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REVIEW: To Marry Medusa by Theodore Sturgeon

REVIEW SUMMARY: Another great one from the master


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An alien hive mind tries to conquer Earth

PROS: Superb writing style; lean, descriptive prose.
CONS: A smidgen more esoteric than his other stuff
BOTTOM LINE: A great quick read and a fantastic classic

I love Theodore Sturgeon’s writing. He is absolutely unmatched for his taut literary style and engaging classic plots. Case in point: To Marry Medusa (originally titled The Cosmic Rape).

When down-and-out drunk Dan Gurlick eats a throw-away hamburger he scrounged from a garbage pail, he has no idea that he is to become the unwitting vehicle for an alien invasion. The hive mind known as Medusa has extended her reach to Earth via a raisin-like spore that winds up in Harry’s free meal. The hive is surprised to learn that humans are not already a collective, so it uses Harry to “re-unite” humanity into a common gestalt so it can be easily conquered and brought into the collective.

A simple plot, yes, but a terrific read. The plot is structured so the main story thread is given in alternating chapters. Each of the in-between chapters depicts one of a handful of minor characters. Sturgeon’s consummate skill as a writer is immediately evident in these character portrayals as well as his lean prose, plot development and stylish verbiage. The way he describes things proves the power of the written word. And at a lean 153 pages, this book is a fine example of what science fiction is supposed to be: simultaneously plot- and character-driven and completely devoid of fluff. This is a fantastic classic.

About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.
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