Publication Date: Friday, May 10, 1985
Source: The Register Guard (Eugene, OR)
By-Line: Ann Portal
author, award-winner, dies in Eugene
Sturgeon, an internationally known science fiction author and
recipient of the Hugo Award, the genre's highest honor, died
Wednesday at Sacred Heart General Hospital from lung ailments.
67, of 3050 Hayden Bridge Road, maintained such a low profile since
he and his wife, Jayne Tannehill Sturgeon, moved to Springfield
several years ago that few people, aside from devoted science
fiction buffs, knew he lived in the area.
Ray Bradbury, an early fan of Sturgeon's, told the Associated Press
that Sturgeon's more than 200 short stories and novels put him
"right up there" among American science fiction writers.
"I studied his writing style. He was an influence and a
good one - one of the finest writers in the field and a very gentle and
kind human being," said Bradbury who wrote the introduction to Sturgeon's
first book, Without Sorcery.
fiction writer, Damon Knight of Eugene said, "He was a superb
stylist, and that was unusual when he began writing in the field. He
had his own individual viewpoint of human relationships, I think he
had a Messianic streak. He wanted to find ways that people could
live together better."
Two of Sturgeon's best known works were the short story
"Slow Sculpture," for which he won the Hugo and Nebula Awards in 1970, and
the novel More Than Human, which earned the
International Fantasy Award in 1954.
1966-67 the television series "Star Trek" produced two of his
scripts; "Amok Time," in which Mr. Spock goes into a strange state
and seeks a mate, and "Shore Leave." in which the crew of the
Enterprise visits a planet where thoughts are materialized.
was hospitalized Sunday with breathing difficulties, his daughter,
Tandy Sturgeon, of Madison, Wis., said. He had suffered fibrosis, a
complication from a lung ailment, for ten years but had been
teaching a writing workshop in Maui, Hawaii, until he returned to
Oregon last week, she said.
his children came to Eugene last weekend when they learned he was
dying, his daughter said.
was born Feb 26, 1918, on Staten island, N.Y., and moved to
Philadelphia early in his childhood. He never graduated from high
school, enlisting in the merchant marine and traveling to the Virgin
Islands at age 17. He published his first short story, "Ether
Breather," at age 19.
his most famous stories, "Killdozer," published in 1944, was the
result of experiences as a bulldozer operator in the Caribbean
during World War II.
for science fiction pulp magazines while helping run a Jamaican
hotel, then returned to New York City, married Marion Sturgeon, the
mother of four of his children, and wrote advertising copy for Time
Inc. to support his writing. He later moved upstate to Woodstock
where he lived for nearly a decade.
say that from that point on, my father decided he was a writer, and
he never, ever waivered in that decision," Tandy Sturgeon said. "All
my life he was home in another room with a typewriter. He was as
enthusiastic as a kid about it all his life."
still unpublished at that time, later wrote, "I split every Sturgeon
tale down the middle and fetched out its innards to see what made it
function. . . I looked upon Sturgeon with a secret and gnawing
moving to Truro, Mass., in the mid-1950s, Sturgeon became friends
with a young Saab dealer and aspiring science fiction writer named
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. "My father influenced him a lot," Tandy Sturgeon
reportedly based one of his characters, Kilgore Trout, an old and
bearded writer, on Sturgeon.
moved to Los Angeles in 1967 and met Jayne Tannehill, also a science
fiction writer, at a San Diego comics convention. Los Angeles was
home base for Sturgeon's near constant traveling to teach and to
appear at science fiction conventions, she said.
Jayne Sturgeon's first novel, The Children, is
finished and awaiting publication, and she is working on a second
novel, Tandy Sturgeon said.
said Sturgeon's trademark was human relationships. "In the mid 50s
he embarked on what looked like a deliberate program of exploring
the different kinds of love there could be," he said. Homosexuals
and other sexual minorities were part of his novels and stories.
father did not write high-tech sci-fi stories, although he certainly
had the expertise," his daughter said. She noted as an example of
his humanizing effect on the field a story entitled "The Saucer of
Loneliness," about a flying saucer who sought out people who were
Sturgeon taught almost exclusively for the past ten years
of his life at colleges around the country and in Europe. One of his last
books, The Golden Helix, was puiblished in 1980.
Sturgeon characterized her father as an "original Bohemian" and a
pacifist. "I think he believed that doing what he did was a way of
promoting peace, because he was promoting love. He was very, very
devoted to that," she said.
is planned after a private memorial service Wednesday. England's
Eugene Memorial Chapel is in charge of arrangements.
addition to his wife and daughter, Sturgeon is survived by his
brother, Peter of Vienna, and by six other children from previous
marriages: daughters, Patricia Shires of Tampa, Fla., Cynthia Pegram
of Lynchburg, Va., and Noel Sturgeon of Santa Cruz, Calif.; and
sons, Robin of San Francisco, Calif., Timothy of Berkeley, Calif.,
and Andros of Los Angeles.
Publication Date: Sat., May 11,
Source: The New York Times
Sturgeon Dies; Writer of Fantasies
Sturgeon, a leading figure in American science fiction, died
Wednesday of lung ailments in Eugene, Ore. He was 67 years old.
Mr. Sturgeon preferred to think of his writing as
speculative fiction, or "if fiction," and he crusaded to bring literary
respect to the science-fiction genre. His stories were concerned less
often with technology or horror than with the realistic portrayal of
unlikely events and unexpected points of view. He won the International
Fantasy Award in 1954 for his second novel, More Than Human, and received the Nebula
Award in 1970 and the Hugo Award in 1971 for a short story, "Slow
belief that "there is more room in inner space than in outer space,"
as he once wrote, and his gift for inventing odd premises made Mr.
Sturgeon a major influence on younger science fiction writers. A
Kurt Vonnegut character, the author Kilgore Trout, is said to have
been named for Mr. Sturgeon.
Born on Staten Island
Mr. Sturgeon, whose real name was Edward Hamilton Waldo,
was born on Staten Island in 1918. After high school, he went to sea as an
engine-room wiper, and also worked at other odd jobs. In 1937, he sold his
first short story to McClure's Syndicate, and in 1939 he turned to
speculative fiction. While working as a literary agent, he also sold his
own stories to Astounding Science Fiction and Weird Tales.
His first short story anthology, Without Sorcery, was published in 1948, with an introduction by Ray
Mr. Sturgeon's novels include The Dreaming Jewels
(later renamed The Synthetic Man), More Than Human, Some of Your
Blood, and Venus Plus X. He wrote
short stories prolifically, under his own name and the pseudonyms E.
Hunter Waldo and Frederick R. Ewing.
Among the most praised collections were E Pluribus
Unicorn (1953) and The Worlds of Theodore Sturgeon (1972). He also wrote plays; teleplays for
Star Trek, The Invaders and Wild, Wild West; and book reviews for
The New York Times Book Review and National Review.
Sturgeon is survived by seven children: Patricia, Cynthia, Robin,
Tandy, Noel, Timothy and Andros.