Science Inspired Fiction & Mr. Sturgeon's Revelation

When I was but a boy and still in my spiritual diapers I was a pretty avid Science Fiction reader. I adored early Asimov and early Vonnegut, Stan Lem, Phil Dick and many many others. Now over the years, as I watched SF creep on in its slow approach towards reality I became and am still becoming less enamoured of it.
In the 1980ies I still gulped Blade Runner (book after film) and the pinnacles of cyber punk, Neuromancer ('84) and Schismatrix ('85). In the 1990ies I devoured Snow Crash('92) and the Diamond Age ('95), but after that interesting things came only slow and in a trickle.

Bruce Sterling, early bird cyber punk

Bruce Sterling's Holy Fire is a book I can recommend full heartedly.
Set in a world of steadily increasing longevity (gerontocracy), a newly rejuvenated American woman drifts through the marginalised subculture of European young artists while dealing with the implications of posthumanism.
It was nominated for many prizes and did not win any. It has not got it's own wp entry. Still.
William Gibson's Pattern Recognition ('03) is not really SF but rather NTF (Near Term Fiction) and pleased me but faild to enthrall.
Well, it might be only me and and my own fault if I grow older and only try to read books by cyberpunk guys older than me.
Now there is one really old author of whose writings I have read a story here and there and one novel. The man goes by the name of Theodore Sturgeon I will always easily remember one of those rather short stories because of its hilarious title "The man who figured everything" (cowritten with Don Ward in '59 and found in a battered SF sampler).*
Here ends the overly long personal introduction
When following lcom's earlier link to 10 failed trends and making yet another transition from there, I came across Sturgeon's Law which is also called Sturgeon's revelation, the most primitive form of which is: 90% of everything is crud.

Thedore Sturgeon

Fortunately Wikipedia also cites different forms of SR;
If there is any difference in "desirability", the Bell curve of a normal distribution predicts that most experiences will involve average desirability, with roughly equal occurrances of excellence and gross inadequacy. Sturgeon's Revelation is an observation that once humans are exposed to excellence, mere average desirability is disappointing. The more proper formulation might be something like "80% of everything is crud, and 10% of everything is crap." If one either defines crud to include crap, or else defines excellence and crap to each be about 5% of all experiences, then "90% of everything is crud" would be true.
As I said above, the connection that made this musing on the expression of statistic probability possible and plausible, is Mr. Sturgeon's practice as a 1950ies science fiction author.
What remains is to disclose the title of the one novel I read. That novel is "Venus Plus X" in which Sturgeon describes the loss of unambiguity in the human sexes which, from 1960 till now has somehow climbed to pretty lofty heights. For in the 50ies being in their prime males in any case, that is. Still, in every which way, Venus Plus X is something that I call science fiction.
Here ends the overly long witty explanation.
*TMWFE war nicht zuletzt deswegen als so witzig, weil in Bregenz alles so anders war. Dort gab es einen älteren Schriftsteller namens Max Riccabona, der uns in der Jugend sehr beeindruckte und ohne Ende an seinem Opus Magnus "Dr. von Halbgreyffer zu Etschpruntz und Dünnschitz. Der Mann der nichts in den Griff bekam" schrieb.

 
last updated: 17.02.20 20:31
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