The Stars My Destination

The first ten pages of Alfred Bester’s science-fiction classic, “The Stars My Destination” contain more background, history, and consequential menace to the notion of human teleportation than the entirety of the film “Jumper”. Of course, that’s an unfair comparison, as I’ve not read the source material, so the film could be a little thin. But the movie never really addressed WHY there was a secret society of Paladins dedicated to the eradication of Jumpers. In about ten pages, Bester’s novel makes that cause quite clear.

Bester’s novel doesn’t start with teleporting (called Jaunting) as being new, but recounts its history and unforeseen societal ramifications to a brave new world. Transportation industry is nonexistent. Females are kept out of society, imprisoned for their own sake for fear of rape jaunters. The world is a scarier place because of humankind’s new ability, and Bester captures the logical terrifying truth of superhuman abilities to be anywhere with a thought.

As with the best science-fiction, jaunting is only one of the technologies explored and serves as stimulating background to a revenge story. Ingeniously drawn and rich with science-fiction inspiration and a well-paced tale of revenge, escape, and exploration, Bester’s book is unnerving and richly rewarding.

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