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The Dreaming Jewels
Theodore Sturgeon
Victor Gollancz, 156 pages

The Dreaming Jewels
Theodore Sturgeon
Born Edward Hamilton Waldo in 1918, he changed his name to Theodore Sturgeon in his early teens. He sold his first story, "Heavy Insurance," in 1938 for $5 to McClure's Syndicate for publication in newspapers. The sale of "The God in the Garden" to Unknown was his first published SF story. His novel, More Than Human, won the International Fantasy Award. His story, "Slow Sculpture," won both the Hugo and Nebula awards. He died on May 8, 1985, and he was posthumously awarded the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award.

Theodore Sturgeon Literary Trust
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: More Than Human
SF Site Review: To Marry Medusa
Theodore Sturgeon is Alive and Well -- a Sturgeon Website

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steve Lazarowitz

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For many years, my only exposure to the work of Theodore Sturgeon was limited to the two episodes he wrote for the original Star Trek series, "Shore Leave" and "Amok Time." These were two of my favourite episodes.

When I was a teenager, I found a collection of short stories called E Pluribus Unicorn. This book placed Mr. Sturgeon firmly into my mental Short Story Hall of Fame. When he passed away in 1985, I renewed my vow to read more of his work, but somehow it never happened. So when the chance to review The Dreaming Jewels presented itself, I jumped at it.

Not many science fiction books written in the 50s stand up today. Many come off campy. Others are based on scientific theories that have since been disproved. Yet others contain a certain unrealistic, almost innocent view of reality, born of what the day's society would accept in a print book.

Happily, The Dreaming Jewels remains as great a story today as it was when it was first penned in 1950. More than anything else, this "test of time" is what makes an author great.

The Dreaming Jewels follows the adventures of Horty, a young orphan adopted by a cruel politician, who thought it would be good for his image. Horty arrived with a toy Jack-in-the-Box, the only link to his past life. He was relegated to the smallest room of the house and treated like the dirt he presumably was. At nine years old, after having both his left hand and favourite toy crushed by his foster father, Horty ran away.

Fate finds him at a carnival, where, with the help of new and sympathetic friends, he takes on a new life, performing as a young, female midget. At first I felt this whole situation was implausible, but as the book progressed, I realized I was wrong. Once again, I had been misled by the surface of the book's events. As Sturgeon revealed more of the story, it made the sort of twisted sense I'd come to expect from all the best authors.

The Dreaming Jewels is well-written and completely unpredictable; a solid example of a novel from the golden age of Science Fiction.

Copyright © 2001 Steve Lazarowitz

Steve Lazarowitz lives in Brooklyn, NY. His work has appeared in numerous online 'zines including Twilight Times, AnotherRealm, Jackhammer, Aphelion and Titan. His short story "As Luck Would Have It" took first place in the 1998 Preditors and Editors Readers Poll. He is a regular reviewer for SF Site.


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