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The Ultimate Egoist

The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon: Book 1

Theodore Sturgeon

The Ultimate Egoist, the first volume of The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, contains the late author's earliest work, written from 1937 to 1940. Although Sturgeon's reach was limited to the lengths of the short story and novelette, his influence was strongly felt by even the most original science fiction stylists, including Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and Gene Wolfe, all contributors of laudatory forewords. The more than forty stories here showcase Sturgeon's masterful knack with clever, O. Henry-ish plot twists, sparkling character development, and archetypal "why didn't I think of that?" story ideas. Early Sturgeon masterpieces include "It," about the violence done by a creature spontaneously born from garbage and mud, and "Helix the Cat," about an inventor's bizarre encounter with a disembodied soul and the cat that saves it. Sturgeon's unique genius is timelessly entertaining.

Table of Contents:

  • Editor's Note by Paul Williams
  • About Theodore Sturgeon by Ray Bradbury
  • About Theodore Sturgeon by Arthur C. Clarke
  • About Theodore Sturgeon by Gene Wolfe
  • Heavy Insurance
  • The Heart
  • Cellmate
  • Fluffy
  • Alter Ego
  • Mailed through a Porthole
  • A Noose of Light
  • Strangers on a Train
  • Accidentally on Porpoise
  • The Right Line
  • Golden Day
  • Permit Me My Gesture
  • Watch My Smoke
  • The Other Cheek
  • Extraordinary Seaman
  • One Sick Kid
  • His Good Angel
  • Some People Forget
  • A God in a Garden
  • Fit for a King
  • Ex-Bachelor Extract
  • East Is East
  • Three People
  • Eyes of Blue
  • Ether Breather
  • Her Choice
  • Cajun Providence
  • Strike Three
  • Contact!
  • The Call
  • Helix the Cat
  • To Shorten Sail
  • Thanksgiving Again
  • Bianca's Hands
  • Derm Fool
  • He Shuttles
  • Turkish Delight
  • Niobe
  • Mahout
  • The Long Arm
  • The Man on the Steps
  • Punctuational Advice
  • Place of Honor
  • The Ultimate Egoist
  • It
  • Butyl and the Breather
  • Story Notes by Paul Williams
  • Look About You [poem]

Microcosmic God

The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon: Book 2

Theodore Sturgeon

The second of thirteen volumes that reprint all Sturgeon's short fiction covers his prolific output during 1940 and 1941, after which he suffered five years of writer's block. Showcasing Sturgeon's early penchant for fantasy, the first six selections include whimsical ghost stories, such as "Cargo," in which a World War II munitions freighter is commandeered by invisible, peace-loving fairies.

With the publication of his enduring science fiction classic, "Microcosmic God," Sturgeon finally found his voice, combining literate, sharp-edged prose with fascinating speculative science while recounting the power struggle between a brilliant scientist, who creates his own miniature race of gadget makers, and his greedy banker. Every one of the stories here is entertaining today because of Sturgeon's singular gifts for clever turns of phrase and compelling narrative. As Samuel R. Delaney emphasizes in an insightful introduction, Sturgeon was the single most influential science fiction writer from the 1940s through the 1960s.

Table of Contents:

  • Editor's Note by Paul Williams
  • Foreword: Theodore Sturgeon by Samuel R. Delany
  • Cargo
  • Shottle Bop
  • Yesterday Was Monday
  • Brat
  • The Anonymous
  • Two Sidecars
  • Microcosmic God
  • The Haunt
  • Completely Automatic
  • Poker Face
  • Nightmare Island
  • The Purple Light
  • Artnan Process
  • Biddiver
  • The Golden Egg
  • Two Percent Inspiration
  • The Jumper
  • Story Notes by Paul Williams
  • Microcosmic God: Unfinished Early Draft


The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon: Book 3

Theodore Sturgeon

Killdozer! is the third volume of a series of the complete short stories from Theodore Sturgeon's career. It contains a few of his best and most famous short stories: "Medusa", "Killdozer!" and "Mewhu's Jet." The series editor Paul Williams has dug into the background of each story, and come up with a lot of interesting lore about Sturgeon. Especially of interest in this volume is the alternative original ending to "Mewhu's Jet."

