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Summary

In this genre-bending novel, among the first to have launched sci fi into literature, a group of remarkable social outcasts band together for survival and discover that their combined powers render them superhuman.

There's Lone, the simpleton who can hear other people's thoughts; Janie, who moves things without touching them; and the teleporting twins, who can travel ten feet or ten miles. There's Baby, who invented an antigravity engine while still in the cradle, and Gerry, who has everything it takes to run the world except for a conscience. Separately, they are talented freaks.

Together, they may represent the next step in evolution - or the final chapter in the history of the human race. As they struggle to find whether they are meant to help humanity or destroy it, Sturgeon explores questions of power and morality, individuality and belonging.

©1981 The Theodore Sturgeon Literary Trust (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

"One of the best science fiction novels of the year." ( New York Times)
"A quantum leap in the development of science fiction as an art." ( Washington Post)
"A masterpiece of provocative storytelling." ( New York Herald Tribune)

What listeners say about More Than Human

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    5 out of 5 stars
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The book that got me into sci fi 40 years ago

I found this as a battered paperback in the school library when I was 16, and have owned a copy ever since.
Still stands out as great writing, driven by the development of characters and a possible human evolution.
Only downside, be aware it uses historically accurste, but now unusable, terms for the black characters.

2 people found this helpful

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A good read!

Pretty hard going, but worth persevering with. I did find it a bit difficult to listen to and put it down for a couple of days several times.

1 person found this helpful

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Don’t let the beginning put you off

This is an old book, written in an era when vocabulary, or labels were different to ours. I was a little annoyed at the labels used (idiot/half-wit, negro/colored, mongoloid mostly) but otherwise, the writing was balanced and literary and the people to whom those labels were given had special talents and were valued for their contributions.

This is just the type of SF that I love. More social sciences than physical sciences, an extrapolation of who and what humans are and could be, looking at our society with unveiled eyes and imagining a (better?) future than our current trajectory might suggest.

Despite special “talents” our POV characters are so real and events happen in the messy, stuttering way they do in real life. People die or are injured and the action falters.

I am sure I will read this again.

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Remarkable writing. Ideas still current nearly 70 years later.

Wish I had read this as a kid. The writing is brilliant. The narrative construction is clever and interesting. You can see the foundation of so many other stories here, so much popular culture has had a boost from these characters and ideas. Any fan of decent science fiction or superhero stories should read this. And the writing is of such quality. Do yourself a favour and see where the story takes you.

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Beautiful in parts but difficult to understand.

There were times while listening to this story when my attention waned. It is a strange book and quite hard to make sense of. It is poetic and beautifully written in parts and the ending was surprising and touched me, especially considering the very troubled times we are living in when it's so easy to lose faith in the basic humanity of our leaders, and to some extent, ourselves for our greed, hypocrisy and stupidity and for our lack of care and compassion for our planet and our fellow beings.

Recommended if you don't mind a perplexing, multi-layered story that sometimes allows the attention to wander.

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  • Kukhri
  • 24-06-20

Powerful stuff

This is one of the grand old pieces from a certain high art period of the genre. Not to say the new stuff isn't fantastic in its way, but the language here is so simple and exquisite. The rough and rowdy kids remind of R.A. Lafferty's brats. The writing is akin to Harlan Ellison who wonderfully reads along with the barotone Stefan Rudnicki. The whole thing is a knockout.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Dion
  • 16-01-10

Must listen

What a fantastic book. Amazingly thought provoking, well read, and written by a writer with a real gift for language.

I am a big fan of Mr. Rudnicki, and although Mr. Ellison is a radical change after listening to Mr. Rudnicki I quickly came to love his narration as well.

If there is any drawback to this book it is that it starts a bit slowly and you find yourself asking where in the world is this thing going? However, it is absolutely worth waiting for.

I highly recommend this book, a fantastic story, an awesome concept, and a very satisfying ending. Enjoy!

