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More Than Human

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There's Lone, the simpleton who can hear other people's thoughts and make a man blow his brains out just by looking at him. There's Janie, who moves things without touching them, and there are the teleporting twins, who can travel ten feet or ten miles. There's Baby, who invented an antigravity engine while still in the cradle, and Gerry, who has everything it takes to run the world except for a conscience. Separately, they are talented freaks. Together, they compose a single organism that may represent the next step in evolution, and the final chapter in the history of the human race.

In this genre-bending novel - among the first to have launched scifi into the arena of literature - one of the great imaginers of the twentieth century tells a story as mind-blowing as any controlled substance and as affecting as a glimpse into a stranger's soul. For as the protagonists of More Than Human struggle to find who they are and whether they are meant to help humanity or destroy it. Theodore Sturgeon explores questions of power and morality, individuality and belonging, with suspense, pathos, and a lyricism rarely seen in science fiction.

186 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 1953

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About the author

Theodore Sturgeon

694 books680 followers
Theodore Sturgeon (1918–1985) is considered one of the godfathers of contemporary science fiction and dark fantasy. The author of numerous acclaimed short stories and novels, among them the classics More Than Human, Venus Plus X, and To Marry Medusa, Sturgeon also wrote for television and holds among his credits two episodes of the original 1960s Star Trek series, for which he created the Vulcan mating ritual and the expression “Live long and prosper.” He is also credited as the inspiration for Kurt Vonnegut’s recurring fictional character Kilgore Trout.

Sturgeon is the recipient of the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the International Fantasy Award. In 2000, he was posthumously honored with a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,040 reviews
Profile Image for Bill Kerwin.
Author 1 book81.5k followers
April 13, 2020

If you have ever been lonely and longed for completion, you will be drawn to this book. But if you are one of those rare souls who sense that completion demands more than a wife or a husband, who yearn to find a small group of friends like yourself--but different--who can believe and will the same thing and yet still manage to preserve their distinctive humanity, then this book is the thing for you.

More Than Human is about six people—each with a distinct and extraordinary power—who wander lost and damaged until they discover one another. When they do, they begin to realize that together they constitute a new form of life—homo gestalt, they call themselves—which might just be the next step in human evolution.

This is an extraordinary, resonant book. Stylistically and structurally, it's The Sound and the Fury of science fiction novels: the tale of an idiot not an quite idiot, whose tale--not as simple as it seems—is bound up with the narratives and lives of others which give his story its meaning. It has passages of loneliness as fierce as anything you will find in Job, Robinson Crusoe, Hunger, or Native Son, and yet everything in it points toward love, despite the bleakest of conditions. Best of all, it ends with a surprising revelation that leaves the reader with the conviction that there is indeed hope for the future without in any way diminishing the challenges and the loneliness of the individual human life.

Sturgeon was always an accomplished writer, but in this book he outdid himself. This is one of the science fiction books that—even now, more than fifty years later--needs to be read.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,868 reviews16.5k followers
July 13, 2017
You pick up the book, turn to the back cover and are confronted with the man. So this was Kurt Vonnegut’s model for Kilgore Trout. Staring back at you is a gaunt image: a scraggly, bearded man who but for the pipe and the contented look might offer the same aspect from a homeless person or from a Jethro Tull album jacket.

Turn to the first page and read - “The idiot lived in a black and grey world, punctuated by the white lightning of hunger and the flickering of fear. His clothes were old and many windowed. Here peeped a shinbone, sharp as a cold chisel, and there in the torn coat were ribs like the fingers of a fist. He was tall and flat. His eyes were calm and his face was dead.”


And you’re hooked. Sturgeon has lured you into his most renowned work and you are held by this quiet, out of the way brilliance that compelled you siren-like from the bottom shelf of the used bookstore.

Bradburyian in its poetic beauty, akin to Philip K. Dick in its unabashed inimitability, More Than Human evokes a standard whereby science fiction ceases to be a genre, defies label and containment, and becomes simply a very good story. Lacking the epic quality of Arthur C. Clarke or the brash, but approachable engineering sensibility of Robert A. Heinlein, Sturgeon has crafted a story unique in its time and place and yet one that heralds a greater creation. Sturgeon quietly, but confidently ushers in a new age of speculative fiction.

This is not altogether “hard science fiction” but more well rounded, introspective and psychologically challenging, the kind that Philip K. Dick or Ursula K. LeGuin would write (this reminded me very much of Dick’s Dr. Bloodmoney) and there are also elements of horror that would have made proud King, Matheson, or even Lovecraft.

First published in 1953 and winner of the International Fantasy Award and nominated for the 1954 Hugo, a nominee along with Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood's End (of which More Than Human bears a thematic resemblance), missing the mark only to Ray Bradbury’s epochal Fahrenheit 451.

More Than Human is just a very well written book and defies an easy categorization.

