Thursday, January 17, 2019

FFB: THE COMPLETE STORIES OF THEODORE STURGEON edited and annotated by Paul Williams and Noël Sturgeon (13 volumes plus a 1993 chapbook, North Atlantic Books, 1995-2010)

Theodore Sturgeon was by all accounts a confounding personality, genial, personally irresponsible, questioning many of the more basic matters of human relations, perception and emotion, and a man who could certainly write a sentence...and then be hung up by how badly he'd done so for years-long writer's blocks. And yet managed to be very prolific over a long if troubled career. Kurt Vonnegut based Kilgore Trout on him (as the name makes clear), while also admitting that much of what Trout was was also Vonnegut himself. Ray Bradbury was his most assiduous student; Bradbury learned much of his early craft from imitating Sturgeon's work, as well as getting more hands-on instruction from Leigh Brackett and others, and Bradbury deviating from that early tutelage didn't necessarily improve his work. He was a brilliant writer, as Vonnegut, Bradbury and the others tapped to write introductions and afterwords to the volumes of this massive effort to collect all his short fiction, some of it otherwise "lost" in a more profound way than we usually mean this, attest to, each in turn: Samuel R. Delany, Jonathan Lethem, Peter Beagle, Connie Willis, Robert Silverberg, Arthur C. Clarke, Gene Wolfe, Harlan Ellison, Philip Klass (aka "William Tenn"), David Hartwell, Larry McCaffery, Spider Robinson, Debbie Notkin, James Gunn and, because the project's original editor was the late, pioneering music journalist and magazine publisher Paul Williams, David Crosby, whose introduction is the slightest, unsurprisingly, if no less heartfelt. Among those who didn't survive to see even the initial volumes of the project  in print, Robert Heinlein's memory of the times he was proud to be able to help out Sturgeon are included, as was Isaac Asimov's recollection of how gutted he was by Sturgeon's fiction, first as a reader and also as a writer who knew he wasn't ever going to be able to match it. 

And then we're into each volume, assembled as closely as possible as a chronological assembly of the fiction in the order it was written, with a few of the most obscure items recovered and added out of order in later volumes. Along with Williams's copious notes and running biographical account of Sturgeon's life and that of his family and contemporaries. (Williams was the grievously impaired survivor of an accident while bicycling in the latter years of assembling this series, after his similar assembly of the short work of Philip K. Dick, and Sturgeon's daughter Noël picked up the gauntlet when he could no longer continue.) The fiction ranges from slight early attempts and minor work sprinkled in throughout Sturgeon's career, to some of the most fully-realized literary art by anyone writing sf and fantasy in the middle decades of the previous century. There's a reason Graham Greene's entry came in second to Sturgeon's story "Bianca's Hands" in a contest the UK magazine Argosy sponsored in 1947, and not because Greene wasn't trying, with his "The Second Death"...just as there was a less-good reason that Sturgeon's disturbing story had failed to sell for nearly a decade before sending it along to the Argosy contest. Sturgeon was "the finest conscious artist science fiction [has] ever produced," James Blish once wrote in one of his critical pieces, and North Atlantic was quick to cite that in their catalog blurbing, as well, and while others have rivaled him, few have had more extensive influence coupled with the excellence of their best work. He wrote brilliant horror fiction, fantasy and science fiction and less copiously in other fields, including similarly impressive work in western fiction and good work in crime fiction and contemporary/mimetic fiction. His occasional ghosted books included two of "Ellery Queen"'s novels and the famous literary hoax novel Betty and Ian Ballantine chose to publish in the wake of Jean Shepherd's large-scale practical joke on the "bestseller list" devisers, in employing his radio listeners in creating demand and "bestseller" status for a nonexistent historical novel, I, Libertine, published as by "Frederick R. Ewing" after a marathon overnight writing session to rush the book out, the final pages written by Betty Ballantine after Sturgeon simply needed to collapse on the couch. Ballantine Books also published a number of his better books, in first edition and reprints. 


