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Sturgeon's first novel. Barron; Anatomy of Wonder 4, A very attractive copy. New York: Ballantine Books Inc. Richard Powers. First paperback edition, first printing. Cover art by Richard Powers. Collects thirteen stories by Sturgeon. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Young, Winner of the International Fantasy Award in Fine in fine and bright dust jacket with one quarter inch edge tear.

New York: Ballantine Books, Inc. Collects eight of the thirteen stories found in the hardcover first edition. Neat owner's signature on the inside front cover, else a fine and bright copy. New York: Ballantine Books, Publisher's book number K. Light toning to the pages. A fine, unread copy. New York: Pyramid Books, Ed Emshwiller. Pyramid Books number F Cover art by Ed Emshwiller.

Collect five of Sturgeon's stories. New York: Berkley Publishing Co. Paul Lehr. Berkley book number S Cover art by Paul Lehr. Collects twelve of Sturgeon's stories.

The Nail and the Oracle: Volume XI

A hint of toning, else a fine and bright unread copy. Victor Kalin. Pyramid book number G Cover art by Victor Kalin. Light toning, else a fine unread copy. First Dell edition, first printing. First edition thus, first printing. Movie tie in issue. Pyramid book number R Cover features a scene from the 20th Century Cover art by Mel Hunter. Collects nine stories by Sturgeon. An anthology collection of 10 stories by Sturgeon. Light wrinkle along spine.

A fine and bright unread copy. What is the real extent of incest-generated genetic problems?

What if the moral offensiveness of inbreeding is another power tool , designed to divide families against themselves, break their cohesion? My personal moral objection against incest is that it is too complacent, too narcissistic: You breed with those who are most similar to you. You don't give yourself an opportunity to get to know those who are different. There is also the polyamory aspect of the story, but I'll leave that for another time. Note also that it was first published fifty years ago--and written twenty years before that--which makes it a very early herald of the topic.

The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Volume XI: The Nail and the Oracle

It revolves around the importance of listening , and everything that happens past that peak of insight is at once so cruel and commonplace that it nearly shatters my faith in the viability of the family unit. It doesn't shatter it completely only because Sturgeon never meant it that way. It sounds as if Sturgeon was really recovering from the chasm he'd plunged into.

Plus, now I won't be able to tear toilet paper in my old thoughtless manner ever again. View 1 comment. Jun 26, Michael Battaglia rated it it was amazing. The first thing I learned when reading this was that Harlan Ellison apparently trademarked his own name. I didn't know he had gone and done that so that was an interesting fact to know.

We should all do that. This volume winds up being the slimmest of the books released in the series so far and appears to cover a period where Sturgeon's writer's block was fairly intense and he was also involved in other ventures like TV script writing he's written several "Star Trek" episodes that took time awa The first thing I learned when reading this was that Harlan Ellison apparently trademarked his own name.

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This volume winds up being the slimmest of the books released in the series so far and appears to cover a period where Sturgeon's writer's block was fairly intense and he was also involved in other ventures like TV script writing he's written several "Star Trek" episodes that took time away from short story writing. Thus this collection uncharacteristically covers about thirteen years, as opposed to the previous collections that maybe covered only a year or two his most prolific years were not yet behind him though, as the next collections cram quite a bit of story into smaller gaps of time.

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The stories also seem to depict a man who is slightly falling past his prime writing years, at least temporarily. Interestingly around this period of his life he met one of his last companions, Wina Golden, whose influence was enough to inspire a number of stories that are often called "Wina Stories" because they were either taken from stray comments she made or anecdotes from her own life and while his new love might have given him plenty of ideas, the beating heart that often powers his best stories seems buried far below, faintly heard but not as easily felt.

The first thing that might strike you with this collection is that Ellison's introduction is among the longest things here. I started reading it late at night thinking it was like the other introductions that were a couple pages each and wound up staying up a half hour later than I anticipated because it goes on and on and on for around thirty pages.

If you've read Ellison before its what you can typically expect from him, some exuberant passages, some searing honesty, some swaggering confidence, some boisterous tell-it-like-it-is and and an overall sense that he's attempting to convince you that he was Sturgeon's best friend of all time. It may not be too far off, as Sturgeon lived with Ellison for a period of time and no matter how much he's trying to show off, there's a very real sense on Ellison's part that he still acutely feels the loss of his good friend even twenty years later.

