A Saucer of Loneliness: Volume VII: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon Hardcover – Oct 10 2000
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"Historically, the Complete Sturgeon is one of the most important reissues in years. In terms of reading, this is a goldmine both for those already familiar with Sturgeon's work and for a new generation of readers ready for something real."—Strange Worlds Magazine"Theodore Sturgeon has become a kind of patron saint of SF short story writers. His fiction demonstrated a love of humanity and an understanding of human emotion unparalleled in the field. At the time of his death in 1985, no short story writer was held in so high a regard."—David Brin, author of Heaven's Reach
About the Author
Theodore Sturgeon was born on February 26, 1918 in Staten Island, New York. He died in Eugene, Oregon, on May 8, 1985. A resident of New York City, upstate New York, and Los Angeles, he is the author of more than thirty novels and short story collections.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Simply: Sturgeon is one of the most provocative, innovative and beautiful writers in the English language and the title story of this volume alone is worth the price of the book. But once you're beyond one of the arguably greatest stories of the last 51 years, you'll find that Sturgeon has many more wonders in every volume of this series. For example, "Mr Cosell, Hero" is the most thorough demolition of the 1950's Red Scare (and it is set in outer space!). "The Clinic" predates classics like Flowers for Algernon, and gives us an alien perspective to boot.
Sturgeon's writing, as noted in many places, is about love as much as it is about anything. With each new volume, he inspires his readers to share that feeling. You may not end up with the full shelf of his work, but "A Saucer of Loneliness" is one you'll certainly want, need, desire and lust after.
The rest of the book is still amazing. The second story has an interesting idea, but sloppy execution. The following, "The World Well Lost," literally made me fall out of my chair laughing, and includes the RS drive, which might be the most creative invention I've seen in years. Much farther on, with "The Clinic," you see the same type of emotional depth as you did in "Saucer," presented almost as well. Any one of those stories alone is worth the price of the novel.
For continuing fun after you've read it two or three times, I occasionally repeat parts of the "Koala" conversation out of "Wages of Synergy" without context. It makes my day to break up a serious revelation with "Koala..." "What does that mean?" "It means a great deal..."
In some ways its even more emotionally compelling than "Baby is Three" while existing is about a third of the space, telling the story of a woman who is visited by a flying saucer and given a message that she won't tell anyone, despite everyone insisting she spill. The resolution of it is a thing of beauty, an expression of ache that is universal and intensely personal as well, with the hope that by expressing that ache we can bring ourselves to terms with it and perhaps understand each other better. It takes what could be a silly concept and makes it a punch in the gut. There are few other stories like it.
While that would seem to suggest that it's all downhill after the first fifteen pages, Sturgeon at this point was moving from strength to strength and quite a few of the stories display his varied strengths as a writer, almost like he was in a "try anything" mode. So you can get lyrical expressions of the perils of hubris ("The Touch of Your Hand" which starts out sounding like its going to go for Silverberg's "Tower of Glass" territory before it heads somewhere utterly different), poignant expressions of homosexuality in a genre that had rarely addressed the subject, at a time in the country's history where people pretended it wasn't a normal thing ("The World Well Lost"), a rather epic exploration of the evolution of the fight between good and evil ("And My Fear is Great", which dips back into the thematic territory of merged love that marked the last collection), mysteries that exist in the grey space between SF and horror ("The Wages of Synergy" and "The Dark Room" . . . both of which seem to be excuses for Sturgeon to get his characters together to chat from different angles about stuff he was interested in), a fairly dark horror tale ("A Way of Thinking" . . . which I think has the best ending in the collection, not one that gave me warm fuzzy feelings mind you but the one that made me stop for a second and think about what I just read and really let it sink in), a fantasy tale involving a unicorn ("The Silken-Swift", which Sturgeon seemed to like quite a bit himself, for me it trips along a bit too gushingly until you get to the ending, which is quite decent), and one of my favorites in the collection, "The Clinic", which makes a very good stab at writing a story from an alien's point of view with a fair amount of his trademark compassion, reminding you that sometimes people are crippled in ways you can't see or understand. And that's not even going into "The Education of Drusilla Strange", which furthers his themes of loneliness and isolation and overcoming both those fears through both letting go and finding love.
But just as the collection begins with the most famous tale, it leaves the hardest hitting for near the end. "Mr Costello, Hero" is not about about Declan McManus' adventures as a lifeguard but a somewhat veiled dissection of the dangers of Cold War era McCarthyism, with the titular fellow charmingly convincing everyone to go against everyone else. Told from the perspective of someone who is a bit thick, its a chilling portrayal of everyone letting themselves getting manipulated into doing acts that go against their natures, that they're not even sure they want to do but since they've been told its reasonable and makes sense, why not? After all, everyone wants to fit in and Mr Costello really seems to know what he's talking about. It also has about the least hopeful happy ending of any of the stories, with the final line suggesting that good can prevail, but it sure may not learn its lesson in the process. As both story and satire, its fantastic and less blunt than a similar storyline with "Simple J Malarkey" from Walt Kelly's "Pogo" strip (although the sense of menace in the latter was slightly more effective for being so left-field).
Most collections of short stories cherry pick the writer's best works to give you the very peak of what they can do but when you consider that this is all the stories he wrote in a twelve month period, the quality is staggering. Some may be more minor than others but there's not a bad one in the bunch and the fact that many of these, as good as they are, wouldn't even make a Top Ten Best Of list for him only proves why they even bothered to publish a thirteen volume series of his stories. Simply put, he was that good.