Sturgeon's novels were often not up to the best of his short work; published after his first, 1950's impressive The Dreaming Jewels, his most famous novel, More Than Human, is essentially a working-together (or "fix-up") of three novellas, one of them lending its title to Volume VI of this series, "Baby is Three"...and they weren't always treated well by their publishers...Dell Books chose to package the slight expansion of the novella "To Marry Medusa" as The Cosmic Rape (1958), among the more unintentionally (we can hope) terrible commercial decisions ever made on behalf of a new book by an important writer...oddly enough, subsequent publishers opted to go for the original title. His next sf novel had the only slightly better title, if less objectionable, Venus Plus X (1959); it would be his last science fiction novel, with the weak exception of his novelization of the film Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961); the same year saw his rationalized-vampire psychological suspense novel Some of Your Blood, and aside from the ghosted "Queen"s, another film novelization, from the western The Rare Breed, and the long-worked-over final fantasy novel Godbody, published posthumously in 1986, he would publish no more book-length fiction, though another project which had been in (apparently limited) progress for decades, expanding from his story "When You Care, When You Love", was left unfinished at his death. The story had been published in the first special author-tribute issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, with the Edmund Emshwiller cover painting for that issue (September 1962) reprinted as the cover of Volume VII, above. 


But he continued, albeit with the sporadic blocks noted above, to contribute good to brilliant short fiction throughout his career, as well as contributing a range of nonfiction writing and devoting a fair amount of time in his last years to teaching in writing workshops...one of my lasting regrets is not being able to afford to attend, assuming I would've been admitted to, one held on Kauai when I was living on Oahu in 1984; the impressive if relatively underpublished writer Elizabeth Engstrom began publishing after her attendance at the same workshop, which might even have been Sturgeon's last. His book reviews, which appeared in even more unlikely places than his fiction would, including National Review (he was not a Conservative) and Hustler (the latter during Paul Krassner's comparatively ambitious editorship of that skin magazine), were often criticized themselves for his stated inability to dislike any book.  Other essays of his were usually less controversial thus...it was in his first regular book-review column in the magazine Venture that he first put into print his Sturgeon's Estimate, that 90% of any artistic body of literature is mediocre or worse...often cited as Sturgeon's Law, and that  90% of everything is crap. 



A pamphlet issued in 1993 by Paul Williams as a fundraiser and heads-up that the Sturgeon Project was beginning, and he would be seeking a publisher for the Complete Stories volumes; Argyll was how he dubbed his stepfather, the source of the Sturgeon name for a boy who had been born Edward Hamilton Waldo, and whose mother had his name changed after she married  this uptight and at least borderline abusive, as Sturgeon recalls him, new father-figure. Apparently written in 1965, and unpublished till this 1993 item.


