Monday, 16 May 2011

More than Human by Theodore Sturgeon



More than Human by Theodore Sturgeon is an innovative and bizarre piece of science fiction from the 1960's that takes on a similar narrative structure to William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury; that is, the story is often dense, focusing on intermittent character perspectives that is perplexing because of psychological displacement. For instance, Lone is a man-child and bears an uncanny resemblance to Benjy Compton by possessing an unstable inner consciousness. Far from an easy read, it is difficult to fully grasp all of the subtle complexities but this one of those literary works that is bound to be more satisfying on subsequent readings. Sturgeon layers a plethora of ideas and subtext that can be easily overlooked.

The novel is often full of sadness, despair, loneliness and is at times very twisted but somehow Sturgeon is able to convey such passion and beauty with his writing. The story about a group of freaks and outcasts who are brought together by destiny to introduce humanity to the next stage of evolution could easily have fallen into camp. However, despite their flawed personalities, Sturgeon manages to create empathetic characters through intimately portraying the inner consciousness of these unique individuals. The formation of the human gestalt is a fascinating concept that Sturgeon explores in such a creative way as the group begins to come together and realize their potential.
 
The question, "What does it mean to be Human?" comes up often in Science-Fiction but Sturgeon takes this concept to a whole new level. He seems to suggest that human beings are an evolutionary dead end even though consciousness sets us apart from other species. The human gestalt as the next step in human evolution carries both dystopian and utopian possibilities depending on one's perspective. I'm still trying to wrack my brain over this novel but suffice it to say, it was certainly unlike anything I have ever read before and look forward to reading it again.


Read from April 06 to 07, 2011

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