Theodore Sturgeon
 Theodore Sturgeon
 Born: Feb 26, 1918
 Died: May 8, 1985

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Theodore Sturgeon Obituary

Publication Date: Friday, May 10, 1985
Source: The Register Guard (Eugene, OR)
By-Line: Ann Portal

Famed author, award-winner, dies in Eugene

Theodore 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.

Sturgeon, 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.

Author 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.

Science 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.

In 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.

Sturgeon 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.

Six of his children came to Eugene last weekend when they learned he was dying, his daughter said.

Sturgeon 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.

One of his most famous stories, "Killdozer," published in 1944, was the result of experiences as a bulldozer operator in the Caribbean during World War II.

He wrote 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.

"I would 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."

Bradbury, 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 jealousy."

After 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 said.

Vonnegut reportedly based one of his characters, Kilgore Trout, an old and bearded writer, on Sturgeon.

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.

Knight 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.

"My 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 lonely.

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.

Tandy 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.

Cremation is planned after a private memorial service Wednesday. England's Eugene Memorial Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

In 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.

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Publication Date: Sat., May 11, 1985
Source: The New York Times
Page: 17

Theodore Sturgeon Dies; Writer of Fantasies


Theodore 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 Sculpture."

His 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 Bradbury.

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.

Mr. Sturgeon is survived by seven children: Patricia, Cynthia, Robin, Tandy, Noel, Timothy and Andros.

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