James's Reviews > A Touch of Strange

A Touch of Strange by Theodore Sturgeon
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Sep 17, 10

Read in September, 2010

I enjoyed this Sturgeon collection very much, cover to cover (more or less). Of the seven short stories contained within, I like six of them VERY much. I was especially wowed by "Mr. Costello, Hero," "The Touch of Your Hand," and "The Other Celia" -- but even the less than superb (in my estimation) stories in this book are full of charm and insight.

While none of the stories in "A Touch of Strange" are as humorous as "Derm Fool" or as full of pathos as "Die, Maestro, Die" (from two other collections), the author's trademark humor (irony, esp.) is often at work, and the plight of various characters is genuinely moving... even surprisingly so.

Only "It Opens the Sky" failed to keep me riveted... and I'm not sure why (one description in the story, concerning the properties of a dangerous drug, actually seemed a bit amateurish or silly, to me -- a very rare experience in reading this author). And still, there was much in the story that I found at least interesting.

Overall, though, I really admire the originality of Sturgeon's stories, his values (freedom, compassion, love), his prose, descriptions, and metaphors, and, generally, the masterful way his character-rich tales unfold, like watching a photograph slowly develop in its chemical bath (yes, I'm that old). At first, you're not even sure of the "picture's" proper orientation, but you're spellbound as the details, shapes, and colors sharpen until they are fully realized... and the final image is almost always extraordinarily rewarding... especially if you allow yourself some time to reflect on the mysteries and subtleties of these tales... or, in some cases, wait long enough for the joke/zinger to sink in.
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