Celebrating Theodore Sturgeon’s centenary – so should we all

Celebrating Theodore Sturgeon’s centenary – so should we all
02 Aug

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.



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