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The Cosmic Rape

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  514 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
From the back cover:

From the stars, from the cosmos, it came...

the Medusa, the galactic man of war, the hive-minded creature that was a billion creatures. It dropped its wrinkled spore into one man on earth, through him expecting to conquer mankind… to absorb into itself the strangely separate and stubborn creatures that called themselves men...
Paperback, #B120, 160 pages
Published August 1958 by Dell (first published January 1st 1958)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Stephen
Note: Contrary to popular perception, this novel is NOT about a group of space-faring bankers that recklessly squander their resources and then cabal with the shadowy interstellar governing overlords to rape the cosmic taxpayers of their hard-earned wealth. That kind of story would just be too far-fetched and frightening.

However, this is almost as scary.

Sturgeon wrote somber, intense, introspective stories that contrasted sharply from the more action-coated, derring-do adventures of the 1950s.
...more
Franco  Santos
Bueno... No esperaba que me gustara este libro. Es decir, solo lo había comenzado a leer por su título: Violación cósmica. Y, basándome en ese nombre, pensaba que me iba a encontrar con desfloraciones intergalácticas. Para mi sorpresa, no me topé con eso (al menos explícitamente); me topé con una historia triste, con grandes dosis de soledad, desesperanza, injusticia e insignificancia. Pero no todo es trágico, puesto que Sturgeon logra mezclar tanto desconsuelo con un humor crudo, con pasajes re ...more
Metaphorosis
May 23, 2015 Metaphorosis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2015-rev

reviews.metaphorosis.com

4 stars

A tiny seed of the global hive organism Medusa has waited patiently on Earth, until at length it meets homeless misfit Dan Gurlick and uses him as the instrument of its fusion with humanity. Except that humanity isn't what Medusa expected.

I blame Kurt Vonnegut. By naming his character Kilgore Trout, he caused me to question the existence of (and therefore disregard) Theodore Sturgeon. This will be my third and final complaint about the issue, but I'm still astound
...more
Kat  Hooper
Mar 17, 2012 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Dan Gurlick is a pathetic human being, which is undoubtedly why nobody likes him. He has no identifiable positive personality traits, his motivations and desires are base, and he lacks the skills and knowledge to appropriately acquire the things he wants. Life suddenly changes for Gurlick when he accidentally ingests the spore of an alien hivemind named Medusa. Medusa has been all over the universe enfolding the collective minds of the species it finds. Wh
...more
Tamahome
Mar 31, 2012 Tamahome rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
AKA 'The Cosmic Rape'. I had this book as a kid but didn't finish it. Wouldn't every kid be excited over this cover?



1 hour in: the audiobook is only 4 hours, narrated by the great Stefan Rudnicki. It seems like 'new wave'. All the characters are unpleasant, a la M. John Harrison's Light. I guess this was a fad back then. Samuel Delany would blurb it. One early chapter includes the use of a 'date rape drug'. Half the chapters are about some kind of alien fungus, and the other half are basically m
...more
Tom Tabasco
Dec 07, 2015 Tom Tabasco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably the most far-out story to come out of the great genius of Theodore Sturgeon, who loved unusual concepts and was one of the most original authors I've ever read.

Some of the initial chapters, where Gurlic is involved, are incredibly funny.

The overall execution is not perfect. In fact, some of the initial chapters start making sense only in the second half of the book, and even when you get there you wonder if they were necessary at all.