The Ultimate Egoist: The Complete Short Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Vol. 1 Theodore Sturgeon (North Atlantic Books 1-55643-182-1, Feb ’95 [Dec ’94], $25.00, 387pp, hc, cover by Jacek Yerka) Collection of 46 stories and one poem, nine of them previously unpublished “trunk” stories (literally). This is the first of thirteen volumes and covers Sturgeon’s work through 1940. A marvelous project. [--Locus magazine editor and publisher Charles N. Brown] Edited and with extensive story notes by Paul Williams, with forewords by Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and Gene Wolfe. Order from North Atlantic Books, PO Box 12327, Berkeley CA 94712.
  • v · Editor’s Note · Paul Williams · pr
  • ix · About Theodore Sturgeon · Ray Bradbury · fw Without Sorcery, Prime Press, 1948
  • xii · About Theodore Sturgeon · Arthur C. Clarke · fw *
  • xiv · About Theodore Sturgeon · Gene Wolfe · fw *
  • 3 · Heavy Insurance · ss Milwaukee Journal Jul 16 ’38
  • 6 · The Heart · ss Other Worlds Science Stories May ’55
  • 10 · Cellmate · ss Weird Tales Jan ’47
  • 23 · Fluffy · ss Weird Tales Mar ’47
  • 31 · Alter Ego · ss *
  • 35 · Mailed Through a Porthole · ss *
  • 40 · A Noose of Light · ss *
  • 50 · Strangers on a Train · ss *
  • 55 · Accidentally on Porpoise · ss *
  • 70 · The Right Line · ss *
  • 83 · Golden Day · ss Milwaukee Journal Mar 4 ’39
  • 86 · Permit Me My Gesture · ss Milwaukee Journal Mar 10 ’39
  • 89 · Watch My Smoke · ss Milwaukee Journal Mar 13 ’39
  • 92 · The Other Cheek · ss Milwaukee Journal Apr 10 ’39
  • 95 · Extraordinary Seaman · ss Milwaukee Journal Jun ’39
  • 104 · One Sick Kid · ss Milwaukee Journal Apr 29 ’39
  • 107 · His Good Angel · ss Milwaukee Journal May 12 ’39
  • 110 · Some People Forget · ss Milwaukee Journal May 30 ’39
  • 113 · A God in a Garden · ss Unknown Oct ’39
  • 133 · Fit for a King · ss Milwaukee Journal Jun 10 ’39
  • 136 · Ex-Bachelor Extract · ss Milwaukee Journal Jun 17 ’39
  • 139 · East Is East · ss Milwaukee Journal Jun 24 ’39
  • 142 · Three People · ss *
  • 145 · Eyes of Blue · ss Milwaukee Journal Jul 1 ’39
  • 148 · Ether Breather [Ether Breather] · ss Astounding Sep ’39
  • 163 · Her Choice · ss Milwaukee Journal Jul 8 ’39
  • 166 · Cajun Providence · ss Milwaukee Journal Jul 15 ’39
  • 169 · Strike Three · ss *
  • 172 · Contact! · ss Milwaukee Journal Aug 5 ’39
  • 175 · The Call · ss Milwaukee Journal Aug 19 ’39
  • 178 · Helix the Cat · nv Astounding, ed. Harry Harrison, Random House, 1973
  • 204 · To Shorten Sail · ss Milwaukee Journal Sep 9 ’39
  • 207 · Thanksgiving Again · ss *
  • 217 · Bianca’s Hands · ss Argosy (UK) May ’47
  • 226 · Derm Fool · ss Unknown Mar ’40
  • 242 · He Shuttles · ss Unknown Apr ’40
  • 262 · Turkish Delight · ss Milwaukee Journal Nov 18 ’39
  • 265 · Niobe · ss *
  • 270 · Mahout · ss Milwaukee Journal Jan 22 ’40
  • 273 · The Long Arm · ss Milwaukee Journal Feb 5 ’40
  • 276 · The Man on the Steps · ss Milwaukee Journal Feb 22 ’40
  • 279 · Punctuational Advice · ss Milwaukee Journal Feb 29 ’40
  • 282 · Place of Honor · ss Milwaukee Journal Mar 18 ’40
  • 285 · The Ultimate Egoist · nv Unknown Feb ’41
  • 303 · It · nv Unknown Aug ’40
  • 328 · Butyl and the Breather [Ether Breather] · nv Astounding Oct ’40
  • 351 · Back Words: Story Notes · Paul Williams · ms *
  • 387 · Look About You · pm Unknown Jan ’40
As with at least a few of the other geniuses in the fantastic-fiction field, notably Fritz Leiber and Joanna Russ (and acolyte Bradbury), it's notable the number of rather brilliant horror stories cluster here in the earliest career of Sturgeon, with the proportion of horror fiction to attenuate by mid-career ..."Fluffy", "Bianca's Hands", "It", and then "Cellmate" and "He Shuttles" a notch less superb. "The Ultimate Egoist" being a fine humorous dark fantasy, plagiarized by at least one comic-book story I read as a child.  The largely sailing-related vignettes from newspaper syndication (Sturgeon was a merchant mariner) are promising but not, on balance, much more than interesting. 