20 people found this helpful

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  • LEVI
  • 20-03-11

Beautiful words, wonderfully spoken

This book was a wonderfully read by Stefan Rudnicki and the fantastic storyline and beautiful ending was a truly pleasure to listen to, This book was written in the 1950s but stands tall today as a great novel. This coming from someone who isnt a Science Fiction fan. - a wonderful book.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Amy
  • 20-02-13

A Haunting Classic

Sturgeon's classic science fiction novel (really, a series of interwoven stories) is a lyrical, poignant look at "Homo Gestalt," the gifted "freaks" who together form a new organism, the next stage in human evolution. It's a fascinating and often genuinely wrenching thought experiment about prejudice, cruelty, love, empowerment, identity, and belonging. It would've been ideal if the entire work had been read by the same narrator, but I didn't find the shift to be too distracting. Sturgeon's work is deeply disturbing, with brutal and beautiful purpose, and it's very much worth listening to today.

11 people found this helpful

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  • DaveF
  • 20-12-19

Not my cup of tea.

Theodore Sturgeon was a key influencer of some of the giants of science fiction, particularly Kurt Vonnegut. That is why I wanted to read this book. And although I can see why he's revered, I did not particularly enjoy " More Than Human". Some of it may have been the fact that its now well over 60 years old and feels a bit dated. Sturgeon show flashes of genius and fantastic ideas (especially for his time), however the book is a bit confusing until near the end. It jumps around a lot. In parts, there is an extreme amount of dialog which tends to be a drag on pacing. I found myself just wanting to get to the end. I'm in the minority about "More Than Human", so I encourage the reader to judge for himself.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jefferson
  • 31-07-11

Bleshing with Superhuman Homo Gestalt

Theodore Sturgeon's More than Human is comprised of three parts, the first of which (my favorite) concerns several misfit outcast kids with powers of teleportation, telekinesis, and the like, and a "fabulous idiot." This part is lyrical, strange, humorous, and moving. And Stefan Rudnicki reads it perfectly, with his deep voice and thoughtful inflections. The second part, read with passion and panache by Harlan Ellison, depicts the first person narration of one of the outcast kids who is visiting a psychiatrist to find out who and what he is and why he has done what he has done. Ellison uses a squeaky boy's voice for Gerry, a calm adult voice for Dr. Stern, and appropriate voices for the other people who speak in this part. His reading of the last line, "What the hell is morality, anyway?" is terrifying. In the mostly fascinating third and last part, again read by Rudnicki, Hip Barrows attempts with great difficulty to remember his past far back enough to get over an imposed mental block.

It is interesting to compare Theodore Sturgeon's novel with Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End: Both were published during the Cold War in 1953 and feature the "next" stage of human evolution, but both depict very different ideas about that evolution and hence very different ideas about the nature of humanity and transcendence. More than Human is better written, more moving, more optimistic (almost too much so), and more human, but less sublime than Childhood's End.

Anyway, More than Human is a thought-provoking science fiction classic, well-read by Rudnicki and Ellison.

10 people found this helpful

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  • M. Skiff
  • 09-01-18

Couldn’t make it past the first chapter

The narrative is mono-tone and the story is hard to follow. I couldn’t get past the first chapter, I’m returning it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Robert
  • 17-10-09

More Than Human

Considered by many to be the best of Sturgeon's opus. Decades ago, when I first read this I imagined the voice of Harlan Ellison reading the second part "Baby is Three". And Stefan Rudnicki is outstanding as well. Thanks audible. Can you get Godbody by Theodore Sturgeon?

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark
  • 03-08-10

A really fascinating book

I loved the way this book was written and the narration (by both readers) was excellent. Very thought provoking and well-paced, though I am guessing that some will find the pacing too slow and the book too long for the story it is telling. But the plot is only a very small part of what makes this book good - the writing style and character development, and the gradual way that facts are revealed to the reader, all added to my enjoyment. I'm back on Audible right now looking for my next Sturgeon book.

6 people found this helpful

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  • David Mane
  • 04-07-15

Just a classic

I read it 40 years ago and it's still brilliant. Hopefully I'll read it again in another 40 years.

4 people found this helpful