Friday, May 29, 2009

Theodore Sturgeon, February 26 1918-May 8 1985, Andros Sturgeon photo, 1972 or 1973

“Nothing is always absolutely so.”-The Original Sturgeon's Law

"Ninety percent of everything is crap."-Sturgeon's Revelation (Later Sturgeon's Law) Theodore Sturgeon, early 1950's

“I repeat Sturgeon’s Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud."- Theodore Sturgeon

Of course, there is a corollary to the above quote (Sturgeon's Revelation, now known as Sturgeon's Law, that 90% of everything is crap): why does it matter; and why bother saying that any specific thing is 90% crap or crud? That is a given. And perhaps, why waste time and dwell on less than good things?

His credo? "Ask the next question."

My favorite Sturgeon story when I was a lad was the novelette, 'Killdozer', published in Astounding Science Fiction in 1944.
It was made into a successful TV movie in 1974, which, unfortunately does not appear to be available on DVD (some old VHS copies are floating around). The star is the underrated Clint Walker. The plot is simply this: an ancient sentient being consisting of an organized electron field and designed to destroy intelligent biological life predating man is revived by the activities of a construction crew on an isolated South Sea Island. It takes control of a bulldozer and proceeds in fulfilling its mission. Sturgeon was not the first and he was certainly not the last writer to present to us a single-minded destructive menace. Imagine the Terminator as a bulldozer. Here's some of Sturgeon's set up:

" The ages came and went, and chemical action and reaction did their mysterious work, and once again there was life and evolution. And a tribe found the mass of neutronium, which is not a substance but a static force, and were awed by its aura of indescribable chill, and they worshiped it and built a temple around it and made sacrifices to it. And ice and fire and the seas came and went, and the land rose and fell as the years went by, until the ruined temple was on a knoll, and the knoll was an island. Islanders came and went, lived and built and died, and races forgot. So now, somewhere in the Pacific to the west of the archipelago called Islas Revillagigeda, there was an uninhabited island. And one day--"

Poetic, eh?


isdisasystem said...

Groovy inter. with Keith. Tell him not to worry so much...this could be a little "shallow" for your rococoa tastes and tendencies.Cheers !

John said...

Thanks for the first comment on my blog. I'll check out your podcast.