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More Than Human Paperback – Dec 29 1998

4.8 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (Dec 29 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375703713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375703713
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.4 x 20.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #153,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

* #28 in in the Millennium SF Masterworks series, a library of the finest science fiction ever written* 'The corpus of science fiction written by Theodore Sturgeon is the single most important body of science fiction written by anAmerican to date' Samuel R. Delany* 'He 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* Winne --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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
I am a teenage writer and I just got finished reading this book. the whole time I was like, "This is SF?!" Astoundingly beautiful, compellling, awesome. Rivals the best fantasy ever written. This is the level of greatness that takes years upon years of hard work to reach, and still most never get this good. Heck, I'm just going to say it.
This is the best science fiction novel ever written. If you are a writer of fiction--whether it be fantasy, sci-fi, or general--you must read this.
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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:
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.
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.
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
Pros: parts 2 & 3 are brilliantly written with an interesting message, very diverse cast of characters

Cons: part 1 has several purposely obscure but important pieces of information, 1950s racial situations/terminology

This is the kind of book that makes me question my 'if I'm not enjoying it, stop reading it' policy. The book is split into 3 parts, and I actively disliked part 1 while finding parts 2 and 3 brilliant. Had this not been a review book, I would have stopped reading in part 1, which would have been a shame. Part 1 introduces the decently large cast of very diverse characters including a mentally handicapped man, a baby that won't grow, two black girls, etc. It does this by jumping from person to person, often giving descriptions via characters who see the world... differently. Lone, for example, is mentally challenged and only towards the end of the section does he develop speech and anything close to a 'normal' understanding of events. But his scenes are still written in an understandable way.

The author, however, purposefully obscured certain events in this part of the book making the reader guess what's going on. By the time you understand the situation, you have to go back and reevaluate what's happened. For example, there's a father who has secluded himself and his two daughters on a piece of land. It's easy to assume from things in the text that he's sexually abusing his oldest daughter. Or maybe he's just beating her to drive out her sexual awakening. Or maybe nothing abusive is happening at all besides the girls being locked up. Even after finishing the book I'm not sure which it was, though later events make me assume it's the second scenario.
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