Theodore Sturgeon:E Pluribus Unicorn

Theodore Sturgeon was one of the great SF short story writers. (I use the past tense because he's dead, not because his stories have ceased to be good.) E Pluribus Unicorn is a collection of stories from the late 40's and early 50's, which I find amazing on reading, because they seem timeless. Or, rather,they seem to have something which some other early stories are lacking--a frank understanding of all kinds of human nature.

Some of the stories are definite classics--"Bianca's Hands", for instance: the story of a dull-witted girl whose beautiful hands have an intelligence of their own, and of the man who was entrapped by them. Or "Die, Maestro, Die", about a man who despised Lutch Crawford, the bandleader he worked for, and was eventually driven to destroy him and his music. Or "Cellmate", a story of the most bizarre pair of Siamese twins you've ever seen, and what happened when they went to jail.

But those short summaries can't convey the style and voice of the stories. In each case the voice is completely genuine--both the viewpoint characters and the rest, even the minor characters, ring true. The choice of stories for this book is perhaps unfortunate, because you can see some ideas used more than once, the most notable being "syzygy"(apparently, a biological term for the sharing of genetic material between parthenogenetically reproducing creatures, or something like that), as well as Siamese twins. But, goddamnit, the people are real.

Sturgeon is always good. This book is no different.

%A Sturgeon, Theodore
%T E Pluribus Unicorn
%I Pocket
%C New York
%D Copyright 1953
%G ISBN 0-671-50223-9
%P 211 pp.
%O Paperback, US$2.95

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The Den of Ubiquity / Aaron V. Humphrey / alfvaen@gmail.com