Wednesday, May 09, 2007

24. The Dreaming Jewels by Theodore Sturgeon

The Dreaming Jewels pictureI actually read this book before the Jack Tatum autobiography. I somehow forgot it in my rush to get library books back on time. I found this one purely at random at the library. I have definitely heard the name Theodore Sturgeon before and I feel that somewhere it pops up in a Gilbert Shelton comic (can anyone verify this?).

The Dreaming Jewels is about an adopted boy who runs away from his totally abusive father. He hitches a ride with a bunch of midgets who happen to be a part of a carny. The only thing he brings with him is a jack-in-the-box doll (now smashed by his adopted father) with peculiar jewel eyes. As the story progresses, you see that the eyes and the boy are strangely connected. The narrative gets even deeper as the manager of the carny turns out to be a disgraced doctor who hates humanity and is obsessed with these strange jewels he once discovered.

This is a really interesting book, because it is a mix of two strong (and not well-respected) genres of the time it was written(1950): science fiction and crime. It is kind of half Charles Willeford half Andre Norton. There are seedy jazz clubs, carny love, corrupt local judges as well as telepathic powers, non-human intelligences and mad science. It's a combination that I really enjoyed, like my own personal genre peanut butter cup. Furthermore, this book went fast, the characters were interesting and well realized and there are some strong and moving themes about humanity and cruelty. I am definitely going to stay on the Theodore Sturgeon path.


Jason L said...

Interesting. I know this book as The Synthetic Man. I haven't read much Sturgeon but he seems so iconic as a '50s sci-fi author I know his words will be around forever.

OlmanFeelyus said...

I just learned that this was his first novel. Perhaps it's not representative of the rest of his work. He certainly seems like a cool cat, though.

Crumbolst said...

"my own personal genre peanut butter cup"