More Than Human

Posted by : atcampbell | On : November 17, 2009

More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon

Twelve people gathered at A.T.’s home to discuss More than Human, the classic Sturgeon novel. All of us had read Sturgeon before. We all started and finished this book.  The story is rather hard to describe without spoilers, but it’s a science fiction novel that many find mind-blowing.

One reader commented that this is a landmark book. It was an innovative superman story for its time, and a good treatment of posthumans and transhumans.  Another loved the depiction of a gestalt as a union of thoughts. We liked its examination of “what is a person?” and “what is consciousness?”

This book had an interesting mix of sf elements. We all liked the use of antigravity in the story. Some of us had more trouble with telepathy and other “powers of the mind”. While these were considered valid sf concepts in the 50s, they generally aren’t now.

There were several positive comments on the book’s writing style. We felt the storytelling and descriptions were smooth and brilliantly done, and seem contemporary . We appreciated the character development, particularly in people who weren’t nice at all. A couple of people felt that the dialog in the book was “stodgy” and was the only element that felt dated.

This book was a “fix-up” of three stories originally published separately, which led to some interesting reactions from readers. Many thought the divisions between stories were merely a stylistic choice, and it did not bother them at all. A couple felt that the stories were so separate that there was no coherent central narrative.

Our discussion of this book and its concepts was so lively that we talked for 95 minutes.  Afterward we picked new books for the reading list. Then most of us went out to dinner at Opal Divine’s.

—A. T. Campbell, III