Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Genre Character of the Week: Gully Foyle

Sometimes the characters that interest me are those that have such an incredible focus that I can’t help but stare in awe and wonder at what they are doing, Edmond Dantes and Jim Profit both come to mind, but I’ve got to say in all my readings of genre fiction, I have never come across a character quite like the protagonist of Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination, Gulliver Foyle.

Gully starts out as a man adrift, before the events of the novel begin, he is described as a nobody – Education: None, Skills: None, Merits: None, Recommendations: None. But then when his ship the Nomad, is attacked and he lasts as the sole survivor for 170 days afloat in deep space something begins to change. First of all, another ship arrives and he may be rescued, but then for reasons unknown to him the rescue ship simply leaves, marooning him to certain death. Suddenly given a direction in life, Gully begins to change, and the change is spectacular.

Like Jim Profit, Gully is not a nice person – through the course of the book he commits any number of terrible crimes. But his simple drive, to get revenge on those who left him for dead on the Nomad, just keeps me turning the pages.

I suppose at some point I should actually list my top ten Horror, SF and Fantasy novels on my blog – it’s tricky though as there is so much good stuff out there.

One thing I can say for sure however is that The Stars My Destination has been on my top ten list ever since I first read it, and a huge part of that comes down to the character of Gully Foyle.

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