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On This Day: Theodore Sturgeon

Theodore Sturgeon was born Edward Hamilton Waldo on this day in 1918. Sturgeon was not, in fact, a pseudonym; his name was legally changed after his parents’ divorce. Sturgeon was an American science fiction and horror writer and critic and the Internet Speculative Fiction Database credits him with about 400 reviews and more than 200 stories.

His genre publishing career began with the sale of “Ether Breather” to Astounding in 1939, but he only began writing in earnest in 1946 after a period of travelling. He produced a great body of acclaimed short fiction (SF’s premier short story award is named in his honour) as well as a number of novels, including his most famous work More Than Human, which was awarded the 1954 retro-Hugo in 2004. Sturgeon also wrote the screenplays for seminal Star Trek episodes “Shore Leave” and “Amok Time”, inventing the famous Vulcan mating ritual, the pon farr.

In 1951, Sturgeon coined what is now known as Sturgeon’s Law: “Ninety percent of [science fiction] is crud, but then, ninety percent of everything is crud.”


You can find more of Theodore Sturgeon’s work via his Author page on the Gateway website and read about him in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.