Best Adventures of 1956 (3)

By: Joshua Glenn
July 30, 2016

One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1956 adventure novels. Happy 60th anniversary!



Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination (also published as Tiger! Tiger!, serialized 1956; in book form, 1957).

If Heinlein’s Double Star, also published in 1956, is The Prisoner of Zenda in space, then The Stars My Destination is a proto-psychedelic sci-fi version of The Count of Monte Cristo. In the 25th century, personal teleportation — known as “jaunting” — has thrown the solar system’s social and economic order into chaos. During a war between the inner planets and the outer satellites, the Nomad, a merchant spaceship, is destroyed; the only survivor, a directionless loser named Gully Foyle, is cast adrift. He repairs the Nomad, and returns to Terra, though not before he’s captured by a cargo cult who tattoos his face with a tiger mask. He embarks on a life of violent crime, eventually transforming himself into the elegant Geoffrey Fourmyle — all the while seeking revenge on the captain of another merchant ship, the Vorga, who’d ignored his distress signal when he was marooned. Meanwhile, we learn that the Nomad had been carrying “PyrE”, a telepathy-triggered explosive that could mean the end of humanity.

Fun fact: Originally serialized in Galaxy magazine, Bester’s novel — with its dark vision of powerful megacorporations, and the cybernetic enhancement of the body — is a precursor of cyberpunk.


Let me know if I’ve missed any 1956 adventures that you particularly admire.