This is the final of Chapter Three of The Last War in Albion, covering Alan Moore’s work for Sounds Magazine (Roscoe Moscow and The Stars My Degradation) and his comic strip Maxwell the Magic Cat. An omnibus of the entire chapter, sans images, is available in ebook form from Amazon, Amazon UK, and Smashwords. It is equivalently priced at all stores because Amazon turns out to have rules about selling things cheaper anywhere but there, so I had to give in and just price it at $2.99. Sorry about that. In any case, your support of this project helps make it possible, so if you are enjoying it, please consider buying a copy. You may also enjoy my newly released history of Wonder Woman, A Golden Thread. Chapter Four will begin next week.
PREVIOUSLY IN THE LAST WAR IN ALBION: Alan Moore’s first strip for Sounds, Roscoe Moscow, ended after a little more than a year, and was replaced with The Stars My Degradation, a science fiction parody strip…
“The Stars My Destination is, after all, the perfect cyberpunk novel: it contains such cheerfully protocyber elements as multinational corporate intrigue; a dangerous, mysterious, hyperscientific McGuffin (PyrE); an amoral hero; a supercool thief-woman…” – Neil Gaiman
To continue to come up with inventive page layouts and subversive cat gags week in and week out is one thing. To labour excessively on a reasonably humorous sci-fi parody strip in order to cover up inadequate artistic skills is another.
|Figure 130: The Stars My Destination was|
first serialized in four issues of Galaxy in 1956
In this regard there’s something strangely apropos in Moore’s choice of parody subjects in The Stars My Degradation. The title – indeed the entire opening rhyme – is a parody of Alfred Bester’s 1956 novel The Stars My Destination, originally titled Tiger! Tiger!. Bester is very much a science fiction fan’s science fiction writer – one who enjoys rather more renown within science fiction fandom than without. To name The Stars My Destination as one’s favorite science fiction novel is not in the least bit controversial – it’s widely and repeatedly cited as one of the best. But it is not a particularly famous book outside of science fiction circles. Unlike writers such as Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clarke, whose work became influential and widely known outside the sci-fi community, Bester remains at once obscure but terribly well-respected: Samuel Delany, William Gibson, and Michael Moorcock have all identified it as their favorite science fiction novel.
|Figure 131: Gully Foyle is my name|
Terra is my nation
Deep space is my dwelling place
The stars my destination
(Howard Chaykin, 1979)
On one level, The Stars My Destination is a fairly straightforward pulp-style novel. It was serialized over four issues of Galaxy, and features the sort of episodic content familiar to such material. What elevates it is the character arc of its protagonist, Gully Foyle.