Sunday, March 26, 2023

Beyond (mini-review)

(1960) by Theodore Sturgeon

A collection of short stories from science fiction's Golden Age by a man whose name I first encountered as the writer of Star Trek episodes ("Amok Time" and "Shore Leave"). His science fiction often has a dark side and may veer more towards fantasy at times. A fairly interesting collection with two stories having mystery connections as well. I wasn't really taken by "Nighmare Island"--it needed to be more nightmarish or have a different title. My favorites are "Need" and "The Bones." ★★

"Need": A man named Gorwing can "hear" the needs of his fellow men all around him. He does his best to attend to those needs and enlists the help of others in his quest. But it becomes difficult when two persons' needs conflict with one another....

"Abreaction": A bulldozer operator accidentally crosses through a tear in the fabric of the universe. Can he get back to his own reality? And will he remember who he is when he gets there?

"Nightmare Island": An island of intelligent, telepathic worms make a god of an alcoholic shipwrecked sailor.

"Largo": A musician composes his masterpiece--a largo meant to seek revenge on the man who ruined the perfect woman and to ensure that he (the musician) got her back and never lost her again. [three crushed to death] Who knew that you could murder through music?

"The Bones": An inventor (who reminds me for some reason of Doc in Back to the Future) creates a machine that can allow someone wearing headphones to experience the life connected to any bone used in the invention. The Sheriff ask him to use the machine to help get justice for a woman who died in a car accident. But what if the wearer stays connected to the point of the bone's owner's death? [two deaths]

"Like Young": The last remaining humans decide to leave behind lasting records of the sum of humanity's knowledge--a gift to those that will rise to take mankind's place. The animals most like to do so? Otters. But the otters have other ideas about what is important. A parable about man's arrogant view of humanity's importance. 

First line (1st story): Some towns seem able to defy not only time, but change; when this happens in the hinterland, one hardly amazed.

Last line (last story): But me, I'm a joyful throwback...I'm one with my ancestors:--I'm going hunting.

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