Microcosmic God: The Complete Short Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Vol. 2 Theodore Sturgeon (North Atlantic Books 1-55643-213-5, Jan ’96 [Dec ’95], $25.00, 372pp, hc, cover by Jacek Yerka) Collection of 17 stories, two previously unpublished. This is the second of thirteen volumes and covers Sturgeon’s work from 1940 to 1943. Edited and with extensive story notes by Paul Williams. There is a foreword by Samuel R. Delany.
  • vi · Editor’s Note · Paul Williams · pr
  • vii · Theodore Sturgeon · Samuel R. Delany · fw * [Theodore Sturgeon]
  • 3 · Cargo · nv Unknown Nov ’40
  • 32 · Shottle Bop · nv Unknown Feb ’41
  • 59 · Yesterday Was Monday · ss Unknown Jun ’41
  • 77 · Brat · ss Unknown Dec ’41
  • 95 · The Anonymous · nv *
  • 123 · Two Sidecars · ss *
  • 127 · Microcosmic God · nv Astounding Apr ’41
  • 157 · The Haunt · ss Unknown Apr ’41
  • 175 · Completely Automatic · ss Astounding Feb ’41
  • 194 · Poker Face · ss Astounding Mar ’41
  • 206 · Nightmare Island [as by E. Waldo Hunter] · nv Unknown Jun ’41
  • 235 · The Purple Light [as by E. Hunter Waldo] · ss Astounding Jun ’41
  • 241 · Artnan Process · nv Astounding Jun ’41
  • 265 · Biddiver · nv Astounding Aug ’41
  • 289 · The Golden Egg · nv Unknown Aug ’41
  • 309 · Two Percent Inspiration · ss Astounding Oct ’41
  • 329 · The Jumper · Theodore Sturgeon & James H. Beard · ss Unknown Aug ’42; Beard is not credited in this edition.
  • 347 · Story Notes · Paul Williams · bi
  • 369 · Microcosmic God (Unfinished Early draft) · uw *



Killdozer!: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Vol. 3 Theodore Sturgeon (North Atlantic Books 1-55643-227-5, Nov ’96 [Oct ’96], $25.00, 367pp, hc, cover by Paul Orban) Collection of 15 stories, four previously unpublished, and two not previously collected. This is the third of thirteen volumes and covers Sturgeon’s work from 1941 to 1946. Edited and with extensive story notes by Paul Williams. There is a foreword by Robert Silverberg, and an afterword by Robert A. Heinlein (excerpted from the 1985 introduction to Godbody).
  • ix · Foreword · Robert Silverberg · fw
  • 1 · Blabbermouth · nv Amazing Feb ’47
  • 26 · Medusa · nv Astounding Feb ’42
  • 48 · Ghost of a Chance [aka “The Green-Eyed Monster”] · ss Unknown Jun ’43
  • 65 · The Bones · Theodore Sturgeon & James H. Beard · ss Unknown Aug ’43
  • 84 · The Hag Séleen · Theodore Sturgeon & James H. Beard · nv Unknown Dec ’42
  • 104 · Killdozer! · na Aliens 4, Avon, 1959; revised from Astounding Nov ’44.
  • 177 · Abreaction · ss Weird Tales Jul ’48
  • 190 · Poor Yorick · ss *
  • 194 · Crossfire · vi *
  • 197 · Noon Gun · ss Playboy Sep ’63
  • 211 · Bulldozer Is a Noun · ss *
  • 227 · August Sixth, 1945 · pl Astounding Dec ’45
  • 231 · The Chromium Helmet · nv Astounding Jun ’46
  • 283 · Memorial · ss Astounding Apr ’46
  • 297 · Mewhu’s Jet · nv Astounding Nov ’46
  • 335 · Story Notes (including the original ending of “Killdozer!” and the unpublished alternate ending of “Mewhu’s Jet”) · Paul Williams · bi
  • 361 · Afterword [from the 1985 introduction to Godbody] · Robert A. Heinlein · aw
As would happen with the next volume, the initial cover for Thunder and Roses was deemed insufficiently decorative:
Cover and book design by Paula Morrison--though ISFDB wonders if the artist credit is simply omitted, as Morrison designed the entire series. I wonder if this cover illustration wasn't, like the next volume's also-replaced initial cover image, by Hal Robins.


