An online version of Graham Sleight’s “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” from the June 2006 issue of Locus has been posted online. Sleight looks at two classic novels by Alfred Bester: The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination.
I recently read The Stars My Destination. This, my friends, is the differene difference between a professional review and an amateur review. (That and running a spell check.)
There are books you admire and books you love. Ulysses is easy to admire; Pride and Prejudice is easy to love. I think that when you love a book, it’s almost always because of voice, because you want to know the person telling you the story. These two novels by Bester are both admired and loved in the SF field, I think rightly. Re-reading them as an adult is, inevitably, not the same as when you first encounter them (as almost everyone seems to have) at the age of 14. But Bester’s ceaseless tug of story remains unstoppable, a force of nature; and unlike with many books, you can see that he had reasons to write these two. They weren’t just stopping-posts or contractual obligations partway through a career. You sense, more than anything, how thrilling it would have been to know the man who wrote them at the time he wrote them. Streamers and confetti burst from him, still.