Table of Contents:

  • Editor's Note by Paul Williams
  • Foreword by Robert Silverberg
  • Blabbermouth
  • Medusa
  • Ghost of a Chance
  • The Bones
  • The Hag Séleen
  • Killdozer! (revised)
  • Abreaction
  • Poor Yorick!
  • Crossfire
  • Noon Gun
  • Bulldozer is a Noun
  • August Sixth, 1945
  • The Chromium Helmet
  • Memorial
  • Mewhu's Jet
  • Story Notes by Paul Williams
  • Afterword by Robert A. Heinlein

Thunder and Roses

The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon: Book 4

Theodore Sturgeon

Thunder and Roses is the fourth volume in The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon. Included in Thunder and Roses are 15 stories, with major works like "Maturity," "The Professor's Teddy Bear," "A Way Home," and the title story, in addition to two works never published before.

Table of Contents:

  • Editor's Note by Paul Williams
  • Foreword by James E. Gunn
  • Maturity (1947)
  • Tiny and the Monster (1947)
  • The Sky Was Full of Ships (1947)
  • Largo (1947)
  • Thunder and Roses (1947)
  • It Wasn't Syzygy (1948)
  • The Blue Letter
  • Wham Bop! (1947)
  • Well Spiced (1948)
  • Hurricane Trio (1955)
  • That Low (1948)
  • Memory (1948)
  • There Is No Defense (1948)
  • The Professor's Teddy Bear (1948)
  • A Way Home (1953)
  • Story Notes by Paul Williams
  • The Original Second Half of "Maturity"

The Perfect Host

The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon: Book 5

Theodore Sturgeon

The fifth of ten volumes that will reprint all Sturgeon's short fiction covers his prolific output volume contains 15 classics and two previously unpublished stories, including "Quietly." The Perfect Host provides enough of a representative sampling of Sturgeon's "greatest hits" to give the uninitiated a good sense of what all the fuss was about way back when. At the same time it offers a generous selection of alternate takes and rarities, notably several of Sturgeon's best forays into other forms of genre writing, plus previously unreleased cuts and liner notes.

Table of Contents:

  • Editor's Note by Paul Williams
  • Foreword by Larry McCaffery
  • Quietly
  • The Music (1953)
  • Unite and Conquer (1948)
  • The Love of Heaven (1948)
  • Till Death Do Us Join (1948)
  • The Perfect Host (1948)
  • The Martian and the Moron (1949)
  • Die, Maestro, Die! (1949)
  • The Dark Goddess... More to a Marriage...
  • Scars (1949)
  • Messenger (1949)
  • Minority Report (1949)
  • Prodigy (1949)
  • Farewell to Eden (1949)
  • One Foot and the Grave (1949)
  • What Dead Men Tell (1949)
  • The Hurkle Is a Happy Beast (1949)
  • Story Notes by Paul Williams

Baby Is Three

The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon: Book 6

Theodore Sturgeon

Baby Is Three is the sixth volume in the series devoted to the complete works of one of science fiction's titans. Like others in the series, this one includes extensive notes and background information on each story by editor Paul Williams. The early 1950s, during which this material was written, was the beginning of Sturgeon's greatest creative period. The title story for this collection was later expanded into the International Fantasy Award winning novel More Than Human. Sturgeon's whimsical, sardonic sense of humor lifts his work out of the mundane realm of genre science fiction. This wide-ranging collection shows precisely why he has been cited as a primary influence by authors as varied as Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, and Carl Sagan.

Table of Contents:

  • Foreword by David Crosby
  • Shadow, Shadow on the Wall (1951)
  • The Stars Are the Styx (1950)
  • Rule of Three (1951)
  • Make Room for Me (1951)
  • Special Aptitude (1951)
  • The Traveling Crag (1951)
  • Excalibur and the Atom (1951)
  • The Incubi of Parallel X (1951)
  • Never Underestimate (1952)
  • The Sex Opposite (1952)
  • Baby Is Three (1952)
  • Story Notes by Paul Williams
  • "Author, Author" (essay, 1950)
  • Men Behind Fantastic Adventures: Theodore Sturgeon (essay, 1951)

A Saucer of Loneliness

The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon: Book 7

Theodore Sturgeon

Kurt Vonnegut cites Theodore Sturgeon as the inspiration for his character Kilgore Trout. This volume includes 12 stories from 1953, considered Sturgeon's golden era. Among them are such favorites as the title story, "The Silken-Swift," "A Way of Thinking," "The Dark Room," "The Clinic," and "The World Well Lost," a story very ahead of its time in advocating gay rights.