And was replaced:
The new cover painting, titled "Sun Spots", is by Jacek Yerka (1999)

Thunder and Roses: The Complete Short Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Vol. 4 Theodore Sturgeon (North Atlantic Books 1-55643-252-6, Nov ’97, $25.00, 380pp, hc) Collection of 15 stories, one previously unpublished, and three not previously collected. This is the fourth of thirteen volumes and covers Sturgeon’s work from 1946 to 1947. Edited and with extensive story notes by Paul Williams. The foreword by James Gunn originally appeared in Star Trek: The Joy Machine by Sturgeon & Gunn (1996). 
  • ix · Foreword · James Gunn · fw Star Trek: The Joy Machine, James Gunn & Theodore Sturgeon, Pocket, 1996
  • 1 · Maturity · na Astounding Feb ’47
  • 60 · Tiny and the Monster · nv Astounding May ’47
  • 97 · The Sky Was Full of Ships · ss Thrilling Wonder Stories Jun ’47
  • 109 · Largo · ss Fantastic Adventures Jul ’47
  • 125 · Thunder and Roses · ss Astounding Nov ’47
  • 150 · It Wasn’t Syzygy [“The Deadly Ratio”] · nv Weird Tales Jan ’48
  • 179 · The Blue Letter · ss *
  • 183 · Wham Bop! · ss The Varsity Nov ’47
  • 197 · Well Spiced · ss Zane Grey’s Western Magazine Feb ’48
  • 214 · Hurricane Trio · nv Galaxy Apr ’55
  • 245 · That Low · vi Famous Fantastic Mysteries Oct ’48
  • 250 · Memory · nv Thrilling Wonder Stories Aug ’48
  • 273 · There Is No Defense · nv Astounding Feb ’48
  • 321 · The Professor’s Teddy Bear · ss Weird Tales Mar ’48
  • 332 · A Way Home · ss Amazing Apr/May ’53
  • 340 · Story Notes · Paul Williams · bi
  • 359 · The original second half of “Maturity” · ex *
This 1957 UK-only collection shouldn't be confused with the series volume detailed above:


Apparently the first edition cover illustration for this one also was given another look by North Atlantic and judged too much like amateur cartooning, however intentionally primitive/"outsider" it was intended to be:
Cover art by Hal Robins; Cover and book design by Paula Morrison

And was replaced:
The Perfect Host: The Complete Short Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Vol. 5 Theodore Sturgeon (North Atlantic Books 1-55643-284-4, Nov ’98 [Oct ’98], $27.50, 386pp, hc, second edition cover by Michael Dashow) Collection of 17 stories, two previously unpublished, and seven not previously collected. Foreword by Larry McCaffery. This is the fifth of thirteen volumes, and covers Sturgeon’s work from 1947 to 1949. Edited and with extensive story notes by Paul Williams. 
  • ix · Foreword · Larry McCaffery · fw
  • 1 · Quietly · ss *
  • 18 · The Music · vi E Pluribus Unicorn, Abelard, 1953
  • 20 · Unite and Conquer · nv Astounding Oct ’48
  • 63 · The Love of Heaven · ss Astounding Nov ’48
  • 78 · Till Death Do Us Join · ss Shock Jul ’48
  • 92 · The Perfect Host · nv Weird Tales Nov ’48
  • 141 · The Martian and the Moron · nv Weird Tales Mar ’49
  • 167 · Die, Maestro, Die! · nv Dime Detective Magazine May ’49
  • 201 · The Dark Goddess · ss *
  • 215 · Scars · ss Zane Grey’s Western Magazine May ’49
  • 223 · Messenger · ss Thrilling Wonder Stories Feb ’49
  • 235 · Minority Report · ss Astounding Jun ’49
  • 257 · Prodigy · ss Astounding Apr ’49
  • 269 · Farewell to Eden · ss Invasion from Mars, edited by Don Ward, though credited to Orson Welles, Dell, 1949 (Ward ghost-edited for several celebrities in the 1940s at Dell, including Alfred Hitchcock)
  • 283 · One Foot and the Grave · nv Weird Tales Sep ’49
  • 324 · What Dead Men Tell · nv Astounding Nov ’49
  • 353 · The Hurkle Is a Happy Beast · ss The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF) Fll ’49
  • 362 · Story Notes · Paul Williams · ms


