The Stars My Destination
Some random disconnected passing thoughts:
I have read that the original title was Tiger! Tiger! but was changed for some reason. The title possibly may have come from the first line of Blake's poem, "The Tiger."
|TIGER, tiger, burning bright|
|In the forests of the night,|
|What immortal hand or eye|
|Could frame thy fearful symmetry?|
I know many who prefer the original title, but I, of course, have the opposite view. The only title I knew for decades was The Stars My Destination, so it's become part of it for me. On the other hand, Tiger! Tiger! does fit Gully Foyle, for it is much more closely related to Gully and to the story line, because, if Gully is nothing else, he is a predator. And, then there's that tattoo.
I read and enjoyed the Prologue to TSMD for several reasons. One is that it provided information helpful to the story, and the second reason is its opening paragraph, which struck me as being somewhat familiar. I have reformatted it. Does anyone else think this is remotely familiar to something else?
"This was a golden age,
a time of high adventure,
rich living, and hard dying. . .
but nobody thought so.
This was a future
of fortune and theft,
pillage and rapine,
culture and vice. . .
but nobody admitted it.
This was an age
a fascinating century of freaks. . .
but nobody loved it."
This, however, is how it appeared in the book:
"This was a golden age, a time of high adventure, rich living, and hard dying. . . but nobody thought so. This was a future of fortune and theft, pillage and rapine, culture and vice. . . but nobody admitted it. This was an age of extremes, . . . a fascinating century of freaks. . . but nobody loved it."
And there's even an interesting short story buried there--the discovery of jaunting.
Pyre, a horrific weapon, becomes an important issue in the story, as there is a solar system-wide war going on at this time. Foyle knows the location of Pyre and therefore becomes a person of great interest to the Earth government. A pyre is also a funeral ritual, a traditional way of honoring a leader or important person in some societies. Is this weapon signifying the death of the present human civilization?
Another mythic element that seems relevant is the myth of the Phoenix, a long-lived bird that is the only one of its kind. Every thousand or more years the Phoenix in its nest bursts into flames and arises reborn out of the ashes. Foyle is trapped at the end when the Pyre is set off and as he attempts to escape, makes a discovery that transforms him into being able to jaunte at a new level. And humanity will be transformed from a species limited to the solar system to ultimately a galactic civilization. Both Gully and humanity, in one sense, are reborn.
It's a great story, one that rewards rereading, which I do every couple of years regularly. It's permanently in my TBR bookcase.