Profile Image for Baba.
3,563 reviews862 followers
February 1, 2023
SF Masterworks 28 - although first published in 1953, this has aged extremely well, and is, from the off, a masterclass in how to make your story timeless. Now the book itself - and what an extraordinary book it is - seven people with different types of evolved power (telekinesis, mind control, teleportation etc.) struggle as outsiders amongst ('normal') people that they can't relate to, but who are aware of their otherness. In a very unpredictable and stunning approach, a lot of this book is about the paths taken and choices made, that sees these people come together, and find what they didn't really know that they were looking for.

Most, if not all the chapters are from the prospective of one of the seven. At times you didn't even know who's chapter it was, until many pages in. The writer also plays with time, so many of the chapters are out of chronological sync, and sometimes becomes whole swathes of time past. It's like he was trying to make you really see the world in their eyes, and I feel it works well.

The number one reason why this is an exceptional piece of work, is simply because there is nothing else there like it. And I just love one of the book's key themes - if there are supermen, can they get super lonely? Damn! 8.5 out of 12 - Four Star read. Collecting and reading these SF Masterworks has been an unexpected and enlightening joy!

2020 read
Profile Image for Glenn Russell.
1,359 reviews11.8k followers
June 18, 2022

Beginning in the 60s and 70s, readers witnessed a fresh approach in the world of science fiction, an approach that switched its focus from outer space to inner space. This innovation came to be known as New Wave SF. Some of the New Wave authors include Michael Moorcock, J.G. Ballard, M. John Harrison, Brian Aldiss, Philip K. Dick, Samuel R. Delany, Thomas M. Disch, Norman Spinrad and Harlan Ellison.

If we search out a key precursor for this cutting edge, creative angle on science fiction, we have Theodore Sturgeon (1918-1985), prolific short-story writer and author of a string of novels, most notably his 1953 More Than Human.

More Than Human surely counts as one of the weirdest SF novels every written. In addition to positing one possibility in the next stage of human evolution, the three interconnecting novellas that make up Sturgeon's work incorporate themes that will come to dominate the New Wave - among their number: exploring the dimensions of sanity and madness, race and sexuality, the nature of identity and morality, the fluidity of our five senses, emphasis on psychiatry, probing the values of modern society.

More Than Human is a multifaceted novel raising a host of provocative philosophic questions. The story revolves around a number of children and young adults, all physically and/or emotionally damaged in their own way, children who, via strange, extraordinary psychic powers, unite (the term they use is “blesh”) into one mind and act as one unified organism. Theodore Sturgeon outlines their progress toward a developed gestalt consciousness (homo gestalt) envisioned as the next critical step in human evolution.

Does this sound in any way desirable? On the positive side, in his book One Mind, How Our Individual Mind is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why it Matters, author Larry Dossey draws on the idea that all individual minds on our planet, human and non-human, participate in an infinite, all-inclusive level of consciousness, a way of perceiving consciousness going back to the ancient world, expressed in such texts as The Upanishads, positive in the sense that it is inclusive of everyone and such universal awareness can engender a greater appreciation and respect for all life on the planet.

But what if, as in More Than Human, only certain individuals have access to their own version of a unified gestalt? And what if they use paranormal powers for their own gain at the expense of others? Questions to keep in mind while reading Theodore Sturgeon's original, highly engaging classic.

American author Theodore Sturgeon, 1918-1985
Profile Image for Apatt.
507 reviews781 followers
August 16, 2017
“We’re not a group of freaks. We’re Homo Gestalt, you understand? We’re a single entity, a new kind of human being. We weren’t invented. We evolved. We’re the next step up. We’re alone; there are no more like us. We don’t live in the kind of world you do, with systems of morals and codes of ethics to guide us. We’re living on a desert island with a herd of goats!”

More Than Human is all about “Homo Gestalt” a group of humans with different psi abilities living together as one unit. It is not about a hive mind like the creepy kids in The Midwich Cuckoo. It is closer to the X-Men with specialized individual abilities, but still not quite the same thing as the emphasis here is on their symbiosis; not to mention the themes that Sturgeon explores throughout the book. This is my third reading of More Than Human, a book I loved as a teenager, I read it again in 2011 and reviewed it briefly here, now six years later and having written hundreds of book reviews since, I believe I can be more analytical in my reviews, or perhaps simply more spectacularly longwinded.

More Than Human is divided into three parts, each part has its own conclusion and there is always a change in the narrative the point of view, and even prose style, in each part. There is a feeling of a fresh start at the beginning of each part then the narrative gradually approaches and reconnects with the novel’s main story arc and the central characters. The book reads a little like a fix-up novel, consisting of three interrelated novellas. However, they do form a cohesive story by the end of the book.

PART ONE The Fabulous Idiot:
The book begins with the story of Lone, the fabulous idiot who has no communication skills but manages to survive by somehow always getting whatever he needs from strangers just by looking at them. One day he comes across a girl who immediately form a psychic link with him, things go badly with this girl thanks to her insane father. Sometime later he meets a girl with telekinesis, a pair of twins with teleportation ability, and adopts a strange mongoloid baby; and so the nucleus of the “gestalt” is formed. This section of the book is mainly about being society’s outcasts, loneliness and the natural imperative to find a family and a home, to belong.

