"review" · fiction · Lit · recommend · sci-fi/fantasy · wondermous


Another from the archives of “The Coloring Book” blog.

We are close to done packing the house and more importantly the daughter will be home very soon. I really miss her company.

I finished Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie last night–the ending had me chuckling. And this morning I inhaled Hope Larson’s graphic novel Mercury. I was reading it at the breakfast table and my father-in-law was teasing me about reading comic books. And then he wondered at its potential deficiency when he noticed there was hardly any text. I had to read the pictures. Don’t panic! Larson draws legible art.

I was going to post my ramblings response to Christopher Nolan’s Inception today but I went off on a rabbit trail and neglected my skeletal notes on the actors and characters. When I looked at the clock after surfacing from the rabbit hole, it was late. Maybe tomorrow.

Today is a day from August 26, 2009. I wish I had the book out instead of packed away so that I could have pulled some direct quotes from the text. Alfred Bester is a wonderful sculptor of story and you should at least have a taste this particular novel.


The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
(includes an intro. by Neil Gaiman)
Vintage Books Edition, July 1996.
Original copyright, 1956.
(258 pages)

Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination is one of Sean’s favorite books. He is known to occasionally  intone the story’s quaint “nursery jingle:”

Gully Foyle is my name
And Terra is my nation.
Deep space is my dwelling place
And death’s my destination.

As it wasn’t a massive tome (as many of his book interests can be) I was convinced to read it. I am so glad I did.

It is science-fiction of the best sort. For critics of sci-fi: it is also just brilliant fiction.

The protagonist Gulliver “Gully” Foyle is horrendous, and excellently drawn. He is hideous inside and out, and he’s an incredible creation.  At first some of the intrigue had me floating away, but it really pulls together and the situations the story and the characters find themselves in are interesting, well-described, and sometimes (ofttimes) downright disturbing. The ending had 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s soundtrack running through my brain, but it was an ideal ending. The last lines: resonate, breathless, simultaneously sating and yet ravenous-for-a-little-more.

This is where I am a geek: I love that Bester uses ellipses in the middle of his first three sentences, and then sporadically/mid-sentence throughout the first chapter. I love it when famous authors do things I would get marked down for in a paper at University. [Though since this post I have had a few professors who would accept “alternative” punctuating if seemed to enhance, have purpose, or could be well-argued. Bless those 300-level+, non-Grad-Assisted courses.]

So, I know I tend to blurb about juvenile books. This is not a juvenile lit. This is for big kids, YA and up.

The Stars My Destination was Sean’s answer to a posed question of: What book would you like to be made into a movie? How would you cast and what director were the trickier questions. I’m not sure yet what my pick would be. Or whether live-action, cg, or animated would be the way to go. [Still not sure.]

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