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More Than Human Paperback – December 29, 1998

4.4 out of 5 stars 133 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A quantum leap in the development of science fiction as an art. --Washington Post

A masterpiece of provocative storytelling. --New York Herald Tribune

The corpus of science fiction written by Theodore Sturgeon is the single most important body of science fiction written by an American to date. -- Samuel R. Delany

He (Sturgeon) brought things to science fiction that had never been there before: eloquence, passion, a love of life, and a fiery poetry that found its natural expression in prose. --Robert Silverberg --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Theodore Sturgeon (1918 1985) is considered one of the godfathers of contemporary science fiction and dark fantasy. The author of numerous acclaimed short stories and novels, among them the classics "More Than Human", " Venus Plus X", and "To Marry Medusa", Sturgeon also wrote for television and holds among his credits two episodes of the original 1960s "Star Trek" series, for which he created the Vulcan mating ritual and the expression Live long and prosper. He is also credited as the inspiration for Kurt Vonnegut s recurring fictional character Kilgore Trout.Sturgeon is the recipient of the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the International Fantasy Award. In 2000, he was posthumously honored with a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Books ed edition (December 29, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375703713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375703713
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
Theodore Sturgeon's More Than Human is, quite simply, one of the best and most original science fiction novels of all time; it is also one of the more neglected classics in the field. This magnificent example of literary science fiction belongs on the same shelf as Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land and Alfred Bester's first two novels. I was already a Sturgeon fan before reading More Than Human, but even I almost scoffed at comparisons of this novel with the work of William Faulkner (my literary hero). Much to my surprise, though, there is indeed a Faulknerian aspect to this novel. The narrative radiates traces of stream of consciousness and moves quietly back and forth in time from place to place as it approaches the essence of a philosophical revelation from multiple levels. For this reason, you will most likely either love or hate the book, for its greatest strength is very likely, to some readers, its greatest weakness.
More Than Human is such a unique novel that some individuals may not consider it science fiction at all; the science wrapped into these pages is of the most abstract and philosophical sort, centering on the question of the future evolution of the human race. The novel is broken up into three very distinct sections, each division marked by a shift in both emphasis and viewpoint. Initially, it can be a little difficult to get your bearings after one of these jumps, but all of the pieces of this giant puzzle come together in the end; I would qualify this by saying that the ultimate resolution happens in the reader's mind and is not necessarily spelled out by the author on the final page. The novel features some rather surprising plot twists along the way, and sometimes the reader may think Sturgeon has wandered far off the beaten track.
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Format: Paperback
Okay, how many science fiction novels from the 50's have REALLY stood the test of time? `More Than Human' is devoid of slimy aliens, ray-guns, faster than light travel, time machines, robots, or any of the other "stereotypes" non-sf people associate with 50's science fiction. Well, what DOES it have going for it? How about:
GREAT WRITING
Sturgeon was a thinker with a tremendous imagination. I caught myself grinning often at several of his lines, at how he avoided clichés and gave fresh ideas to simple scenes and concepts. In the first section, "The Idiot," I was reminded of the opening of Faulkner's `The Sound and the Fury.' (Yes, comparing Sturgeon to Faulkner is NOT a stretch!) The way Sturgeon gets inside Lone's head and lives there is amazing. Wonderful writing that still reads with freshness 50 years later.
GREAT IDEAS
Six misfit outcasts, each with a unique gift, form a new step in man's evolution, a gestalt of unbelievable power. I won't go into the social, political, and moral implications of such an idea (Read the book), but the concept by itself is interesting. What Sturgeon does with it is fascinating.
GREAT STORYTELLING
I have not researched Sturgeon very much, but from what I have gathered, he was somewhat of a rogue who loved to examine the dark side of the human psyche. This and his inability to be confined to a nice neat label come across in the writing to present a story that is exciting, awe-inspiring, and most important, honest.
If you've only read a few sf writers from the 50's (such as Asimov, Clarke, Bradbury, Bester, Simak, etc.), expand your horizons with Sturgeon. You won't be sorry.
233 pages
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Format: Paperback
Imagine the X-Men with superpowers confined to extrasensory gymnastics--no storm-summoning, no fire-throwing, and no metal claws--and you'll have an idea of the team that makes up the leading cast of this tale. (I note that other readers have seen the resemblance to the X-Men; the comparison is apt in many ways.)

We are first introduced to Lone, an intellectually incapacitated young man with the ability to hypnotize telepathically. After witnessing a murder and escaping death himself, he lives untamed in the forest, gathering other social outcasts who gravitate toward his cave. There's Janie, with a seemingly unlimited faculty for telekinesis; Bonnie and Beanie, two toddlers who have learned how to teleport themselves; and Baby, a mute whose body is stunted but whose brain is structured like computer. (Sturgeon's insistence on incorporating different races and both sexes as equal partners living together as a new evolutionary species was, in 1953, years ahead of its time.)

This history of this team--the newly evolved Gestalt species--is recounted in three extraordinarily different stories. Even the prose style varies: the opening section has the feel of a Gothic horror story combined with a Jack London tale; the middle is written entirely as teasing banter between a new member of the Gestalt squad and his shrink; and the final chapter could be a Depression-era tale by Steinbeck (or, more precisely, an episode of HBO's "Carnivale").

The book's shortcoming--and it's not insignificant--is Sturgeon's tendency to hammer home the import of his stories. Each of the three endings abandons subtleness and representation for bluntness and pontification; it sometimes seems that the author presents each resolution in the same manner he would reveal a mathematical proof.
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