PART TWO Baby is Three:
The narrative point of view is shifted to Gerry Thompson, a young man with psi ability similar to Lone’s. He appears to be suffering from partial amnesia and he is consulting a psychiatrist to help dig out the buried memory. His session with the shrink forms a frame story for a flashback narrative about how he is introduced to Lone and becomes integrated into the gestalt. The ending of this section is unexpected and rather grim.

The narrative of this section is in the first person and written in a colloquial prose style. This section is a little like a sci-fi horror story while exploring the themes of prejudice and misanthropy; how nothing good ever stem out of them.

PART THREE Morality:
The narrative is told in the third person again for this concluding section of the book. The protagonist of this section is Hip Barrows, a young man who is a brilliant engineer, he was an up and coming lieutenant until he is mysteriously dismissed from the military. Like Gerry in the previous part, he has lost his memory, though his case is more extreme as he can barely remember who he is. At the beginning of this section, Hip is in prison for attacking a man, and he has no memory of what made him do it. Fortunately, he is rescued from prison by a mysterious girl who helps to nurse him physically and mentally back to health. The girl is linked to the gestalt and Hip slowly learns his own backstory through a process called “reverse abreaction”. The theme of moral and ethical responsibilities is the focus of this last section, with lots of cool psychic battles to keep the narrative lively.
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Every time I read this book (years apart) I find something new to appreciate. This time I particularly like the mix of lyrical prose and the occasional whimsy, the prose style reminds me a lot of Bradbury. Like Bradbury, Sturgeon goes in and out of the lyrical mode as the story requires. However, sometimes I feel Sturgeon overdoes it, and at unsuitable points in the narrative, to the detriment of the narrative's pacing; this is just a minor flaw, though. By the end of the book, I realized what thematic idea Sturgeon is trying to convey in this book. Power corrupts, and you know what they say about absolute power, but what if there is another step above absolute power? Is ethos this next step? In spite of its title, More Than Human is about humanity, it is a very humane and compassionate book.

On the sci-fi side, More Than Human is clearly soft sci-fi, there is practically no real science behind all the psychic goings on. There is an anti-gravity device which plays a surprisingly significant part in the plotline. While the narrative has a linear timeline it is oddly constructed, probably for some poetic effect. The shift in narrative style in each part is a little disorienting, but Sturgeon always gets back on track before any real confusion sets in, the book is less than 200 pages long after all.

More Than Human is a classic sci-fi book that has not been out of print since the 50s. You may have heard of “Sturgeon's law” that reads “ninety percent of everything is crap.” This book is definitely in the 10% non-crap segment. What amazes me is why Theodore Sturgeon is not more popular or well known today, most of his books are out of print. A single paragraph from this book is worth more than the entire Twilight saga put together.
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• There are some violence and nastiness in the book. One poor lad is afflicted with acne rosacea for crossing the wrong mutant. There are also several murders which are referred to but not depicted.

Kurt Vonnegut fans may already know this, Kilgore Trout is based on Theodore Sturgeon, who was a good friend of his.
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“Like a stone in a peach, a yolk in an egg, he carried another thing. It was passive, it was receptive, it was awake and alive. If it was connected in any way to the animal integument, it ignored the connexions. It drew its substance from the idiot and was otherwise unaware of him.”

“Softly, she sang. It was strange to hear for she did not know music; she did not read and had never been told of music. But there were birds, there was the bassoon of wind in the eaves sometimes; there were the calls and cooings of small creatures in that part of the wood which was hers and, distantly, from the part which was not. Her singing was made of these things, with strange and effortless fluctuations in pitch from an instrument unbound by the diatonic scale, freely phrased.”

“The night he cried, he discovered consciously that if he wished, he could absorb a message, a meaning, from those about him. It had happened before, but it happened as the wind happened to blow on him, as reflexively as a sneeze or a shiver.”

An audio book in vinyl format, read by Sturgeon.
Profile Image for Lark Benobi.
Author 1 book1,864 followers
January 30, 2019
I have no explanation for my deep love of this novel. It's hokey and ridiculous and overwrought and leaves bushels of interesting themes all over the place, unassembled. It's hopelessly dated. I love it. I connect with these very implausible characters. I revere this author for writing with such careless abandon of form or plot and who still keeps me riveted. This may have been my fourth or fifth reading of this particular novel. It's one of my security-blanket books.
Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 47 books128k followers
January 12, 2010
Were I to take an in-depth Sci-Fi course I would definitely want to explore the deeper meanings of this book, lots of layered psychological here. I'm already reserving it for a re-read. It is disturbing and fascinating, the story of an...evolved group of creatures, the only way I can describe it. Just try it, it's short but packed with wonderment.
Profile Image for Kevin Kuhn.
Author 2 books566 followers
October 30, 2022
“More than Human” was published in 1953 by American Science Fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon. This novel was a fix-up of three novellas. It was awarded a retro-Hugo in 2004 and also won the 1954 International Fantasy Award. I found it to be a frustrating read, but ultimately rewarding.