Baby Is Three: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Vol. 6 Theodore Sturgeon (North Atlantic Books 1-55643-319-0, Nov ’99, $30.00, 424pp, hc, cover by Richard M. Powers) Collection of 11 stories, plus two autobiographical essays in an appendix. Foreword by David Crosby. This is the sixth of thirteen volumes, and covers Sturgeon’s work from 1950 to 1953. Edited and with extensive story notes by Paul Williams.
  • · Editor’s Note · Paul Williams · pr
  • ix · Foreword · David Crosby · fw
  • 1 · Shadow, Shadow, on the Wall · ss Imagination Feb ’51
  • 11 · The Stars Are the Styx · nv Galaxy Oct ’50
  • 54 · Rule of Three · nv Galaxy Jan ’51
  • 92 · Make Room for Me · nv Fantastic Adventures May ’51
  • 119 · Special Aptitude [aka “Last Laugh”] · ss Other Worlds Science Stories Mar ’51
  • 137 · The Traveling Crag · nv Fantastic Adventures Jul ’51
  • 171 · Excalibur and the Atom · na Fantastic Adventures Aug ’51
  • 238 · The Incubi of Parallel X · na Planet Stories Sep ’51
  • 293 · Never Underestimate... · ss If Mar ’52
  • 312 · The Sex Opposite · nv Fantastic Fll ’52
  • 340 · Baby Is Three · na Galaxy Oct ’52
  • 401 · Story Notes · Paul Williams · bi
  • · Appendix: Two Autobiographical Essays
  • 416 · Author, Author · bg The Fanscient Spr ’50
  • The Men Behind Fantastic Adventures:
    421 · Theodore Sturgeon · bg Fantastic Adventures Aug ’51

A Saucer of Loneliness: The Complete Short Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Volume VII Theodore Sturgeon (North Atlantic 1-55643-350-6, Oct 2000, $30.00, 388 + ix, hc, cover by Ed Emshwiller) Collection of 12 stories. The foreword by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. discusses the connection between his character Kilgore Trout and Sturgeon. This is the seventh of thirteen volumes, and covers work written from 1952 to 1953. Edited and with extensive story notes by Paul Williams.
  • ix · Foreword · Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. · fw
  • 1 · A Saucer of Loneliness · ss Galaxy Feb ’53
  • 15 · The Touch of Your Hand · na Galaxy Sep ’53
  • 61 · The World Well Lost · ss Universe Jun ’53
  • 81 · ...And My Fear Is Great... · na Beyond Fantasy Fiction Jul ’53
  • 145 · The Wages of Synergy · nv Startling Stories Aug ’53
  • 195 · The Dark Room · nv Fantastic Jul/Aug ’53
  • 237 · Talent · ss Beyond Fantasy Fiction Sep ’53
  • 247 · A Way of Thinking · nv Amazing Oct/Nov ’53
  • 277 · The Silken-Swift · nv F&SF Nov ’53
  • 297 · The Clinic · ss Star Science Fiction Stories #2, ed. Frederik Pohl, Ballantine, 1953
  • 311 · Mr. Costello, Hero · nv Galaxy Dec ’53
  • 339 · The Education of Drusilla Strange · nv Galaxy Mar ’54
  • 375 · Story Notes · Paul Williams · bi

