A Tunnel in the Sky

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Case and the Dreamer
by Theodore Sturgeon

Reviewed by Raedom
Posted November 18, 2003

This book is a collection of three shorter works, the title story "Case And The Dreamer," "If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?" and "When You Care, When You Love." And what a joy this book is to read!

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Those of you who have read some of my previous reviews know that one complaint I have with much of science-fiction is the development of the romantic relationship between the hero and heroine. Not so in this instance. Theodore Sturgeon, the person, was noted to have an ascerbic wit (witness "Sturgeon's Law"*), but his writing is filled with a happy exploration of life and love. His very first novel, More Than Human, is a veritable song regarding the interpersonal relationships that develop between human beings. Granted the persons in question were twin teleports, a hypnotic, and a telekinetic, but the relationship that grew between them is lovingly and brilliantly developed. And who can forget the simple joyous silliness of the short story, "The Hurkle Is A Happy Beast"?

Not that the stories are without controversy, as one would also expect from Sturgeon. "Case And The Dreamer" involves a menage a trois among two humans and an alien. "If All Men were Brothers...." portrays incest in a very positive light, and "When You Care, When You Love" deals with an extremely rich young woman who expends a considerable amount of her fortune to have her dead lover cloned and arranges for the subsequent child to have an indentical life to the original, so that when they meet he will be emotionally identical; and who then arranges for the aging process in herself to be suspended until the child is grown.

Certainly none of these stories are traditional love stories, but they are far from the usual "boy meets girl, they're both attractive, so they fall in love" storyline of so much of science-fiction (and, I suppose of much other fiction, as well.) If you like love stories, especially ones with a twist, you'll thoroughly enjoy these stories. If you don't like love stories, you'll still thoroughly enjoy these stories. They are an unabashed hymn to love and living, and I whole-heartedly recommend this collection.

*[For those new to science-fiction, or who have for some unfathomable reason never heard of "Sturgeon's Law," this is it. Theodore Sturgeon was attending a gathering on one occasion when a bellicose man accosted him and confrontationally declared, "Mister Sturgeon, I think 90-percent of science-fiction is crap!" Sturgeon regarded him unblinkingly for a moment, then calmly replied, "That's true. But," he continued, "90-percent of everything is crap." That's Sturgeon's Law: 90-percent of everything is crap.]

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NOTE: This particular title is out of print, but available used from amazon. Another option is Case and the Dreamer: The Complete Short Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Volume XIII, a much more comprehensive collection, although the title story is the only one included from the book Raedom is reviewing. The other two stories are in Volume XI: The Nail and the Oracle, and "If All Men Were Brothers..." is also available in the Harlan Ellison edited Dangerous Visions.


Related Links:
Webpage of the Theodore Sturgeon Literary Trust


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Theodore Sturgeon


2 Nebula nominations

This collection is out of print but used copies are available from amazon.

A purchase through our links, even for used copies, may earn us a commission.