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by Alfred Bester
Copyright 1956 by Alfred Bester
Copyright renewed 1984 by Alfred Bester
Special restored text of this edition copyright
1996 by the Estate of Alfred Bester
Introduction copyright 1996 by Neil Gaiman
Special calligraphy and ideographs in Chapter 15
created by Jack Gaughan.

To Truman M. Talley

Suddenly Presteign began speaking in a low monotone. "PyrE is a pyrophoric alloy. A pyrophore is a metal which emits sparks when scraped or struck. PyrE emits energy, which is why E, the energy symbol, was added to the prefix Pyr. PyrE is a solid solution of transplutonian isotopes, releasing thermonuclear energy on the order of stellar Phoenix action. Its discoverer was of the opinion that he had produced the equivalent of the primordial protomatter which exploded into the Universe."

"My God!" Jisbella exclaimed.

Dagenham silenced her with a gesture and bent over Presteign. "How is it brought to critical mass, Presteign? How is the energy released?"

"As the original energy was generated in the beginning of time," Presteign droned. "Through Will and Idea."

"I'm convinced he's a Cellar Christian," Dagenham muttered to Y'ang-Yeovil. He raised his voice. "Will you explain, Presteign?"

"Through Will and Idea," Presteign repeated. "PyrE can only be exploded by psychokinesis. Its energy can only be released by thought. It must be willed to explode and the thought directed at it. That is the only way."

"There's no key? No formula?"

"No. Only Will and Idea are necessary." The glazed eyes closed.

"God in heaven!" Dagenham mopped his brow. "Will this give the Outer Satellites pause, Yeovil?"

"It'll give us all pause."

"It's the road to hell," Jisbella said.

-- "The Stars My Destination," by Alfred Bester

Lorenzo's Parting Thoughts, by Charles Carreon

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Of Time, and Gully Foyle, by Neil Gaiman