I've been reading the Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon series, edited by Paul Williams. (We interrupt this entry for a commercial message, or maybe a public service announcement: If you like Sturgeon and have any interest at all in seeing how he developed over the years, you really must go buy the first four volumes in the ten-volume series—as of this writing, Powell's still has two "as-new" (slightly used) sets of those first four for sale. $25 for the set of four books in trade paperback. Each volume is $19 new, and worth buying at full price, so the set is a great deal. What are you waiting for? Besides the stories themselves, you get to read Williams's fascinating notes on them.)

Anyway. I'm up to vol. 3, Killdozer!, covering stories written between 1941 and 1946 (when Sturgeon was 23 through 28 years old), and Sturgeon's beginning to really hit his stride. "Killdozer!" is particularly impressive—a 30,000-word novella written over the course of nine days in the middle of a four-year period of writer's block. It sold to Astounding for their highest rate, which came to $542.50 (somewhere around 2 cents a word). Despite the tedious and hard-to-visualize detailed descriptions of heavy construction equipment (lots of terminology I just don't understand), and despite my skepticism over the idea that a bulldozer could be scary, the story is remarkably gripping, and remarkably cinematic. I kept thinking that a pretty good Jurassic Park-style movie could be made out of it. Turns out others have thought so too over the years, but the closest anyone's come was an apparently dreadful TV movie-of-the-week. Oh, well.

...I'm drifting way off the topic this entry was meant to cover, so I'll continue in a separate entry.

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