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More Than Human | [Theodore Sturgeon]

More Than Human

In this genre-bending novel, among the first to have launched sci fi into literature, a group of remarkable social outcasts band together for survival and discover that their combined powers render them superhuman. Together, they may represent the next step in evolution - or the final chapter in the history of the human race. As they struggle to find whether they are meant to help humanity or destroy it, Sturgeon explores questions of power and morality, individuality and belonging.
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Publisher's Summary

In this genre-bending novel, among the first to have launched sci fi into literature, a group of remarkable social outcasts band together for survival and discover that their combined powers render them superhuman.

There's Lone, the simpleton who can hear other people's thoughts; Janie, who moves things without touching them; and 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 may represent the next step in evolution - or the final chapter in the history of the human race. As they struggle to find whether they are meant to help humanity or destroy it, Sturgeon explores questions of power and morality, individuality and belonging.

©1981 The Theodore Sturgeon Literary Trust; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"One of the best science fiction novels of the year." (New York Times)
"A quantum leap in the development of science fiction as an art." (Washington Post)
"A masterpiece of provocative storytelling." (New York Herald Tribune)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (154 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.6 (85 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.8 (82 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    LEVI Rickmanswoth, United Kingdom 03-20-11
    LEVI Rickmanswoth, United Kingdom 03-20-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beautiful words, wonderfully spoken"

    This book was a wonderfully read by Stefan Rudnicki and the fantastic storyline and beautiful ending was a truly pleasure to listen to, This book was written in the 1950s but stands tall today as a great novel. This coming from someone who isnt a Science Fiction fan. - a wonderful book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy 02-20-13
    Amy 02-20-13 Member Since 2006

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Haunting Classic"

    Sturgeon's classic science fiction novel (really, a series of interwoven stories) is a lyrical, poignant look at "Homo Gestalt," the gifted "freaks" who together form a new organism, the next stage in human evolution. It's a fascinating and often genuinely wrenching thought experiment about prejudice, cruelty, love, empowerment, identity, and belonging. It would've been ideal if the entire work had been read by the same narrator, but I didn't find the shift to be too distracting. Sturgeon's work is deeply disturbing, with brutal and beautiful purpose, and it's very much worth listening to today.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dion Rehoboth Beach, DE, USA 01-16-10
    Dion Rehoboth Beach, DE, USA 01-16-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Must listen"

    What a fantastic book. Amazingly thought provoking, well read, and written by a writer with a real gift for language.

    I am a big fan of Mr. Rudnicki, and although Mr. Ellison is a radical change after listening to Mr. Rudnicki I quickly came to love his narration as well.

    If there is any drawback to this book it is that it starts a bit slowly and you find yourself asking where in the world is this thing going? However, it is absolutely worth waiting for.

    I highly recommend this book, a fantastic story, an awesome concept, and a very satisfying ending. Enjoy!

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jefferson 07-31-11
    Jefferson 07-31-11 Member Since 2010

    I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bleshing with Superhuman Homo Gestalt"

    Theodore Sturgeon???s More than Human is comprised of three parts, the first of which (my favorite) concerns several misfit outcast kids with powers of teleportation, telekinesis, and the like, and a ???fabulous idiot.??? This part is lyrical, strange, humorous, and moving. And Stefan Rudnicki reads it perfectly, with his deep voice and thoughtful inflections. The second part, read with passion and panache by Harlan Ellison, depicts the first person narration of one of the outcast kids who is visiting a psychiatrist to find out who and what he is and why he has done what he has done. Ellison uses a squeaky boy???s voice for Gerry, a calm adult voice for Dr. Stern, and appropriate voices for the other people who speak in this part. His reading of the last line, ???What the hell is morality, anyway???? is terrifying. In the mostly fascinating third and last part, again read by Rudnicki, Hip Barrows attempts with great difficulty to remember his past far back enough to get over an imposed mental block.

    It is interesting to compare Theodore Sturgeon???s novel with Arthur C. Clarke???s Childhood???s End: Both were published during the Cold War in 1953 and feature the ???next??? stage of human evolution, but both depict very different ideas about that evolution and hence very different ideas about the nature of humanity and transcendence. More than Human is better written, more moving, more optimistic (almost too much so), and more human, but less sublime than Childhood???s End.