However, I have no idea how else this insane plot
...more
Matteo Pellegrini
Jan 22, 2014 Matteo Pellegrini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantascienza
Raramente le guerre hanno cause nobili, ma non tutte le invasioni sono obbligatoriamente assassine. E' un concetto che sembriamo aver dimenticato in questo 2004 di guerra asimmetrica, di eserciti e di terroristi, di informazioni negate e pilotate... Ci sono state, nella storia, anche invasioni buone. Anche idee che, in un lampo, hanno migliorato tutte le vite (o il maggior numero possibile). Sturgeon voleva essere di questa partita: il mondo è difficile, non è un pranzo di gala, ma se cerchi il
...more
Bad-at-reading
Aside from the off-putting alternate title my copy has (what was wrong with "To Marry Medusa"? Too girly?), this was fantastic. Sturgeon is both playing to his strengths and succeeding where he usually fails, perfecting what "The Skills of Xanadu" was too coy about and "The Touch of Your Hand" made overcomplicated and hoity-toity: what could end once and for all the conflict between individuality and community? Other alien invasion scenarios look silly in comparison to this violent, comical cont ...more
c
Jul 03, 2016 c rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Which stars do you know—Polaris? Good. And the bright one yonder, that’s Sirius. Look at them now: at Polaris, at Sirius. Quickly now: Polaris, Sirius. And again: Sirius, Polaris. How far apart are they? It says in the book, thousands of light-years. How many? Too many: never mind. But how long does it take you to flick your gaze from one to the other and back? a second? A half-second next time, then a tenth?... You can’t say that nothing, absolutely nothing, has traveled between the two. Your ...more
Althea Ann
A short, but thoughtful - and unusual - story of alien invasion. The 'Medusa' is a hive mind which has taken over galaxies - and now one of its spores is here on Earth. However, the being it infects is Gurlick - a man that pretty much anyone would consider a waste of life - a stupid, drunken, violent loser. The Medusa, a sophisticated intelligence, is nonetheless unable to understand humanity, because the concept of intelligence that does not function communally, but is confined to isolated indi ...more
Amanda
Feb 20, 2010 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I pretty much agree with Stephen's review of this book. I was planning on giving it 3 stars until the ending. It was some outstanding writing but, like Stephen mentioned, the enjoyment factor just wasn't there for me either. I kept reading because I was fascinated with what Sturgeon was saying though. The ending was 6 senses of brilliant and is still reverberating inside my head. That is the reason I gave it 4 stars
Ben
Jun 07, 2016 Ben rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-books
*2.5*

It's a short book, a little bit weird at the beginning but with an interesting interpretation of humanity.
C.J.
Jan 11, 2017 C.J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars!
Kalin
Jan 04, 2008 Kalin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Вратата на безименен вертеп в безименен град зейва и отвътре, сипейки проклятия и заплахи, изхвръква Гърлик. Той е без дом, без работа и без приятели, от много, много време насам. Онова, което запълва вакуума в сърцето му, е озлоблението: достатъчно озлобление, за да си мечтаеш да стъпиш върху лицето на целокупния свят и да скачаш отгоре му. Светът обаче е твърде голям и силен да го смачкаш току-така; дори един немилостив барман може да се окаже непобедим враг. Гърлик ще трябва да се задоволи да ...more
Jim Thomas
Sep 27, 2016 Jim Thomas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
I've read 2 previous Sturgeon novels this year and Sturgeon means virtually perfection and once again such creativity. Mr. Sturgeon was one of the best short fiction writers in the 20th century yet I feel as short as this novel is, it seems just a little padded and would have been a better short story. Good, not great.
Paul
Aug 13, 2008 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published in the 1950s, this is the story of Daniel Gurlick, a barely literate and drunken member of society. He spends his days looking for free drinks from the local bars. He sleeps in a junked car in the back of a local junkyard. He inhales a half-eaten hamburger, found in the trash in the back of a local restaurant, not knowing that it contains a spore of an alien being called Medusa, that plans to absorb humanity into itself.

Medusa is an entity of infinite intelligence, spanning a bil
...more
Tim
Jul 19, 2012 Tim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For its time it is very graphic and provocative in the violence it shows, but it is also done in the classic way of leading up to the moment and then cutting to another scene. You know what haooened but it wasn't presented graphically.

More to the point, the book deals with fear and violence from a number of angles and some scenes are there only to show the universal aspect of it. There are some marvelous things going on in Sturgeon's thinking and end result. Hard to discuss without giving things
...more
Pablo
Jan 11, 2009 Pablo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leah W-F
I'm not surprised it got that Hugo+Nebula. Sturgeon is a good writer and has wonderful ideas to express. I enjoyed the message To Marry Medusa contained, or at least, the one I took from it. One of those reflection-on-the-nature-of-humanity ones. That enemy-of-my-enemy one. 'Tis true, it seems like people are never so united as in attacking a common foe, whether it is while gossip mongering or blowing swaths of foreign ground into oblivion. As for Sturgeon's actual writing style, this particular ...more
Scottaggart
Jan 27, 2014 Scottaggart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My goodness this guy is good! He takes an alien invasion and turns it on it's head. It's like "War of the Worlds" in concept but in execution nothing like it. It is surprising that a contemporary of Ray Bradbury that in my mind surpassed Ray and other science fiction writers could be so overlooked. I was in a Barnes & Noble a few months ago and I couldn't find one book by Sturgeon on the shelf. Thank goodness my local Library system has provided all his novels and short stories to be checked ...more
Jason
May 10, 2011 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dammit Sturgeon, why do you have to wrack my brain and render me ineffable with your relentless command of language, compassion for humanity and wild imagination? A novel pulsating with subtle complexities and introspective ideas, it demands to be read multiple times in order to fully absorb its true essence with clarity (I'm still not sure what to make of it as a whole). "To Marry Medusa" completely subverts the alien-invasion story conventions and is not your typical science fiction: it presen ...more
Rust
Sep 13, 2013 Rust rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Temo che Sturgeon non mi piaccia più come una volta. Ad ogni modo, il suo stile e le sue tematiche sono sempre molto personali e legate al suo stile particolare... quello di un maestro. Casi umani, subnormali e deviati, che trovano la realizzazione di sè insieme, magari con un ausilio alieno. Spesso la trama è grosso modo questa nei suoi libri. Quello che lo separa da un capolavoro è ai miei occhi uno stile un pò troppo asciutto nel costruire le vicende... difficile da definire, ingenuo forse. L ...more
Raj
Feb 27, 2010 Raj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
A spore drops from space and eventually finds itself being eaten by Dan Gurlick who becomes part of the galaxy-wide hive mind that is the Medusa, which then uses him to try and conquer humanity.