I want to start with Sturgeon, who’s life I find fascinating. He was a merchant marine sailor, a door-to-door refrigerator salesman, a Jamaican hotel manager, and a construction worker. All of those jobs happened before he was 25! During that time, he was writing and had some short stories published. Eventually, he found his home in the literary world, starting as an advertising copywriter, and then opening his own literary agency. His work was varied and important. He published dozens of short stories and over ten speculative fiction novels & novelizations. He ghostwrote a well-loved Ellery Queen mystery novel. Sturgeon wrote several Star Trek episodes which introduced the Vulcan blessing, “live long and prosper,” as well as the Vulcan mating ritual – pon farr. Two of his short stories were adapted for “The New Twilight Zone.”

Back to the story (“More than Human”) at hand, I found the first third to be muddled and intentionally ambiguous. I don’t mind vague elements in my stories, I dislike predictable stories. But this felt like Sturgeon was trying too hard to be literary and abstract and it took me out of the story. We also jump in and out of multiple character perspectives and timelines, which for me, resulted in a challenging read. It wasn’t until the final third of the book, that I found enough footing to enjoy the story. I’m glad I pushed on, because everything is eventually satisfactorily explained, and I found the ending to be gratifying.

Looking back, the story almost feels like a super-hero origin story and being published in 1953, it makes me wonder what it might have influenced (e.g., X-Men). It has elements you see in many superhero stories – superintelligence, clairvoyance, teleportation, telekinesis, etc. I’m not going to summarize the plot, but the themes explored are also often explored with superheroes such as loneliness, belonging, power, and morality.

Four and a half levitating stars for this challenging read (at least for me), written with stylistic prose and intentionally ambiguous story-telling that ultimately delivers in a satisfying examination of what it means to be human (or more than human!).
Profile Image for Alex.
1,418 reviews4,383 followers
June 4, 2019
Time to admit that I read this and it made very little impression on me. It's obscure and hard to understand, for no particular reason; all that fancy language covers up some pretty conventional emotions. The story itself is fun - humans with special powers form some sort of gestalt - but I would've liked it more if he'd just told it. Gestalt is a fancy word for Voltron.


There's an optimism at the bottom of this book - the idea that humans are, by nature, resourceful and good. There's no real-world evidence for this.
Profile Image for Monica.
594 reviews622 followers
June 12, 2021
Hmmmm, these older classics are tricky. Whereas I appreciated the characterization and creativity, conceptually it still felt a little dated. Sturgeon ponders human evolution. It was definitely creative however, what is perhaps indicative of the times, humans are inherently evil but redeemable. Idk, the cynic in me says meh on the plot but I need to applaud Sturgeon's writing talent. Uncharacteristic of the science fiction writers of that era, Sturgeon is talented. He weaves an interesting tale with a style that is mostly absent in the Golden Age of science fiction. He also seems rather Avant garde in his social views. A writer ahead of his time and an excellent storyteller. In spite of what I would consider a mediocre plot, I can't help but admire the talent. I really like Sturgeon and will definitely be reading more of his books and stories.

3.5ish Stars

Listened to the Audible. Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison were excellent narrators.
Profile Image for Palmyrah.
256 reviews57 followers
January 3, 2013
One I missed back in the early Eighties when I was going through the classics of science fiction like a hot knife through butter. Maybe I'd have liked it better if I'd read it back then. Probably not.

It's an act of charity to call this SF at all. It's supposed to be about the emergence of a new species, but from an evolutionary point of view the emergence described could not possibly take place – the whole concept is ridiculously unscientific. The story does contain one authentic science-fictional device – an antigravity generator – but this has only peripheral relevance and the author doesn't even bother to make it credible. In fact, his account of how the thing is made and used positively insults the reader's intelligence.

The real story here is about a group of subnormal or disturbed young people with parapsychological powers. That's right, telepathy, telekinesis and so forth. Such mumbo-jumbo, good reader, makes up the 'scientific' content of this 'science fiction classic' – justified by one lame paragraph in which the author asserts that credible evidence for such things exists. It does? Show me.

Oh, all right then, never mind. Let's shove the 'science fiction' definition, then, and ask how this works as fantasy. I think the answer is: it probably works all right if you're a lonely, disturbed teenager who wants to believe your social ineptitude is a sign that you're different and special. Readers over the mental age of sixteen, however, are likely to find it all a bit infantile and pathetic.

The writing has moments of genuine quality, but Sturgeon tries too hard and is much too fond of the egregiously quirky metaphor or syntactical conceit to be able to write good prose consistently. The general structure of the novel is messy and contains several confusing chronological shifts, which seem to exist only because the author couldn't find a better way of telling the story. The consistent tone of juvenile anxiety is exhausting and, if you're a grown-up, tedious to a degree. As for the ending, it is irritatingly moralistic and even the genuine surprise at the end is spoiled by too much preaching.

