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Theodore Sturgeon

Theodore Sturgeon (February 26, 1918 - May 8, 1985) was an American science fiction author. He was born Edward Hamilton Waldo at Staten Island, New York. In 1929, after a divorce, his mother remarried William Sturgeon, and Edward changed his name to Theodore the better to match his nickname, "Ted". He was first published in 1939 and at first he wrote mainly short stories, primarily for the SF magazines, such as Astounding and Unknown, but also for general-interest publications such as Argosy. He is known to have used the pen name "E. Waldo Hunter" when two of his stories ran in the same issue of Astounding. He once ghosted an Ellery Queen novel, The Player on the Other Side (Random House, 1963).

His story Slow Sculpture won a Hugo, a Nebula and a Locus Poll Award in 1971.

Sturgeon's Law is derived from the quote of his - "Sure, 90% of science fiction is crud. That's because 90% of everything is crud".

Many of Sturgeon's works have a poetic, even an elegiac, quality. He was known to use a technique known as "rhythmic prose", in which his prose text would drop into a standard meter. This has the effect of creating a subtle shift in mood, usually without alerting the reader to its cause.

His novels include:

  • The Dreaming Jewels or The Synthetic Man (1950)
  • More Than Human (1953, actually three linked novellas)
  • The King and Four Queens (1956)
  • I, Libertine (1956, as "Frederick R. Ewing")
  • The Cosmic Rape (1958)
  • Venus Plus X (1960)
  • Some of Your Blood (1961)
  • The Rare Breed (1966)
  • Godbody (1986)

He was better known for his short stories. A sampling of Sturgeon short stories and novellas follows:

  • "Ether Breather" (September, 1939, his first published science-fiction story)
  • "Derm Fool" (March, 1940)
  • "Killdozer (November, 1944)
  • "Bianca's Hands" (May, 1947)
  • "Minority Report'" (June, 1949, no apparent connection to the 2002 movie)
  • "The World Well Lost" (June, 1953)
  • "Need" (1960)
  • "How to Forget Baseball" (December, 1964, originally appeared in Sports Illustrated)
  • "The Nail and the Oracle" (October, 1964, originally appeared in Playboy)

North Atlantic Books is releasing a ten-volume collection of Sturgeon's short fiction. Volumes 1 through 8 are available at this writing.

He wrote the screenplays for the Star Trek episodes 'Shore Leave' (1966) and 'Amok Time' (1967, later published in book form in 1978). The latter is known for Sturgeon's invention of the Ponn Farr[?], the Vulcan mating ritual. Sturgeon also wrote several episodes of Star Trek which were never produced. One of these was notable for having first introduced the Prime Directive.

Although Sturgeon wrote is well known among readers of classic science-fiction anthologies (at the height of his popularity in the 1950s he was the most anthologized author alive), perhaps his most notable acheivement is that he was listed as a primary influence of the much more famous Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. It is said that Vonnegut's character Kilgore Trout was based on Theodore Sturgeon.

External Links:

bibliography (http://www.sfsite.com/isfdb-bin/exact_author.cgi?Theodore_Sturgeon)

an informative fan site (http://glinda.lrsm.upenn.edu/~weeks/misc/sturgeon)

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