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Engineer Al's Sci-Fi Library: Theodore Sturgeon

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09 Feb 2015 21:58 #197243 by engineer Al

Engineer Al shares his love of sci-fi literature.

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09 Feb 2015 23:34 #197244 by RobertB
I remember reading "Microcosmic God" and "Occam's Scalpel" back when I was in junior high (middle school, now). Good stuff. I think I've read some of his other stuff, but none of it has stuck.

If for nothing else, he should be remembered for Sturgeon's Law. To show that he wasn't immune to his own law, he got to novelize the movie _The Rare Breed_. Movies don't get much dumber than _The Rare Breed_.

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10 Feb 2015 00:09 #197246 by engineer Al
Sturgeon's Law: "Ninety percent of [science fiction] is crud, but then, ninety percent of everything is crud."

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10 Feb 2015 08:08 #197252 by Josh Look
The only thing I've read by Theodore Sturgeon is his entry in Harlan Ellison's DANGEROUS VISIONS, a story called "If All Men Are Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?" I'll add MORE THAN HUMAN to my list.

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10 Feb 2015 09:56 #197267 by iguanaDitty
I love More than Human!! Still haven't read anything like it attempting to explore what the next steps of human evolution would be. There's a cute short story by Heinlein maybe? but that's about it. Know any others in this sub-genre?

I look forward to hearing about your further exploration of Sturgeon - I never did read anything else by him.

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10 Feb 2015 10:21 #197271 by RobertB
@iguanaDitty: Greg Bear's Darwin'd Radio and Darwin's Children are about the next steps in human evolution. They're worth reading.
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10 Feb 2015 11:11 #197281 by Shellhead
I was too young when I read More Than Human, so some of it went over my head. Never got around to trying it again, or any other stories by Sturgeon. I was sometimes intimidated by the classic science fiction writers because they took the science seriously and the characters often seemed dry.

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10 Feb 2015 11:22 #197285 by Chapel
I've only read Cosmic Rape and after that I haven't picked up any of his other works. His material is what I consider in the "New Age" science fiction. During that time when Heinlein went all weird and sexual. The hippy era was a strange mind expanding time for SciFI writers. Not a huge fan of the "weird", mostly liking hard SciFi from the decades earlier. But an interesting read none the less.

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10 Feb 2015 14:38 #197326 by Michael Barnes
More Than Human is one of the best science fiction novels ever written...man, what a great book that is. I've only read a smattering of his other stuff (most notably "To Marry Medusa", an abridged version of "The Cosmic Rape".

This is much more my kind of science fiction...I like the "new age" stuff that Chappie doesn't. SciFi is at its best when it is about sex and drugs AS WELL AS robots and spaceships. I'm more into PKD, Disch, Delaney, that kind of stuff. Sturgeon is line with those sorts of writers, IMO.

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11 Feb 2015 16:45 #197451 by engineer Al
@michael I also love Delany. I will probably write about him soon. I do think that some of his stuff is just the best ever. However his early work is blatantly immature and his later work preposterously pretentious.

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11 Feb 2015 19:00 #197463 by Michael Barnes
Looking forward to it...also to "Dhalgren: The Board Game".

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11 Feb 2015 20:00 #197468 by engineer Al

Michael Barnes wrote: "Dhalgren: The Board Game".


Already working on it for my next Kickstarter. So far it takes eight hours to play and nothing happens.
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12 Feb 2015 21:28 - 13 Feb 2015 00:14 #197615 by Frohike
More Than Human was one of the most stunning pieces of science fiction I've read, alongside The Stars My Destination (Bester). Also a huge fan of Samuel R Delany, especially his Einstein Intersection era stuff and his autobiography The Motion of Light in Water. I never could get into his Neveryon stuff as deeply because it often bled into theory and criticism, which was an interesting experiment unto itself but turned my reading into something else, more academic.

Speaking of literary SF writers, I'm curious about what you think of Gene Wolfe's novels/stories.
Last edit: 13 Feb 2015 00:14 by Frohike.

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13 Feb 2015 23:12 - 13 Feb 2015 23:13 #197699 by engineer Al

Frohike wrote: More Than Human was one of the most stunning pieces of science fiction I've read, alongside The Stars My Destination (Bester). Also a huge fan of Samuel R Delany, especially his Einstein Intersection era stuff and his autobiography The Motion of Light in Water. I never could get into his Neveryon stuff as deeply because it often bled into theory and criticism, which was an interesting experiment unto itself but turned my reading into something else, more academic.

Speaking of literary SF writers, I'm curious about what you think of Gene Wolfe's novels/stories.


I must say that I agree with every single word written here.

As for Wolfe, well, I guess I have to admit that I have never read any of THE BOOK OF THE NEW SUN. Some years ago I came across THE KNIGHT in a used book shop and picked it up because I had been wanting to try out something by Wolfe. I loved it and immediately ordered it's sequel THE WIZARD from Amazon. THE WIZARD is one of the very few books I ever gave up on without finishing. It just seemed that he was trying too hard. I wasn't impressed and I wasn't having fun. So I put it down.

Someday I will pick up BOOK OF THE NEW SUN. I have all of it in my library. . .
Last edit: 13 Feb 2015 23:13 by engineer Al.

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15 Feb 2015 02:38 #197715 by Frohike

engineer Al wrote:
As for Wolfe, well, I guess I have to admit that I have never read any of THE BOOK OF THE NEW SUN. Some years ago I came across THE KNIGHT in a used book shop and picked it up because I had been wanting to try out something by Wolfe. I loved it and immediately ordered it's sequel THE WIZARD from Amazon. THE WIZARD is one of the very few books I ever gave up on without finishing. It just seemed that he was trying too hard. I wasn't impressed and I wasn't having fun. So I put it down.

Someday I will pick up BOOK OF THE NEW SUN. I have all of it in my library. . .


The Wizard Knight was a very weird exercise in mashing up Wolfe's unreliable narrator conceit with a YA fantasy novel. In my opinion, it didn't work all that well. Maybe try a short story as a palate cleanser before diving in to the Book of the New Sun. I would recommend The Death of Doctor Island. If you're up for a triptych of interrelated stories that require some sleuthing (again, unreliable/unauthoritative narrator, etc), check out The Fifth Head of Cerberus.

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