Sunday, June 03, 2007

Aaron's Book of the Week :: The Synthetic Man by Theodore Sturgeon

The Synthetic ManThe Book of the Week is the first paperback printing of The Synthetic Man by Theodore Sturgeon, cover art by Art Sussman.

The Synthetic Man is not as well known as last week's BOTW, More Than Human, but it's always been my personal favorite Ted Sturgeon novel. I first read it as a teenager, and was grabbed from the opening line: "They caught the kid doing something disgusting out under the bleachers at the high-school stadium, and he was sent home from the grammar school across the street." The disgusting thing Horty was doing was eating ants. Young Horty does not fit in, and eventually ends up running away and joining a carnival. The carnival setting is only one of a number of congruities between Sturgeon's work and Ray Bradbury's. Sturgeon and Bradbury were at the forefront of a generation of Golden Age authors whose approach to science fiction was less technical and more artistic and humanistic than earlier writers. (Hollywood is just beginning to catch up.)

The Synthetic Man was first published in the pulp magazines under another title. That title was much preferable, since the title The Synthetic Man has a spoiler right in it. The original pulp publication will be next week's Magazine of the Week.

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