by Alfred Bester
Here is yet another book on the long list of, “I haven’t heard of this one before.” I knew nothing about the author either. And I like the idea of coming in cold to these stories. I think that I can come in with a clean slate and not have any preconceived notions about how the story is going to be. With that said let’s take a look at this story.
What became readily apparent as I went through this story is that it felt like an old serial from the 50’s, and I found out later that the book was written in 1957. And to accentuate this point I found out that it began as a four part story in a sci-fi magazine. This is sci-fi pulp fiction to the hilt. And it begins with the classic seeds for a story, revenge. Gully Foyle is our protagonist and is set on one thing, to make those responsible pay for leaving him to die in space.
I have to say that one of the most interesting things in the book is the transformation of Gully throughout the book. In the very beginning he is pretty much at the end of the road. He’s not very smart or thoughtful. And by the end of the book he is educated and cunning and is able to do things that many cannot. And this transformation really pushes the story forward and enables Foyle to battle those responsible.
The other main contributing factor to this story is what is referred to jaunting. Jaunting is the ability to teleport yourself to different places. It has a limited distance and requires you to have been in that place before. This ability drastically changes the landscape of society. The book goes into detail about this very early on. And by the end of the book even that ability is transformed.
I won’t spoil the end of the book for you but I have to say that it’s very satisfying. Throughout the story I was trying to figure out if I was enjoying this story or not. And when it got closer to the end I began to enjoy it more and more. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys the pulp side of things. It hits those notes so well.