Theodore Sturgeon

 

The Dreaming Jewels

 

A real mix this book. Some bits dated, other ones timeless. Some characters profound, others stereotype. Some plot elements original and striking, others almost TV episode predictable. Iím glad I read it though, and Iíll keep an eye out for others by this guy.

 

I didnít really rate the motiveless villains in the book, much as Sturgeon made them quite ugly rather than just telling us they were nasty (particularly the odious judge). However Horty, especially as a child, is a powerful and touching character. This is particularly where he leaves, say, an Asimov behind.

 

Asimovís great strength, however, was his inspired ideas, and for much of the book the secret of the crystals is an intriguing background, a classically clever SF ĎWhat ifí. However when the secret is finally revealed we get too many pages of straight exposition rather than having the idea integrated into the story. And much as where Sturgeon went with it showed the same sort of brave imagination Bear surprised me with in Blood Music, it still felt far too much like those nasty epic fantasy climaxes where the hero stumbles across his cataclysmic era saving powers with some random mumbo-jumbo that is supposed to make sense but could have gone any direction at all without reference to anything earlier in the book. This is lazy, and it further undermined the standard melodramatic action climax.

 

So in summary I really loved the first half of this book, but felt a bit let down as it forced itself into a less interesting conclusion. His childís view was a triumph, and the way the clever SF idea initially informed rather than overwhelmed the story really impressive. However the subtleties were eventually overrun by the idea and the Batman/Robert Jordan-Terry Goodkind conclusion.

 

February 2009