Today on Kirkus Reviews Blog: The Nomadic Alfred Bester, Renaissance Man.

Last year, I picked up and read The Stars My Destination for the first time. It’s an astonishing book, one that I alternatively wish that I’d read it earlier, and that I’m glad that I read it now, with the capabilities to really get how important of a book it is. I’ve been waiting to get to Bester for a while now.

Over on the Kirkus Reviews Blog today: The Nomadic Alfred Bester, Renaissance Man.


Carrie Cuinn is a writer, editor, book historian, small press publisher, computer geek, & raconteur. In her spare time she reads, makes things, takes other things apart, and sometimes gets a new tattoo. Learn more at carriecuinn.com.

Some of the most read, and most loved, early science fiction novels are set in places where only the hero of the tale has a chance at a enviable life. Golden Age SF especially, with its focus on adventure stories and cold-war era morality plays, often describes bleak home worlds from which the main character has to escape to survive, or dystopian worlds from which escape is impossible. Though usually presented as the highest form of man, even the heroes have lives absorbed by trying to break free from an oppressive or rigidly controlled society. If the landscape doesn’t kill you, the locals probably will.

Here are five more examples of terrible vacation spots (continued from Part 1):

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The Eagle-Eyed Fred Kiesche informs us that the Library of America wesbite includes a look at their Summer-Fall 2012 catalog. There are noteworthy titles to be found, too:

Edited by Sidney Offit (May 2012)

  • Player Piano
  • The Sirens of Titan
  • Mother Night
  • Six stories

Edited by Gary K. Wolfe (October 2012)

Volume 1: 1953–1956

  • Frederick Pohl & C. M. Kornbluth, The Space Merchants
  • Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human
  • Leigh Brackett, The Long Tomorrow
  • Richard Matheson, The Shrinking Man

Volume 2: 1956–1958

  • Robert Heinlein, Double Star
  • Alfred Bester, The Stars My Destination
  • James Blish, A Case of Conscience
  • Algis Budrys, Who?
  • Fritz Leiber, Big Time

I don’t know about you, but my mouth is watering…