But if nothing else its unmistakably Ellison, one of those bits where his fiery personality can't help but shine through. Unfortunately the stories inside are just. A lot of them don't take off, if they ever do, until right toward the end where Sturgeon wraps it all up with a short passage that can twist you and make you ache and remind just how darn good he was. One of Ellison's favorite stories from this period at least according to a review of "Sturgeon is Alive and Well" he reprints that mostly criticizes the stories in there is "Take Care of Joey", which like a lot of the stories gives you a "where is he going with this feeling" before pulling it all together with an ending both sad and searing and clever all at once.

Most of the tales don't rise to that level of impact, even the "title" story "The Nail and the Oracle", about people trying to get a straight answer out of a brilliant computer, goes a long way to set up the scenario without really justifying the payoff we get, although he does sneak in a large point about thinking for yourself part of his "ask the next question" creed. Otherwise you get another Western "Ride in, Ride Out", which is pretty much exactly what it does , a couple of mystery type stories "Assault and Little Sister", which has a savage ending for Sturgeon and "Holdup a la Carte" which is much more charming , the rather bizarre "How to Forget Baseball" an attempt to depict the sports of the future that sometimes comes across as how people see baseball now , and a couple stories where Sturgeon vaguely skirts Heinlein territory to tell us how the world should work "It Was Nothing-Really!

Meanwhile the two that are associated with Ellison don't do much for me at all. But it is a welcome foray into SF for Sturgeon, which wasn't always common for him at this point. That leaves "When You Care, When You Love" as the story that sometimes feels closest to the Sturgeon of old emotionally, where you can see the struggle for the ache, as a woman tries to figure out to save someone she loves and comes up with a plan both crazy and desperate and loving.

It doesn't feel as effortless as his best stories did but it also manages to show a flip side to a similar situation in CJ Cherryh's "Cyteen" in about a tenth of the space, showing how brilliantly economical he could be when he needed to. So, a mixed bag overall but with enough purely good stuff to recommend it or at least not recommend skipping it, though if you're dedicated enough to get all thirteen volumes of someone's complete stories, are you really going to consider leaving off a volume?

The Complete Stories Of Theodore Sturgeon | Vintage45's Blog

Jan 06, Frank Hays rated it it was ok. Sturgeon clearly was not on top of his game for many of the stories in this collection. His characters simply weren't there like they were in his earlier work and I found myself very often tailing off into indifference during many of the stories.


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Even when the concepts behind the stories were interesting, they tended to be a bit long-winded and poorly executed. Check out earlier volumes of this series for some of the best short stories ever written but, frankly, I feel this volume is best left t Sturgeon clearly was not on top of his game for many of the stories in this collection. Check out earlier volumes of this series for some of the best short stories ever written but, frankly, I feel this volume is best left to Sturgeon fanatics and other assorted masochists.

Slowly reading my way through Sturgeon's complete stories.


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If you're a short story writer you need to read Sturgeon. Great stuff. John rated it really liked it Jun 27, Dawn rated it it was amazing Jan 03, Carabella rated it it was amazing Apr 18, Sandro rated it really liked it Apr 13, Adam Leff rated it it was amazing Mar 21, Sansabark rated it really liked it Mar 22, Renee rated it it was amazing Jul 14, Paul rated it it was amazing Jun 03, Ryan rated it really liked it Apr 07, Wendy, Lady Evelyn Quince rated it liked it Dec 01, Topher rated it liked it Aug 21, Robert James rated it it was amazing Dec 12, Kevin rated it really liked it Feb 21, Khuey40 rated it really liked it Nov 03, Dave rated it really liked it Oct 22, Andrew rated it liked it Apr 24, Mike rated it it was amazing Mar 09, Ross rated it it was amazing Dec 17, Loomchild rated it it was amazing Feb 14, Dave rated it really liked it Mar 04, John Pollock rated it it was amazing Jun 24, Mark Buchignani rated it really liked it May 14, Jeff Hobbs rated it did not like it Oct 01, Ben Ostrander rated it really liked it May 20, Min rated it liked it Sep 16, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

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