Friday, October 22, 2010

Beyond By Theodore Sturgeon

Tilted Kilt in the background makes the photo
“Ted Sturgeon has created a brand of science fiction all his own—a lifetime work of unique emotional power, beauty, and wonder.
Nobody else could have written these stories:

Need – A man burdened with the talent to see what those around him really wanted.
Nightmare Island – The hideous creatures he saw weren't vision of delirium... But his dearest friends.
Largo – Music has charms... and curses.
The Bones – The dead can't speak—but there are things they can show you.

This collection, including the famous "Abreaction" and "Like Young", shows Sturgeon at the peak of his mastery of mind—and heart-expanding storytelling.” –The Back Cover

Copyright 1960, this is a 1980 print. Six stories at 187 pages. $1.95 cover price.

 Having vowed to give Sturgeon another shot, it was a pretty easy decision to pick up this collection of short stories based solely on the “floating skull with headphones” cover. I did enjoy Beyond more than The Dreaming Jewels, but could not shake the “poor man's Ray Bradbury” label I had given Sturgeon in the past.

The stories here are creative, but often lack any serious punch or “emotional power” as the back cover described. The opening story “Need” is the worst of the bunch, with bland characters and a mediocre plot device: a man with the extrasensory ability to sense other's strongest desires. “Nightmare Island” is a vast improvement: a washed up sailor going through delirium tremens while stranded on an island with giant telepathic worms was at least a bit different, if meandering at times. “The Bones” is also pretty cool, but so horror-lite that it ended up being forgettable in the end. I don't even want to get into detail with “Largo”, as music-oriented stories in Sci-Fi and Fantasy are often cringe worthy to say the least. I skimmed that one, I admit. 

Beyond ended up being worth the $2.50 admission fee for its cover alone, and the two good stories in the bunch showed me a little of why Sturgeon is considered one of the “underrated greats,” but the package was weak as a whole and did little to assuage my doubts about Sturgeon's work.

Anyone have any recommendations that will change my opinions of Theodore Sturgeon, some hidden gem that I have yet to stumble upon? I have heard good things about More Than Human, but I am still skeptical.

No comments:

Post a Comment