    Anyway, More than Human is a thought-provoking science fiction classic, well-read by Rudnicki and Ellison.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 08-19-11
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 08-19-11 Member Since 2010

    I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "better in audio"

    I read this book over 30 years ago and really could not understand it. Listening to it on audible really help me to understand the book. Unfortunately I still did not like it. It started out fairly interesting, seem like it was going to be a fairy tale. Then it got really deep and really all about talking. TS took so long to draw out his ideas that I was screaming at the radio. You pretty much know where he is going, but it takes him so long to say it. Matter of fact the character would just barely touch the idea and then take three steps back and you had to wait for him to build up to it again and he would skim and step back again. The first third gets four stars the middle and ending get two stars.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Methuen, Morocco 08-03-10
    Mark Methuen, Morocco 08-03-10 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A really fascinating book"

    I loved the way this book was written and the narration (by both readers) was excellent. Very thought provoking and well-paced, though I am guessing that some will find the pacing too slow and the book too long for the story it is telling. But the plot is only a very small part of what makes this book good - the writing style and character development, and the gradual way that facts are revealed to the reader, all added to my enjoyment. I'm back on Audible right now looking for my next Sturgeon book.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert TUSCALOOSA, AL, USA 10-17-09
    Robert TUSCALOOSA, AL, USA 10-17-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "More Than Human"

    Considered by many to be the best of Sturgeon's opus. Decades ago, when I first read this I imagined the voice of Harlan Ellison reading the second part "Baby is Three". And Stefan Rudnicki is outstanding as well. Thanks audible. Can you get Godbody by Theodore Sturgeon?

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 11-17-11
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 11-17-11 Member Since 2007

    I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)

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    "Maybe in its era it would have been better..."

    This was very difficult to finish reading... I see now that it was originally written as 3 short stories (sort of), and that explains how disjointed it is. But... it wasn't this disjointedness that bothered me as much as... well, the pseudo-psychobabble in it. The whole middle section is a scene in a psychologist's office, the point of which was only half to continue the storyline, the other half was to explore 1950's psychotherapy methods/ideas.

    If these 1950's psychotherapy methods still held validity today, it might have been okay, but it was all psychojunk that has fallen to the wayside in the the current treatment methods of "drug 'em", don't hypnotize 'em.

    Anyway, I suppose in its original era it would have been fresh and exciting, but we've had nearly 60 years of better sci-fi, better "human super-evolution" and better psychological exploration fiction. I'll mark it down as a classic sci-fi and be glad that I won't have to read it again.

    Rudnicki's narration (parts 1 and 3) is good. Others have said that Ellison's narration "grows on you" but I prefer to like someone's narration from the start (I did not like his at all) than have to wait for it to grow on me.

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glenn E. Mitchell II Tallahassee, FL USA 07-28-14
    Glenn E. Mitchell II Tallahassee, FL USA 07-28-14 Member Since 2006

    Mitch

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    "Hard to Finish"
    What would have made More Than Human better?

    A shorter novel. The novel was a conglomeration of three short stores. Together, in my opinion, they merit a single short story. There is simply not enough story to sustain a novel format.


    Has More Than Human turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, it has not turned me off from Science Fiction.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Part 2, narrated by Harlan Ellison. Part 1 nearly bored me to death. Part 3 brought closure, but it was still too long and tedious.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    A lot of boredom and feeling of tediousness. I found myself frequently feeling, "C'mon, get on with the story."


    Any additional comments?

    I am unsure why this book is such a classic, since it is so overwritten. The basic plot is interesting. I can understand why that would merit classifying it as "classic." But the story could have been told in 15-20 pages easily enough.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jon Palo Alto, CA, United States 12-11-11
    Jon Palo Alto, CA, United States 12-11-11
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    "Great story, 1 poor narrator"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I found the story to be enthralling, an truly interesting take on the next step of human evolution.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The general story and overarching concept really stretched my imagination. The concept of a gestalt organism is fascinating and is wonderfully explained throughout the story.


    Did Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    The first and last narrator were fantastic, I believe it was Stefan Rudnicki. Harlan Ellison's voice did not fit his role and was difficult to hear and understand at times.


    Was More Than Human worth the listening time?

    Yes it was.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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