Friday, 20 March 2015

Gully Foyle and The Lord Weird Slough Feg (TIGER! TIGER!)

Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination, AKA Tiger! Tiger!, is one of the most important and criminally underappreciated sci-fi novels of the 20th century. An enduring inspiration for generations of SF luminaries to follow (including Joe Haldeman, Michael Moorcock and William Gibson), Tiger! Tiger! was a major precursor to the cyberpunk literary movement and continues to be influential to this day. 

Bester's novel is very cinematic, a well balanced blend of heady ideas, operatic grandeur and pulpy action, so it comes as no surprise that Hollywood has designs on it. However, like Haldeman's The Forever War and Gibson's Neuromancer, Tiger! Tiger! is a novel with great cinematic potential that has languished in development hell for decades.

That inexorable development now seems to have entered a new stage, with the announcement that Jordan Vogt-Roberts is the latest director attached to helm the adaptation. I'm clueless about Vogt-Roberts beyond the fact that he's known for his well-received coming-of-age drama, The Kings of Summer, and that he's in the director's chair for Legendary's upcoming Kong: Skull Island. He's an unknown quantity for me, but I'm just glad the suits aren't going with some meat-headed action director. So far, so good.

Anyway, regardless of The Stars My Destination's treatment at the hands of Hollywood, we'll always have Slough Feg's rousing power metal interpretation to enjoy. Their 2007 LP Hardworlder features a few songs based on Bester's novel, but this one, "Tiger! Tiger!", is essential listening. Space opera reimagined as stirring, anthemic NWOBHM. 

Artwork below stolen from Noah Pierce.

The spheres in motion wrapped around collapsing stars
Immortal hands and eyes are framed in fearful scars
The mystery of living, breathing, dying hard

My name and occupation tattooed on my face
The stars my destiny, deep space my dwelling place
Delirious and rotting, where's my saving grace

The stars burn bright
In the forest of night
But what mortal hands and eyes will I see there?

I'm locked behind bars
On the gateway to Mars
But when all the stars expire will I still be here?

I'll set the villages and colonies aflame
The bards of history had best forget my name
Deliriously plotting, Nomad is my fame

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