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More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon

More Than Human (1953)

by Theodore Sturgeon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,174422,985 (3.9)83
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    Triggers by Robert J. Sawyer (ShelfMonkey)
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    The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (alaskayo)
    alaskayo: Well, More Than Human is the sci-fi Sound+Fury, so get to it, fans!
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    A Small and Remarkable Life by Nick DiChario (ShelfMonkey)
    ShelfMonkey: DiChario is the only writer I've found who echoes Theodore Sturgeon will still remaining vigorous and fresh.
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» See also 83 mentions

English (39)  French (2)  Japanese (1)  All (42)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)

Theodore Sturgeon is one of SF’s greatest short fiction writers, and so it is apt that More Than Human stems from a novella, Baby Is Three. Sturgeon added a part before and a part after. Each part is quite distinct, 3 novellas if you will, but taken as a whole, they are yet another, different thing. Readers familiar with this book’s content will not find that surprising: More Than Human is roughly speaking about a mind-reading idiot, teleporting twin girls, a retarded baby with a supermind and a telekinetic girl, together forming something new: the “Homo Gestalt” – something more than human indeed.

I’ll make a few general remarks on content and writing first, and elaborate a bit about the philosophical foundations of this book in the second part of my review – Friedrich Nietzsche, oh yes!

Obviously, the fifties were a different time, and parapsychology and the likes still held great promise. I started my reviews of Childhood’s End and The Demolished Man in the same fashion. So yes, this is science fiction, even though it might read as psychic fantasy at times. Sturgeon even gives a kind of hard SF explanation for his premisses, should his reader have trouble with suspension of disbelief.

“It would lead to the addition of one more item to the Unified Field – what we now call psychic energy, or ‘psionics.'” “Matter, energy, space, time and psyche,” he breathed, awed. “Yup,” Janie said casually, “all the same thing (…).”

But I have no interesting in pointing out where More Than Human feels a bit dated, as it remains an outstanding novel. Approach this simply as you would approach a contemporary novel like Susanna Clarke’s: a supernatural tale.

The first part of the book focuses on the early life of the idiot, living in the woods, being one with nature. Certain parts felt like something Ralph Waldo Emerson or Henry Thoreau could have written. Imagine my delight when I read on Sturgeon’s Wikipedia page he was a distant relative of Emerson. Sturgeon’s prose is a delight. At times it has a bit of formal ring to it, but there’s great lines throughout.


Please continue reading this review on Weighing A Pig ( )
1 vote bormgans | Nov 1, 2016 |
This is, hands down, one of the best books I have ever read! The very end is a tad too philosophical for my taste, but the rest of the book is so amazing that it makes no difference. I can't put my finger on what makes this such a wonderful and special book. It's just…magical, somehow. Really fantastic!!!!!! ( )
1 vote ilovekittens | Mar 7, 2016 |
Explores the possibilities of human consciousness in the mind-bending concept of "blesh" (a combination of blend and mesh). By our outcasts we are transformed. ( )
1 vote dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Sturgeon's law: "ninety percent of everything is crap."
That's as may be but More Than Human is definitely in the 10% non-crap segment.

I love good short novels, more than good long ones (nobody likes bad novels at any length). The way I see it the reader gets so much more from each percentage of the book. For the amount of time put into reading the book it just seems more profitable to me. YMMV of course, long books have their own advantages.

I first read "More Than Human" decades ago, I clearly remember liking it very much. However, thanks to my sieve-like memory I have forgotten practically all the details about the book. I vaguely remembered (somewhat incorrectly) that it has something to do with a mutant with some kind of psychic abilities. I was close, but undeserving of a cigar. The book is basically about *homo-gestalt*, a sort of hive mind with each member performing the role of a body part in a super-body. It is about much more than that of course. The themes include the importance of morality (or ethics), accountability, and compassion.

Sturgeon's prose is poetic, his style is more akin to Ray Bradbury than Asimov. That said, the book is not at all hard to follow, except for a chapter where events kind of move backward, which I found a little puzzling but it is totally clarified later on.

What amazes me is why Theodore Sturgeon is not more popular or well known today, most of his books are out of print. A single paragraph from this book is worth more than the entire Twilight trilogy put together. ( )
2 vote apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
Classic sci-fi first published in 1953. A group of people with special powers combine to form a new evolutionary entity. Combine a baby who is a genius and can telepathically communicate answers to difficult questions, twins who teleport here and there and anywhere, the simpleton who can read and even control minds, the girl who can move objects telepathically, the guy who could run the world. They lack a conscience and without morality or ethics could wreak havoc. Find out if and how they get this moral compass, experiencing the consequences along the way. ( )
1 vote jwood652 | Oct 21, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Theodore Sturgeonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bacon, C.W.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ellison, HarlanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goodfellow, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pepper, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, Richard M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rudnicki, StefanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viskupic, GaryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To His Gestaltitude Nicholas Samstag
First words
The idiot lived in a black and gray world, punctuated by the white lightning of hunger and the flickering of fear.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
The Fabulous Idiot - Baby is Three - Morality
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375703713, Paperback)

First published in 1953, this most celebrated of Sturgeon's works won the International Fantasy Award.

In this genre-bending novel, among the first to have launched science fiction into literature, a group of remarkable social outcasts band together for survival and discover that their combined powers render them superhuman. There's Lone, the simpleton who can hear other people's thoughts; Janie, who moves things without touching them; and the teleporting twins, who can travel ten feet or ten miles. There's Baby, who invented an antigravity engine while still in the cradle, and Gerry, who has everything it takes to run the world except for a conscience. Separately, they are talented freaks. Together, they may represent the next step in evolution -- or the final chapter in the history of the human race. As they struggle to find whether they are meant to help humanity or destroy it, Sturgeon explores questions of power and morality, individuality and belonging, with suspense, pathos, and a lyricism rarely seen in science fiction.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:15 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Lone, Janie, Baby, and Gerry, each possessed of an unusual talent, discover that together they are superhuman and must decide whether to use their powers for good or evil.

» see all 3 descriptions

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