This week: Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination . . .

TITLE: The Stars My Destination

WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Gully Foyle is the last remaining survivor of the Nomad, a merchant spaceship attacked in an ongoing war in the solar system and left drifting in space. He blindly waits for over six months for a rescuer. Another vessel finally shows up, but instead of rescuing him, just passes by. Foyle’s fate seems sealed, but far from giving in, he discovers the ambition he had been lacking all his life, triggering a consuming rage in Foyle that transforms him. Vengeance becomes his mission.

SOURCE: A science fiction novel by Alfred Bester. Originally serialized in Galaxy magazine in four parts beginning in October 1956, published in book form in the UK as Tiger! Tiger!

WHO’S INVOLVED? Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura (Transformers, G.I. Joe), scriptwriter Daniel Pyne (Alcatraz, Manchurian Candidate).

LAST WE HEARD: In 2006 Universal Studios picked up the rights for the movie adaption and placed Di Bonaventura in charge of production. One year later asked by on the project’s progress, he answered:

“… it’s in development; the writer’s working on it right now. Its greatest challenge, I’ll say, is its ending; as phenomenal as it is in the book, it is completely un-cinematic and so that’s the thing that we’re going to struggle with for a long time, figuring out how to execute the emotional construct of that ending.

The ideas behind it… the expansiveness… there’s bold thinking that is impossible to figure out, I’ll say, on a construction level how to do it, how you do it emotionally, so we’re underway and… fingers crossed. I knew, when I got involved with that book, that the third act was always going to be, from a movie point of view, the most complicated and difficult thing, because the book doesn’t help you get there.”

Daniel Pyne, this aforementioned writer, on the other hand stated in the biography part of his homepage, ” … recently completed adapting the Alfred Bester sci-fi classic, The Stars My Destination (only to have it spiral into turnaround hell), and my first novel, Twentynine Palms, was published by Counterpoint Press eighteen months ago.”

So it seems that active development had stopped around the same time Pyne’s novel was published, which would be June 2010.

Mr. Di Bonaventura is still pretty busy producing movies but doesn’t have an entry for The Stars My Destination within the next two years, so Gully Foyle is once again lost in space, waiting at another movie opportunity to pass by.

WHY IT’D BE GREAT: It’s the proto-cyberpunk version of The Count of Monte Cristo, a classic revenge story now set in the 25th century, with teleportation thrown in as a bonus.

Gully Foyle is a flawed and driven anti-hero in a dark future ruled by mighty corporations and makes Snake Plisken look pale in comparison. The Stars My Destination has unique twists and visually strong and imaginative passages, which could look awesome on the big screen, if handled properly.

THE PROBLEM: No word from Di Bonaventura if he’s still attached or not, he might not be the right guy for a true adaption of the book anyway. He’s obviously great at producing action packed blockbuster stuff, but would probably sacrifice the complex and dense story for a handful of explosions easily. Perhaps we should consider ourselves lucky that Gully Foyle won’t have his revenge on the big screen anytime soon.

CHANCES OF GETTING MADE: Uncertain, but Gully Foyle is still out there.


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  • Stephen Sywak

    In the late 1990′s Paul W.S. “Event Horizon” Anderson had written a screenplay for this WONDERFUL book. I have a copy of that screenplay, and it is ABSOLUTE JUNK.

    If you’re read the book, all I have to say is: No teleporting until the very end, and /Resolved Love Interest/. What’s a matter, him?

  • Joshua

    Really could be a something of a phenomenon if made right. I imagine the same kind of style as Cloud Atlas. A long, detailed, well acted out film with beautiful visuals, loving characters and rightly portrayed ending.. I don’t understand why the book would need to be adapted to a “screenplay” in the sense of changing the ended etc… When reading the book, I imagine it could be on film, page for page. And it’d be great… For one, I wouldn’t mind a 3 hour minimum film adaptation, as long as they don’t chop and change it to make it “film worthy” in other words, short.. Maybe even 3 movies, one for each part of the book. If Peter Jackson did it with the hobbit, I’m sure you can with this wonderful story.



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