Bright Segment: The Complete Short Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Volume VIII Theodore Sturgeon (North Atlantic 1-55643-398-0, May 2002, $35.00, 408pp, hc) Collection of 11 stories. This eighth volume covers work written from 1953 to 1955, plus two earlier short-short stories not found until recently. Foreword by "William Tenn" (Philip Klass). Edited and with extensive story notes by Paul Williams.
  • ix · Foreword · William Tenn · fw
  • 1 · Cactus Dance · nv Luke Short’s Western Magazine Oct/Dec ’54
  • 27 · The Golden Helix · na Thrilling Wonder Stories Sum ’54
  • 85 · Extrapolation [aka “Beware the Fury”] · nv Fantastic Apr ’54
  • 115 · Granny Won’t Knit · na Galaxy May ’54
  • 175 · To Here and the Easel · na Star Short Novels, ed. Frederik Pohl, Ballantine, 1954
  • 229 · When You’re Smiling · nv Galaxy Jan ’55
  • 259 · Bulkhead [aka “Who?”] · nv Galaxy Mar ’55
  • 291 · The Riddle of Ragnarok · nv Fantastic Universe Jun ’55
  • 311 · Twink · ss Galaxy Aug ’55
  • 329 · Bright Segment · nv Caviar, Ballantine, 1955
  • 355 · So Near the Darkness · nv Fantastic Universe Nov ’55
  • 389 · Story Notes · Paul Williams · ms
  • 403 · Clockwise · vi Calling All Boys Sep ’46
  • 405 · Smpke! · vi Calling All Boys Dec ’46-Jan ’47
And Now the News...: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Volume IX Theodore Sturgeon (North Atlantic 1-55643-460-X, Nov 2003, $35.00, 377 + xiv, hc) Collection of 15 stories, five not previously collected. Foreword by David G. Hartwell. This volume covers work written from 1955 to 1957. Edited and with extensive story notes by Paul Williams; includes the revelation that two stories were collaborations with Robert A. Heinlein: “The Other Man” and “And Now the News...”
  • ix · Foreword · David G. Hartwell · fw
  • 1 · “Won’t You Walk...” · nv Astounding Jan ’56
  • 31 · New York Vignette · ss F&SF Oct/Nov ’99
  • 35 · The Half-Way Tree Murder · ss The Saint Detective Magazine Mar ’56
  • 51 · The Skills of Xanadu · nv Galaxy Jul ’56
  • 81 · The Claustrophile · nv Galaxy Aug ’56
  • 113 · Dead Dames Don’t Dial · ss The Saint Detective Magazine Aug ’56
  • 131 · Fear Is a Business · ss F&SF Aug ’56
  • 151 · The Other Man · na Galaxy Sep ’56 (with Robert Heinlein)
  • 205 · The Waiting Thing Inside · Theodore Sturgeon & Don Ward · ss EQMM Sep ’56
  • 223 · The Deadly Innocent · Theodore Sturgeon & Don Ward · ss Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine Nov ’56
  • 239 · And Now the News... · ss F&SF Dec ’56 (with Robert Heinlein)
  • 261 · The Girl Had Guts · nv Venture Jan ’57
  • 287 · The Other Celia · ss Galaxy Mar ’57
  • 305 · Affair with a Green Monkey · ss Venture May ’57
  • 317 · The Pod and the Barrier · na Galaxy Sep ’57
  • 359 · Story Notes · Paul Williams · ms



The Nail and the Oracle: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Volume XI Theodore Sturgeon (North Atlantic 1-55643-661-0, Jul 2007, $35.00, xxxii+256pp, hc) Collection of 12 stories. Foreword by Harlan Ellison, who collaborated on one of the stories. This volume covers work written from 1957 to 1970. Edited and with extensive story notes by Paul Williams. North Atlantic Books 
  • · Editor’s Note · Paul Williams · pr
  • ix · Abiding with Sturgeon: Mistral in the Bijou · Harlan Ellison · ar Interzone Jun, 2007 ; revised.
  • 1 · Ride In, Ride Out · Theodore Sturgeon & Don Ward · nv Sturgeon’s West, Doubleday, 1973
  • 25 · Assault and Little Sister · ss Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine Jul ’61
  • 43 · When You Care, When You Love · nv F&SF Sep ’62
  • 85 · Holdup à la Carte · ss EQMM Feb ’64
  • 95 · How to Forget Baseball · nv Sports Illustrated Dec 21 ’64
  • 117 · The Nail and the Oracle · nv Playboy Oct ’65
  • 137 · If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister? · na Dangerous Visions, ed. Harlan Ellison, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1967
  • 181 · Runesmith · Harlan Ellison & Theodore Sturgeon · ss F&SF May ’70
  • 199 · Jorry’s Gap · ss Adam Oct ’69
  • 211 · Brownshoes · ss Adam May ’69
  • 223 · It Was Nothing—Really! · ss Knight Nov ’69
  • 237 · Take Care of Joey · ss Knight Jan ’71
  • 247 · Story Notes · Paul Williams · bi


