In “A Saucer of Loneliness,” for example, those spinning silver discs in the night sky aren’t actually invading aliens from outer space, but simply errant, message-in-a-bottle-like expressions of someone’s impossibly distant desire to communicate … with someone. In “Extrapolation,” the super-genius inventor, Wolf Reger, only pretends to betray the Earth in order to save it — but not by affirming his belief in the human race (like many of Sturgeon’s genius-protagonists, Reger loathes people) but because he can’t imagine any future without his wife in it. And in “Bright Segment” — for my money, one of the few great American stories worth preserving in a spaceship after our stupid planet blows itself to bits — a lonely, autistic man finds a woman lying on the street sliced up with a razor; he then carries her home and puts her back together with common, everyday objects — sponges, needles, pliers, tweezers, needles and thread, adhesive tape and an alcohol torch. “I fix everything,” the man repeats, over and over; it’s the only way he can find sanity in a world without much sanity in it already. Until, like many Sturgeon characters, he eventually learns that fixing people (rather than things) isn’t a purely mechanical business.