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Theodore Sturgeon "More Than Human"


There’s a problem with this new gestalt being: needs a conscience

Best covers gallery (click to enlarge):

Theodore Sturgeon
"More Than Human" (nv)

(exp. from "Baby is Three", "The Fabulous Idiot", "Morality")
© Galaxy, Oct 1952
novel : Ballantine Books, 1953
--novel : 1954 International Fantasy Award W
--book : 1956 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll /3 (tie)
--book : 1966 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll /19
--sf novel : 1998 Locus All-Time Poll /13
--novel : Retro Hugo runner-up
--/ fourth place sf novel
--/ style award

Review by M. Christian
A true, and very well deserved, science fiction classic, More Than Human is brilliantly original and, as with pretty much everything Theodore Sturgeon did, astoundingly well-written.

To detail what I mean by "brilliantly original," More Than Human is a series of novellas exploring the birth, and growth, of the next stage in human evolution. In the first novella we’re introduced to Lone, “the idiot” who is actually an incredible genius; Baby, whose mind functions like a computer; Bonnie and Beanie, who can teleport; and a young telekinetic girl named Janie. That’s great and all, but the brilliance and originality of Sturgeon’s masterpiece is that each of these people are not the single next step but all parts of one super-entity, a gestalt. There’s a problem with this new, emergent, being, however: it needs a conscience.

Sturgeon’s genius is throughout More than Human: the characters are engaging, never heavy-handed or simplistic; the science fiction elements are experiential and totally real-feeling, never embarrassingly melodramatic; and the story has a real impact because Sturgeon embraces a true understanding of humanity with all it’s glory as well as flaws, and so the book never feels cheap or lazy.

More Than Human is one of those books that should be read by everyone, science fiction fan or not: it’s a true work of art. Here is another review of this book.

And now, just for laughs... Here are a few quotes of what other famous figures think about being "More Than Human" :

"I always had a repulsive need to be something more than human." - David Bowie
"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe." - Albert Einstein
"Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the human heart can hold." - Zelda Fitzgerald

And this is what Theodore Sturgeon's work is all about. He has heart, and he's not afraid to use it.

Cover by Emsh: "Galaxy's Birthday Party"


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Anonymous lovescifi said...

This is one awesome scifi book ever written for me. I usually don't read but this book is by far the Best. Stergeon weaved a perfect story, and the characters seemed to come alive in his book. A definite recommendation for any reader!

4:35 AM  
Anonymous JRS said...

Sturgeon's MORE THAN HUMAN is also "More Than a Science Fiction". It's common to assume that writing in the field these days contains far better characterizations than work from the middle of the last century. I won't argue that, but simply point out that MORE THAN HUMAN is a superb job of characterization -- better than you will find in SF novels from the 1950s and novels written today.

Then there's the fact that Sturgeon was one of the most lyrical and evocative SF writers to ever play a keyboard. Ray Bradbury gets all the kudos for being the poet laureate of science fiction and that's fine -- but Theodore Sturgeon is often over-looked as the first truly lyrical genius in the field. His prose is smooth as glass and kicks like the finest brandy. He did with words what Hannes Bok did with paint. Later you had writers like Samuel R. Delaney and Cordwainer Smith come along to do the same kind of brilliant writing, but Sturgeon blazed the path for them.

While I agree that MORE THAN HUMAN is his finest work, virtually everything else he ever wrote is of a similar caliber -- even his short stories. You just can't go wrong picking up any read by Theodore Sturgeon.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Great comment JRS, Thank you

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Barbie said...

More than human is awesome! I love this book!

2:33 AM  
Anonymous sachin said...

A magnificent work by Theodore stugeon. More than Human is an epic science fiction novel.All the characters are up to the mark! I recommend This to every one.

11:34 PM  

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