  • Slow Sculpture, Volume XII: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon
  • Theodore Sturgeon; edited by Noël Sturgeon
  • Date: 2009-10-20
  • ISBN: 978-1-55643-834-9 [1-55643-834-6]
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books
  • Price: $35.00
  • Pages: xi+299
  • Cover: Slow Sculpture, Volume XII: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon by Paula Morrison
  • Notes: $43.00 in Canada. The copyright page contains complete Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data including both the ISBN (978-1-55643-661-1) and the LCCN (2009031693). "Cover photo collage and book design by Paula Morrison" stated on the copyright page. Noël Sturgeon takes over editorship of the series from Paul Williams starting with this volume, and credited as such on the title page. Even so, a short bio of Paul Williams is printed on the back flap of the dustjacket.

  • Case and the Dreamer, Volume XIII: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon
  • Theodore Sturgeon; edited by Noël Sturgeon
  • Date: 2010-09-28
  • ISBN: 978-1-55643-934-6 [1-55643-934-2]
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books
  • Price: $35.00
  • Pages: xviii+375
  • Cover: Case and the Dreamer, Volume XIII: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon by Paula Morrison
    • Notes: Final volume in "The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon" series. The copyright page contains complete Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data including both the ISBN (978-1-55643-934-6) and the LCCN (2010019205). "Cover and book design by Paula Morrison" stated on the copyright page.
For more of today's books and more, please see Patti Abbott's blog.



FFB guest review by Laurel Scholnick: HORRORS edited by Charles L. Grant (Playboy Press 1981)


Laurel Scholnick is a professional archivist, librarian and researcher, and a lover of horror fiction, comics/graphic literature, and in dramatic form, particularly film and television drama, and one of the most prolific contributors to the discussion list Horror in Film and Literature at Indiana University. Among her projects has been completion and enhancement of a database of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood episode segments.

On first consideration, Horrors, edited by Charles L. Grant, is a pinnacle among selections of short horror fiction, and as you let the stories sit with you and sink in, the book even more thoroughly lives up to the paperback original's wonderfully foreboding cover, an image of an eyeball floating in a sea of blood. I was hooked from reading Grant's introduction and the first story, as Dennis Etchison's now-classic "The Dead Line" gets at the futility and despair one would feel while one's loved one is incapacitated and is essentially being mined for fluids and parts. A horrible thing, made even more horrible by the way her husband deals with the hopeless situation his wife isn't quite enduring. From there each of the other stories also deals with various sorts of terrible things people (and things like people) can do to each other or, sometimes, to themselves.

There is no lack of supernatural horror in the anthology, but what soon becomes apparent is how well the stories presented here can play on anxiety in the face of both supernatural and real-life horrors.  While no one eats 'dollburgers', and dolls don't in turn actually eat people (as in Lisa Tuttle's "Dollburger"), people (especially women) enter into bad marriages against their better judgment all the time and can end up with children, too, as a result...and then find out just how crazy the one they really love is (as in "Shadetree" by J. Michael Reaves). It can be scary to think that kindness to animals could lead to our undoing...for some it's a just-deserts kind of thing, a price for disingenuousness and cheating ("The Inheritance" by Alan Dean Foster), and for some it's from letting it all go too far to be a benefactor (as in Richard Houston's "The Man Who Was Kind to Animals"). There are stories here of adulterers, a child unaware of how to control his unusual powers, revenge seekers, those who give of themselves until there is (literally) nothing left, werewolves, a pair of occultists, murderous parents who find the tables turned on their predation, a torturer, another magical child, a hypnotizing pool that absorbs much more than the stress from people's muscles...and a toy that will not let itself be lost: Stephen King's "The Monkey", which I first read years ago in his collection Skeleton Crew, is a fine closer as it leaves you with a terrible foreboding that there will be no end to the nightmarish havoc this cursed little mechanical cymbal-clapper will continue to wreak on the world.  

Each of these selections had me eagerly turning the pages and wondering what I was in for in the next story.  Highly recommended!

For more of today's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.