunt (unless they've suffered a head injury), why wouldn't women at risk just jaunt right out of a dangerous situation? It's silly.

Bester's book was marginally better than the part of Mirror, Mirror that I started to read last night (which is utter crap), but mostly made me feel like I needed a shower.
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