Book Review: More Than Human

Book Cover from Amazon

More than Human by Theodore Sturgeon


Individually, they are a seemingly simpleminded young man living in the woods who can read the thoughts of others, a runaway girl with telekinetic powers, twin girls who can barely speak but can teleport across great distances, and an infant with a mind like a supercomputer. Together, they are the Gestalt—a single extraordinary being comprised of remarkable parts—although an essential piece may be missing . . .
But are they the next stage in human development or harbingers of the end of civilization? The answer may come when they are joined by Gerry. Powerfully telepathic, he lacks a moral compass—and his hatred of the world that has rejected him could prove catastrophic.
 Winner of the International Fantasy Award and considered Theodore Sturgeon’s masterpiece, More Than Human is a genre-bending wonder that explores themes of responsibility and morality, individuality, and belonging. Moving and suspenseful, lyrical and provocative, the novel was one of the first to elevate science fiction into the realm of literature, and inspired musicians and artists, including the Grateful Dead and Crosby, Stills and Nash.



My fourth or fifth time reading the book (once in comic book format) and Theodore Sturgeon continues to enthrall as a master of science fiction which everyone who loves the genre should read at least once. Unfortunately this particular manuscript is beginning to show its age in 2015, hence the slip in rating from 5 stars which I would have bestowed on it in 1985 (30 years ago) to 4 stars for today. Originally written in 1952, the people and events are beginning to move beyond modern relatability. 

The story itself is three separate short stories as would have appeared in the sci-fi magazines at the time and reprinted as a coherent whole. I read it in five hours in my most recent revisit (remember while I read this book before, it had been over a decade so I didn’t skim). Each part can be treated by itself, but the third part “Morality” is what has stuck with me throughout the years and you need to first two parts to get the payoff of the third. The third part not only stuck with me, but it influenced me – helped me to create my own ethos beyond morality. And for that reason alone, it will remain on my bookshelves as long as I have bookshelves.