Thommy Ford Reads

A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library

More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon

The second novel from the Library of America’s anthology American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s (SF American)

In the upcoming weeks I’ll be reviewing each of these nine novels. The books are available in our SF section, and further materials about them are available at the Library of America’s website.

More than Human is told from multiple viewpoints, makes wild and baffling leaps forward in it’s timeframe, and ultimately leaves the reader with more questions than answers. It’s sort of like The Sound and the Fury of Science Fiction.

In the opening section of the novel we are introduced to five characters living in isolation from one another, with seemingly unrelated stories except that each exhibits some strange or supernatural skill. There’s telepathic Lone, telekinetic Janie, the teleporting twins Bonnie and Beanie, and the newborn genius Baby. Their disparate narratives slowly start to fit together—a bit like a cosmic jigsaw puzzle revealing some new step in human evolution—when suddenly we jump ahead several years and are introduced to a whole new set of puzzle pieces.

It’s not nearly as frustrating a reading experience as that sounds. Theodore Sturgeon handles both the SF elements and the modernist narrative technique with great surety. There’s a fair amount of psychological insight, a deft handling of philosophical ideas and, most importantly, a compelling build up of suspense. The mood is sometimes dark, sometimes hopeful, but always nervy. You’ll definitely come away feeling like you haven’t encountered anything like it before. A must read for SF fans, and highly recommended as a gateway to genre fiction for fans of the modernist classics.

Review by Matthew

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This entry was posted on November 13, 2012 by in Book Review, Fiction, Science Fiction and tagged , , .
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