Table of Contents:

  • Foreword by Kurt Vonnegut
  • A Saucer of Loneliness
  • The Touch of Your Hand
  • The World Well Lost
  • And My Fear Is Great
  • The Wages of Synergy
  • The Dark Room
  • Talent
  • A Way of Thinking
  • The Silken-Swift
  • The Clinic
  • Mr. Costello, Hero
  • The Education of Drusilla Strange

Bright Segment

The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon: Book 8

Theodore Sturgeon

Sci-fi master Theodore Sturgeon wrote stories with power and freshness, and in telling them created a broader understanding of humanity--a legacy for readers and writers to mine for generations. Along with the title story, the collection includes stories written between 1953 and 1955, Sturgeon's greatest period, with such favorites as "Bulkhead," "The Golden Helix," and "To Here and the Easel."

Table of Contents:

  • Foreword by William Tenn
  • Cactus Dance
  • The Golden Helix
  • Extrapolation
  • Granny Won't Knit
  • To Here and the Easel
  • When You're Smiling
  • Bulkhead
  • The Riddle of Ragnarok
  • Twink
  • Bright Segment
  • So Near the Darkness
  • Clockwise
  • Smoke!

And Now the News...

The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon: Book 9

Theodore Sturgeon

Written between 1955 and 1957, the 15 stories in And Now the News... include five previously uncollected stories along with five well-known works, two cowritten with genre legend Robert Heinlein. Spanning his most creative period, these tales show why Sturgeon won every science fiction award given.

Table of Contents:

  • Foreword by David G. Hartwell
  • Won't You Walk...?
  • New York Vignette
  • The Half-Way Tree Murder
  • The Skills of Xanadu
  • The Claustrophile
  • Dead Dames Don't Dial
  • Fear Is a Business
  • The Other Man
  • The Waiting Thing Inside (with Don Ward)
  • The Deadly Innocent (with Don Ward)
  • And Now the News...
  • The Girl Had Guts
  • The Other Celia
  • Affair With a Green Monkey
  • The Pod and the Barrier

The Man Who Lost the Sea

The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon: Book 10

Theodore Sturgeon

By the winner of the Hugo, the Nebula, and the World Fantasy Life Achievement Awards, this latest volume finds Theodore Sturgeon in fine form as he gains recognition for the first time as a literary short story writer. Written between 1957 and 1960, when Sturgeon and his family lived in both America and Grenada, finally settling in Woodstock, New York, these stories reflect his increasing preference for psychology over ray guns. Stories such as "The Man Who Told Lies," "A Touch of Strange," and "It Opens the Sky" show influences as diverse as William Faulkner and John Dos Passos. Always in touch with the zeitgeist, Sturgeon takes on the Russian Sputnik launches of 1957 with "The Man Who Lost the Sea," switching the scene to Mars and injecting his trademark mordancy and vivid wordplay into the proceedings. These mature stories also don't stint on the scares, as "The Graveyard Reader"--one of Boris Karloff's favorite stories--shows. Acclaimed novelist Jonathan Lethem's foreword neatly summarizes Sturgeon's considerable achievement here.

Table of Contents:

  • Foreword by Jonathan Lethem
  • A Crime For Llewellyn
  • It Opens the Sky
  • A Touch of Strange
  • The Comedian's Children
  • The Graveyard Reader
  • The Man Who Told Lies
  • The Man Who Lost the Sea
  • The Man Who Figured Everything (with Don Ward)
  • Like Young
  • Night Ride
  • Need
  • How to Kill Aunty
  • Tandy's Story

The Nail and the Oracle

The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon: Book 11

Theodore Sturgeon

This book contains ten major stories by the master of science fiction, fantasy, and horror written during the 1960s. The controversial "If All Men We re Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?" shows the author's technique of "ask the next question" used in a way that shatters social conventions. "When You Care, When You Love" offers a prescient vision of the marriage of deep obsessive love and genetic manipulation, written long before actual cloning techniques existed. "Runesmith" constitutes a rare example of Sturgeon collaborating with a legendary colleague, Harlan Ellison. Included also are two other rarities: two detective stories and a Western that showcase Sturgeon's knack for characterization and action outside his usual genre. "Take Care of Joey" has been read as an allusion to the complex personal relationship between Sturgeon and Ellison, while "It Was Nothing, Really!" hilariously skewers the mores of the military-industrial complex. As always, these stories demonstrate not only Sturgeon's brilliant wordplay but also his timeliness, with "Brown-shoes" and "The Nail and the Oracle" standing out as powerful commentaries on the use and abuse of power that might have been written yesterday.