So why was this ever a classic? I suspect the answer lies with those lonely, disturbed teenagers mentioned above. It spoke to them. It told them they were special – that maybe, just maybe, they were... more than human.

But they weren't special, and neither is this book.
Profile Image for Anthony.
Author 4 books1,866 followers
June 6, 2021
A fascinating, poetic, complex classic work of SF by one of the genre’s most revered writers. It’s at once ahead of its time in the themes it explores, the richness of its language, and its heady, experimental approach; and it’s very much rooted in its time with its depiction of hypnotic suggestion, psychology, and psychedelic ideas. It’s my first encounter with Sturgeon’s prose; I was already an admirer of his writing of the indelible Star Trek episode “Amok Time.” I’ll definitely read more of his work, as I found his approach to be altogether compelling. His is the sort of SF that’s deeply interested in what makes humanity tick, and that’s the sort of SF I especially love.
Profile Image for Dave.
3,015 reviews333 followers
June 27, 2021
Theodore Sturgeon's "More Than Human" is one of the strangest and, at the same time, most fascinating novels (or group of three connected novellas) that you will read. It is written in beautiful, otherworldly prose that sets it apart in time and space and begins as if it were a narration of an ancient legend. It jumps a bit between plot lines and the reader may have to read some parts, especially in the beginning, more than once. What is amazing about it is that it was written in 1953 and it explored concepts well ahead of its time such as gestalt or group consciousness, communal living, outcasts banding together, people feeling alone because they were different even when the differences were things ordinary people could not do. It is a story of power and absolute power and of loneliness and disconnectedness. Its about adolescent rebellion.

Sturgeon wrote science fiction, but I am not sure if you could consider this to be of that genre. Despite the telekinesis, the mind reading, the hypnotic trances, the body asportations, the flying car, and the baby with a mind like a giant computer, it is not a future world or a parallel universe story, but one of unusual people with unusual abilities. It is about the geniuses who seem odd and don't fit in. It is about people who appear to be monsters because they can't understand human morality.

This book is not an adventure book. It is not a mystery. It is not a life event novel. It is a concept piece, pure and simple, and it is filled with all kinds of concepts and ideas. It is a rich tapestry about a possible leap in human evolution. Murder, assault, suicide, and the like all appear in here, but are merely side notes in the great symphony that Sturgeon conducts.

There are some that may find this hard to read as it is very untraditional in structure and lacks a normal plot development. It simply may not be for everyone.
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,564 reviews2,312 followers
June 30, 2021
More Than Human
by Theodore Sturgeon

I read this when I was a teen, some 40+ years ago. I can't say I remember anything about it from then but I read almost all his books out at the time. This was nice to revisit to see if it jogged any memories but it didn't. I have too many past books stored up there! Lol! Many must have been reshelved.
The story is about a variety of children who have odd gifts and sometimes physical quirks that make them freaks to most.
I enjoyed how the author followed each character and the reader got to learn about each one and their gift. Then showed how they meshed together. This was very character driven! Janie was my favorite although the twins were pretty amazing!
Some of the first parts were a bit slow but it picked up.
Profile Image for DivaDiane.
948 reviews90 followers
May 7, 2022
5 stars (well, almost!)

Don’t let the beginning put you off!

This is an old book, written in an era when vocabulary, or labels were different to ours. I was a little annoyed at the labels used (idiot/half-wit, negro/colored, mongoloid mostly) but otherwise, the writing was balanced and literary and the people to whom those labels were given had special talents and were valued for their contributions. The beginning is a little bit hard to parse, but things become clearer soon enough.

This is just the type of SF that I love. More social sciences than physical sciences, an extrapolation of who and what humans are and could be, looking at our society with unveiled eyes and imagining a (better?) future than our current trajectory might suggest.

Despite special “talents” our POV characters are so real and events happen in the messy, stuttering way they do in real life. People die or are injured and the action falters.

I am sure I will read this again.

Characters 10/10
Atmosphere 10/10
Writing Style 10/10
Setup 9/10
Plot 9/10
Intrigue 10/10
Logic 10/10
Enjoyment 10/10
Narration 9/10

78 points = 9.7 / 4.9 stars
Profile Image for Hank.
796 reviews73 followers
May 28, 2021
I get why some older books are ground breaking and important but that doesn't mean I have to like them now. More Than Human was one of the earlier sci-fi novels that recieved some acclaim for "transending" science ficture and pushing it more towards literature. As usual, my tendency is to rate older novels based on today's writing and as usual they don't usually measure up.

The speculative part which is multiple humans makeing up a greater whole, isn't well explored. Sturgeon basically slapped together a few basic X-men qualities and tried to make a story out of it. The writing isn't particularly dated but the interaction between Jerry(sp?) and the psychiatrist definitely sounded 1950s and there were a few Negros thrown in.

One difference between then and now that I noticed was the handling of death. I feel like most of the books I read now, the death of one of the notable characters is treated as a fairly traumatic event, which it should be, but in More Than Human, death of people is almost treated as inevitable, which it is, and not to be too troubled by. Granted I can point out lots of books writing in the last 10 years where lots of people die and not much more is said about it but there always seems to be some sort of grieving over a beer or some other recognition that death is somewhat final and should be lamented as such. I never got that feeling from this book.

