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The Cosmic Rape
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The Cosmic Rape

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  364 ratings  ·  38 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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(showing 1-30 of 697)
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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
Tamahome
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
Kat  Hooper
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
John
I'm "shocked and awed" each time I read a Sturgeon story. The man crafts full-on verbal assaults aimed at rehabilitating depraved human hearts. I'm not sure what we were doing dropping bombs halfway across the world. We should have been dropping Sturgeon stories.

The Cosmic Rape, like so much of Sturgeon's work, ranks among the top tier of SF masterpieces.

It's roughly about an alien race that goes planet to planet absorbing species into its hive mind. It is astonished by the fragmentation/disconn...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
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
Matteo Pellegrini
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
Scottaggart
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
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
Kalin
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
Tim Williams
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
Paul
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
Leah Wener-Fligner
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
Pablo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jason
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
Mercurial
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
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
Ryan
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.
Clark
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.
Scott Williams
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.
Charlie
This book has some things that are strange and delightful for the heart and mind. There is some stupid sci fi story-line but more to the heart of the book there is the story in-between-the-lines. There is a beautiful message buried in this book for those with eyes that see.
Mo
A drunk homeless guy, dumpster diving, finds a horsemeat hamburger with an alien spore in it and chaos ensues...I wanted to like this, but I think all of the post-surgical drugs were interfering with my ability to read at anything beyond a second-grade level...
Scott Golden
The plot becomes almost secondary to the incredibly strong delineation of the ensemble cast of characters, and is all the better for it.
Darren Angle
Given the premise, it was sad to find this more character driven than subtextually rife-- but the writing is excellent and the characters are too. Epic finishes in SF are regularly attempted but rarely pulled off this well. Fast read.
Ali Çetinbudaklar
Bu adam farklı yazıyor ben bunu anladım.2 kitabını okudum bunla birlikte (öncekisi İnsandan Öte);yok bir şeyler ters gidiyor ve kayboluyorum; zor bir yazar. Tekrar okuncaklara attım. Umarım Venus Plus X de böyle değildir.
Christopher Roberts
I started reading this book after The Dreaming Jewels and simply found it unreadable. I feel much the same way about Sturgeon's prose as i do about Hemingway's. A lot of time it feels like a child wrote it.
Benjamin Plume
Fantastic tale of a group-mind entity. It is a wholly different take on such an existence and told with an immediacy that makes it compelling. I'm thrilled to have discovered this author.
R. P.
A classic example of Theodore Sturgeon's supreme storytelling and word-crafting abilities. I was too tired and sick to fully appreciate it today. I'll have to re-read it soon.
Cheryl
Interesting premise, rendered with a little more "show-offy style" than necessary. Slim paperback
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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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More Than Human The Dreaming Jewels Venus Plus X Some of Your Blood E Pluribus Unicorn

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