This book shares themes with Sturgeon's more famous More Than Human, in that it's about group minds and the future evolution of humanity, and I quite enjoyed it, although it's odd format of one chapter on Gurlick and one on a seemingly random character for much of its length was confusing.

My volume also c
...more
Fabián Cocq
Contrario a lo que se pensaría por el título, esta historia no va de violaciones de extraterrestres, luego se entiende la metáfora del título.
Me gustó, a pesar de haber visto una mala crítica cuando lo busqué por google, lo encontré bueno. Me gustó el final, me aburren los finales demasiado trágicos y poco creativos, en cambio, Sturgeon juega el final como un Ronaldinho de la imaginación (perdón por esta analogía). Entremedio habían algunas partes medio lateras, pero en general lo encuentro bie
...more
Hazel
Oct 01, 2016 Hazel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are a range of seemingly disconnected characters in various unpeasant situations. Some of their stories funny, most of them painfully sad. The title is very misleading, the theme of the story is the difference between a hive mind and the human independent mind. I loved the ending. It pulled all the characters together and turned what you think is happening on its head. Recommended. I look forward to reading all the rest of my Theodore Sturgeon books!
Clark
May 19, 2013 Clark rated it really liked it
Terrific. Sturgeon was really hooked on this "hive-mind" idea as the next step in human evolution. I guess that on some level he knew that the Internet was right around the evolutionary corner. The way he tied together all the threads of the story was impressive, and the very full imagery dealing with the first few minutes of humanity becoming "connected" is on such a level that I will always remember it. Well worth the read.
Ryan
Mar 11, 2009 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I have read some real crap lately and this was a welcome relief. Sturgeon is one of the greatest sci-fi writers and this book is now in my top list of greatest speculative fiction stories ever written. He employs the method of alternating between characters and events every other chapter. For the first half of the book, there doesn't seem to be a connection between these different characters. But you don't have to wait long for the reveal as the book is relatively short.
Max
Sep 18, 2015 Max rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I thought he did the ensemble of characters very well. How they all came together was very much a surprise. His descriptions of their hurts, and hatreds, were quite effective. Here and there i felt there were some hard to follow paragraphs. Overall, and enjoyable read exploring many concepts worth thinking about.
Scott Williams
Sep 20, 2013 Scott Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was originally published as "The Cosmic Rape." Sturgeon's writing is sparse and challenging but he's a genius. In this slim volume he explores the pros and cons of a Humanity linked as a hive mind. Narratively, it's not very satisfying but the ideas linger and encourage personal reflection and thought.
Bob Rust
Apr 16, 2016 Bob Rust rated it it was amazing
In The Cosmic Rape aka "To Marry Medusa" (1958) a Hive Mind from the stars invades mankind but finds itself to its ultimate betterment catalysing Homo sapiens as a racial entity into one Transcendent gestalt the sense of homecoming generated by the final pages of this short book is deeply touching.
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Theodore Sturgeon (1918–1985) is considered one of the godfathers of contemporary science fiction and dark fantasy. The author of numerous acclaimed short stories and novels, among them the classics More Than Human, Venus Plus X, and To Marry Medusa, Sturgeon also wrote for television and holds among his credits two episodes of the original 1960s Star Trek series, for which he created the Vulcan m ...more
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