There are vanishing few sci-fi books older than about 30 years that I have enjoyed lately. This gets points for originality based on when it was written but it isn't a book I think people need to or should read.

Profile Image for Juan Quiroga.
Author 1 book81 followers
March 8, 2020
Leído por recomendación y... OMG! Es verdad que es muy difícil explicar la trama de este libro porque hacerlo es arruinar la magia del mismo. Simplemente puedo decirles que es único en su género y si están acostumbrados a ver series y películas cuyos protagonistas tengan poderes sobrenaturales (excluyendo a los superhéroes de historietas), denle una oportunidad.
Fraccionado en tres partes, cada uno con un ritmo en especial, el autor delimita claramente la construcción de una novela (inicio/principio-conflicto/desarrollo-desenlace/conclusión).
Recomendado para los que ya están empapados en la ciencia ficción.
Profile Image for Olethros.
2,617 reviews429 followers
April 21, 2021
-Bastante adelantado a su tiempo.-

Género. Ciencia ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. El libro Más que humano (publicación original: More Than Human, 1953, pero creado a partir de tres novelas cortas de las que la primera se publicó en 1952) nos presenta al idiota, un hombre con muchas deficiencias cognitivas y sociales que, además, tiene unas enormes capacidades telepáticas. Poco a poco conoce a unas pocas personas como él, con mayor o menor éxito en el contacto, y comienza a socializar a su manera con la mejor de las intenciones y con un objetivo del que no es consciente.

¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:

Profile Image for Amanda.
275 reviews170 followers
December 17, 2009
OK- what to even say about this masterpiece- which it undoubtably is! For all u fools out there who do not think science fiction can be literature of the highest degree, u obviously haven't read a book like More Than Human- because if this book doesn't blow that dense, dull-witted notion out of your mind, nothing will and u should be publicly shunned forevermore.
Written in the 50's and it still didn't seem dated at all! That alone is an astounding feat. Anyway, i don't even think i can begin to praise it like it deserves, so i won't. I'm gonna go find another Sturgeon book to read
Profile Image for Allison Hurd.
Author 3 books703 followers
June 21, 2021
I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. I enjoy stories of people who share consciousness and purpose, like Sense8 or Escape to Witch Mountain, and I think this is likely one of the early influences of those stories.


Things to love:

-The writing. This does not feel at all like the standard pulpy "golden age" scifi read. It's considered, experimental, and sort of urbanely "rustic" a la Tennessee Williams.

-The characters. This is NOT AT ALL what I was expecting, and just goes to show that we don't have to accept writers who wrote bad things because "that's how it was then." In this book we have people with mental health disabilities, people of color, strong women, people who've suffered various abuses, and all of it felt...kind. Even when bad things are happening or terrible people are saying terrible things, we are left to understand that the author has lived through this hurt with the characters, is demonstrating something with it, and thinks we ought to do better.

-The messages. This can be read on its own as a story about shared consciousness and telepathy and such, but we keep coming back to such human things that I think it's more a reflection on society, on what it means to be an individual, what it means to be moral, and how wrong we get it even when you try so hard.

Things I didn't love:

-A bit haphazard. The plot has a sort of meandering, dreamy quality to it so you accept what happens next, but there are odd breaks in this for a certain stream of consciousness meta analysis of the characters and their lives that gets a bit too convoluted or Jungian or something for me to follow entirely.

-Could have. A pet peeve of mine is people writing the contraction form of the modal verb (could have/ should have, would have) with "of" instead of 've. I think the author was doing it intentionally to show vernacular, but gosh it was annoying.

-Still a savior story. Even with all the women whom the characters admire, respect and cherish, we're still led to believe that the men are the brains of the operation and will save everyone. This was just a minor pout really as like I said I feel this book was more thoughtful in its characterization overall, so I don't think that was the intent, but this is my review and I get to huff about a quibble if I want.

-Ending. A bit abrupt. I wanted a bit more polish here to match the quality at the beginning.

All in all, this is a well told, complex story I'm glad to have read. Quick, insightful and fascinating.
Profile Image for Kevin.
496 reviews83 followers
February 9, 2022
Classic Sci-Fi from one of the Godfathers of the genre. Sturgeon’s tale of an assemblage of misfits, each with a special skill, coming together to perform as a single organism [“Homo gestalt”] is both dark and strangely uplifting. I’m not really a connoisseur of fiction but occasionally, from time to time, I stumble upon a hidden gem or an underrated opus. This might be one of those times.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11k followers
January 28, 2010
4.0 stars. Ground-breaking science fiction novel that first explored the concept of the "gestalt" consciousness while dealing with emotional issues of identity and fitting in to society. This is on my list to re-read as it has been some time since I read this.