Table of Contents:

Slow Sculpture

The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon: Book 12

Theodore Sturgeon

Theodore Sturgeon was a model for his friend Kurt Vonnegut's legendary character Kilgore Trout, and his work was an acknowledged influence on important younger writers from Harlan Ellison and Robert Silverberg to Stephen King and Octavia Butler. His work has long been deeply appreciated for its sardonic sensibility, dazzling wordplay, conceptual brilliance, memorable characters, and unsparing treatment of social issues such as sex, war, and marginalized members of society. Sturgeon also authored several episodes of the original Star Trek TV series and originated the Vulcan phrase "Live long and prosper."

This twelfth volume of North Atlantic's ambitious series reprinting his complete short stories includes classic works such as the award-winning title story, which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards in 1971, as well as "Case and the Dreamer," a well-crafted tale of an encounter with a trans-spatial being that is also a meditation on love, and "The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff," a creative exploration of the human ability to achieve self-realization in response to crisis. The book includes a new Foreword, an illuminating section of Story Notes, and a comprehensive index for the entire series.

Table of Contents:

  • Foreword by Connie Willis
  • The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff
  • The Beholders (prev unpub)
  • It's You!
  • Slow Sculpture
  • The Girl Who Knew What They Meant
  • The Patterns of Dorne
  • Crate
  • Suicide
  • Uncle Fremmis
  • Necessary and Sufficient
  • The Verity File
  • Occam's Scalpel
  • Dazed
  • Pruzy's Pot
  • Afterword by Spider Robinson

"A consummate storyteller and someone whose stories had not only heart, but brains and depth."
--Connie Willis, from the foreword

"One of the all-time masters of the sci-fi short story. This multivolume project to bring many of his classic tales back into print is long overdue."
--Publishers Weekly

"Sturgeon's often tender explorations of alien minds were as carefully worked out as Faulkner's exploration of the mind of the idiot in The Sound and the Fury. His emphasis on psychology instead of blasters prepared the way for most modern masters of the science fiction genre."
--Stephen King

"Sturgeon was, in several senses, the conscience of modern science fiction."
--The New York Times

"Sturgeon's stories have an emotional impact unmatched by almost any other writer."
--Arthur C. Clarke

"One of the best writers in America ... Sturgeon is a master storyteller certain to fascinate all sorts of readers, not only science fiction fans."
--Kurt Vonnegut

"Intelligent, humane, tantalizing stories, every one of which evokes the sense of wonder. Sturgeon's stories are treasures from Elfland."
--Carl Sagan

"A terrific writer; I enjoyed every word he published."
--Robert Heinlein

"Sturgeon wrote miraculous short stories.... He found his urgency directed in becoming the John Dos Passos, the William Faulkner, the Ring Lardner, the James Thurber, the Virginia Woolf of science fiction."
--Jonathan Lethem

"The most literate and lyrical writer science fiction ever had."
--Spider Robinson, from the afterword

Case and the Dreamer

The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon: Book 13

Theodore Sturgeon

James Blish called him the "finest conscious artist science fiction ever produced." Kurt Vonnegut based the famous character Kilgore Trout on him. And such luminaries as Harlan Ellison, Stephen King, and Octavia Butler have hailed him as a mentor. Theodore Sturgeon was both a popular favorite and a writer's writer, carving out a singular place in the literary landscape based on his masterful wordplay, conceptual daring, and narrative drive. Sturgeon's sardonic sensibility and his skill at interweaving important social issues such as sex--including gay themes--and war into his stories are evident in all of his work, regardless of genre.

Case and the Dreamer displays Sturgeon's gifts at their peak. The book brings together his last stories, written between 1972 and 1983. They include "The Country of Afterward," a sexually explicit story Sturgeon had been unable to write earlier in his career, and the title story, about an encounter with a transpatial being that is also a meditation on love. Several previously unpublished stories are included, as well as his final one, "Grizzly," a poignant take on the lung disease that killed him two years later. Noted critic and anthologist Paul Williams contextualizes Sturgeon as both man and artist in an illuminating afterword, and the book includes an index to the stories in all thirteen volumes.

Table of Contents:

  • Foreword by Peter S. Beagle and Debbie Notkin
  • Tuesdays Are Worse
  • Case and the Dreamer
  • Agnes, Accent and Access
  • Ingenious Aylmer
  • The Sheriff of Chayute (with Don Ward)
  • The Mysterium (prev unpub)
  • I Love Maple Walnut
  • Blue Butter
  • The Singsong of Cecily Snow
  • Harry's Note
  • Time Warp
  • The Country of Afterward
  • Like Yesterday
  • Why Dolphins Don't Bite
  • Vengeance Is.
  • Seasoning
  • Not an Affair
  • Black Moccasins (prev unpub)
  • The Trick
  • Grizzly
  • Afterword by Paul Williams