Theodore Sturgeon was born 100 years ago

Edward Hamilton Waldo, this is his birth name, was born on February 26, 1918 in New York, USA. His parents divorced when he was still a child, his mother remarried to William Sturgeon and he took his surname also changing his personal name, hence becoming legally Theodore Sturgeon.

Theodore Sturgeon’s career as a writer began almost by accident. During his adolescence he practiced gymnastics and wanted to become a trapeze artist but contracted a rheumatic fever which caused him health problems that forced him to stop his gymnastic activity. In 1935 he started working as a sailor for the merchant marine and the three years spent in the seas gave him ideas he later put into various stories.

After that experience Theodore Sturgeon started writing and his first science fiction story, “The Ether Breather”, was published in 1939 in the magazine “Astounding Science Fiction”. For years he wrote short fiction, not just science fiction, published in various magazines such as “Unknown” and “Argosy Magazine”, sometimes using some pseudonyms.

Initially Theodore Sturgeon’s stories were good but nothing special but the first phase of his career lasted only a few years. In 1940 he moved with the family he created after his first marriage to Jamaica to manage a hotel. Because of World War II the situation in that area became difficult so in the following years he lived in various countries doing various jobs. After the end of the war he returned to the USA, where he resumed his work as a writer with better results. At the same time he also started working as a literary agent.

In 1950 Theodore Sturgeon published his first novel, “The Dreaming Jewels”, also known as “The Synthetic Man”, first in the magazine “Fantastic Adventures” and later in a revised version as a book. In 1953 Theodore Sturgeon published his second novel, “More Than Human”, obtained fixing-up three previously published stories. These are the novels considered his masterpieces, in which he develops at best some elements typical of his works with misfit protagonists.

During the 1950s, Theodore Sturgeon also started working on screenplays for various Tv shows. The most famous are probably the ones of the episodes “Shore Leave” and “Amok Time” of “Star Trek” original series.

In the course of a life marked by various marriages with a number of children, Theodore Sturgeon also managed to write some other novels such as “The Cosmic Rape” (1958) and “Venus Plus X” (1960) also editing a number anthologies that collected his short fiction. His work as a writer became less frequent since the 1960s.

Theodore Sturgeon lived for several years in Springfield, Oregon, where he died on May 8, 1985 of pulmonary fibrosis. He left a mark in the field of science fiction with stories in which he explores his characters’ humanity in various ways. He’s also known for the law that bears his name that states that Ninety percent of [science fiction] is crud, but then, ninety percent of everything is crud”.

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