Nominee: Hugo (Retro) Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Profile Image for Whitaker.
294 reviews502 followers
May 7, 2012
I think the only meaningful ratings on GR are *, **, and *****. Those are pretty clear: “I disliked it”, “it was okay”, and “it was amazing”. *** and **** exist in that intermediate stage between “meh” (**) and “wow” (*****). “I liked it” and “I really liked it”. WTF? How exactly do I differentiate between “liking” something and “really liking” it?

A lot of how we respond to stories is so personal to what we enjoy and what we’ve read before. One thing that I usually like in books is when it throws up an idea that I’ve not come across before. That’s my little spark that can turn a “like” to a “really like”. It can be a really small thing that makes that difference and is so intimately intertwined with my personal reading history that it’s essentially meaningless for anyone else. Whatever it is, however, this book had that little difference for me.

To talk about it would require me to talk about the ending, so before I get to that, a little bit about how I responded to the rest of the book. This is how it starts:
The idiot lived in a black and gray world, punctuated by the white lightning of hunger and the flickering of fear. His clothes were old and many-windowed. Here peeped a shin-bone, sharp as a cold chisel, and there in the torn coat were ribs like the fingers of fist. He was tall and flat. His eyes were calm and his face was dead.
That first paragraph drew me in. The images (lightning, chisel, fist) were strong and compelling. We feel the harshness and violence of his world before we are even told about it. The long, flowing, imagistic sentences at the beginning end in the flat and mimetic “His eyes were calm and his face was dead.” That’s good stuff.

We’re pretty much in 2001 / Many-Coloured Land territory: the so-called next stage of human evolution. This invariably seems to involve some step up to a more powerful being, and that’s actually pretty iffy science since evolution isn’t directed and no one can tell what’s better or worse. The next step up for some reason always involves psychic powers: less body, more mind. Sturgeon’s spin on this (and not the nifty idea that I liked) is the notion of homo gestalt. It sort of makes sense: cells came together to form more complex organisms, so why not those complex organisms themselves coming together in a similar fashion:
He says he is a figure-outer brain and I am a body and the twins are arms and legs and you are the head. He says the ‘I’ is all of us.
Or explained in another way:
I’m the central ganglion of a complex organism which is composed of Baby, a computer; Bonnie and Beanie, teleports; Janie, telekineticist; and myself, telepath and central control.
The novel itself is made up of three parts. Parts two and three essentially involve a recounting of past events: the conflict is supplied by a character struggling to understand himself through an uncovering and recounting of the past. It’s a relatively brisk and efficient technique that allows a great deal of exposition to be covered in a short amount of space, while still keeping a certain amount of forward dramatic tension going. I’m not sure the story could have withstood a more detailed labouring over the details of the formation of the gestalt, so that was good too.

All of this was enough for it to get the “I liked it” tag, but Sturgeon does bring one additional idea to the table that lifted it for me above “liked it”.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
793 reviews19 followers
July 16, 2011
This is my first novel by Theodore Sturgeon and it most certainly will not be the last. I read the book in one sitting. I'm not sure now if that was a good idea but I was entranced, could not sleep, and it is rather short. I was certain the book would be listed on my favorites shelf but the ending, or certain characterisitcs of the ending, forced me to withdraw from the book and look at it from the outside, not from within as I had the majority of the story.

I knew before beginning that Sturgeon initially wrote Baby is Three, the middle section of the novel. This publication and what Sturgeon was critically acclaimed for, was essentially 3 novellas combined, with the same characters but each separated by a few years. The Fabulous Idiot was added as the beginning and Morality the end. Baby is Three is my uncontested favorite and I wish I could place it solely on my favorites shelf but the work is complete and needs the other pieces to be enjoyed.

The book centers around a number of neglected and abused children who eventually meet and begin to form a gestalt group. I found the idea fascinating and was blown away by the knowledge that this book was published in 1953. Sturgeon's prose was riveting and shocking at times. I do not want to mention anything more about the plot as I went into the book knowing nothing, not even about the gestalt topic, so the less you know about the book, I think the more you will enjoy it. I guess this is nothing new. Many reviews give away too much.

The reason for the 4 stars, as I mentioned, is due to my problems with the ending. First off, reading a book about children who rarely spoke like children but did on occasion act like children worked for me. It was all very believable. But in the final section, I thought the dialogue took a turn downward. When Sturgeon began to write about adults acting like adults and speaking like adults, he lost me. I no longer felt connected through the dialogue at all and consequently, this kicked my head out of the story and the ending fell a little flat. I liked the ending and thought it was perfect otherwise. Sturgeon's prose was beautiful throughout the rest of the book.

In the end, if you are a fan of classic science fiction then this is a required read.
Profile Image for Paul.
2,308 reviews20 followers
March 20, 2020
This undoubtedly deserves its place as a much-lauded classic of the SF genre and it has spawned countless imitators (not least of which being Lee and Kirby’s X-Men) but, and this is probably unpopular opinion time again, it is not perfect.

Putting aside the fact that the prose gets more than a little purple at times, this novel is an expanded revision of a previously published novella... and it reads like it. Every section of this book is excellent standing alone but when you look at it all as a whole it does feel a little slapped together and not that carefully either.

Still, definitely a great book and well worth reading.
Profile Image for YouKneeK.
645 reviews79 followers
June 5, 2021
It’s difficult to provide a teaser for this story without spoiling anything. I went into it blind and was pretty confused about what I was reading at the beginning, but it soon starts to make sense, and seeing the bigger picture form was part of the fun. I’ll just talk about the very beginning. In the beginning, we’re introduced to an “idiot”. He doesn’t speak, he doesn’t seem to have any intelligent thoughts, he doesn’t have a family or a home. He wanders around, with no reliable source of food or shelter. Sometimes people mistreat him, sometimes people help him. Sometimes, if he gets really desperate, people do exactly what he needs them to do, even if they didn’t want to.

This book was published in 1953. For the most part, it aged well and it’s very readable. It appears to be set around the time when it was published, and there aren't many references to technology anyway, so there aren’t as many jarring moments compared to books from the same time period that focus more heavily on technology. I didn't notice much sexism. There were a couple of racist characters, but they weren't intended to be likeable and we didn’t spend much time with them. The main thing that startled me and frequently reminded me I was reading an older book was the use of the term mongoloid.

Most of the fun for me was in learning what exactly the point of this weird story was, as well as guessing and learning about what happened in the parts of the story that weren’t told in a linear manner. I thought the journey was better than the destination, though -- the ending fell flat for me. I have more comments on that behind the spoiler tags below. I’m rating this 3.5 stars, because I enjoyed it while I read it, but rounding down to 3 on Goodreads because I wasn’t very satisfied with it by the end.

Profile Image for Stuart.
718 reviews268 followers
April 25, 2015
More Than Human: Introducing the “Homo Gestalt”
(Also posted at Fantasy Literature)
This book must have been quite an eye-opener back in 1953 in the Golden Age of Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke, where robots, rocket ships, future societies and aliens ruled the roost. For one thing, it hardly features any credible science at all, and in tone and atmosphere owes more to magic realism and adult fantasy. In fact, the writing reminds me most of Ray Bradbury, full of poetry and powerful images. Try reading just the opening paragraph for instance:

“THE IDIOT LIVED IN a black and gray world, punctuated by the white lightning of hunger and the flickering of fear. His clothes were old and many-windowed. Here peeped a shinbone, sharp as a cold chisel, and there in the torn coat were ribs like the fingers of a fist. He was tall and flat. His eyes were calm and his face was dead.”

The story involves the forming of a "homo gestalt" group organism assembled from various misfit and mistreated children, and the book is broken into three parts, "The Fabulous Idiot", "Baby is Three", and "Morality". Apparently "Baby is Three" was written first as a novella, and I wonder if anyone has picked up on the idea that the book itself is a cobbled together construct that, in my mind at least, adds up to less than the sum of its parts. What would that make it, then? I don't know the antonym of "gestalt" in German or English.

I found the first section "The Fabulous Idiot" to be the best written and most involving, and while the next two sections became interesting midway through, they both involved the main characters spending dozens of pages lost in their own identities, painstakingly trying to piece together who they were. As a result, this reader at least felt equally disoriented. And there were many times when I had to re-read a passage several times to tease out who was saying what. Although I imagine this was the effect that Sturgeon was going for, I found it a bit difficult to read at times.

I did like the ending, despite some heavy exposition about morality (at least it was concise), and overall the story does not read like something written in the fifties. So I give it props for pushing the envelope of the times with its heavy focus on psychology, ethics, and abuse of children, but it didn't add up as a fully developed novel, which is so often the case for something expanded from a shorter novella.
Profile Image for Oleksandr Zholud.
1,080 reviews108 followers
February 11, 2019
This is a SF novel won the second ever Hugo Award in 1954. I read it as a part of Monthly reads in Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels

This is interesting story, which had rather revolutionary ideas for its time, but now is a little outdated. It describes the next step in human evolution, Homo gestalt ( “You’re afraid of Homo Gestalt.”
He made a wonderful effort and smiled. “That’s bastard terminology.”
“We’re a bastard breed,”
), a community of people, who are parts of something more than human. One can trace the evolution part down to many SF stories of the Golden Age, where present day people meet ‘evolved’ homos, from say Shock by Lewis Padgett to Last and First Men to Slan. However, all of them saw evolution of individual, not a community. And going to the future, one can see similarities with hive mind and drummers from The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer. Therefore, this story is an important link between the two.

The novel has three parts, a triptych of different pictures. The first describes a mentally underdeveloped man, Lone, a young girl Janie, telekinetic, two black girls (I guess this is one of the earliest SF novels where supportive cast are people of color) and mongoloid baby (possibly Down syndrome), who together become a new organism. The second part is done in currently outdated pop-psychology, which reminds of Alfred Hitchcock and other Hugo-winning novels – The Demolished Man and Gateway. The third part is once again with new characters and more pop-psychology.

It is a naïve book but it is very interesting if you what to see development of SF ideas.
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