In choosing Theodore Sturgeon's first novel for their initial venture into the field of science-fiction, GREENBERG: PUBLISHER has indeed been fortunate. Here is a book that will appeal alike to the seasoned fantasy fan and to the reader who is new to the field.
"The Dreaming Jewels" first appeared in the February, 1950 FANTASTIC ADVENTURES. The book version has been considerably rewritten, with new material added and a whole new ending.
This is the story of Horty Bluett, a foundling who runs away to find, among the "strange people" of a carnival sideshow, that he is not quite human, but rather more.
His strange path takes him from Kay Hallowell, the neighbor girl who gave him sympathy and friendship when others turned from him, to Zena, beautiful and wise -- and four feet tall. His friends include Havana and Bunny, carnival midgets, and Solum, the Alligator-Skinned Man, "the ugliest human in captivity". He meets "The Man-Eater", who hates all humanity and uses the "dreaming jewels" against mankind. Finally Horty's destiny leads him back to the scenes of his childhood where his path again crosses those of Kay and of his adopted father, Armand Bluett. Early in the story Horty loses three fingers. His pursuit of the knowledge of why they grew back, and the powers that developed from that knowledge form the gackbone of the tale.
It is a credit to any writer when he can take so many strange characters and make them live, believably. That Theodore Sturgeon has succeeded so well in this, is due in no small part to the incredible range of his own life -- familiarity with carnivals; with music, which plays an important part in the story; and with a thousand and one strange by-ways of life in our times. But then, it is this same breadth of experience, wrought in his exquisite style, which gives to Theodore Sturgeon's tales that inimitable flavor that has made him a favorite of all who know his work.
In the original magazine version, the ending was somewhat less than satisfactory to many readers. For the book, the ending has been entirely rewritten. This reviewer found the new ending much more satisfying.
Since this book, due in September, was reviewed from page proofs, I can say nothing about the binding, but the typography is attractive and easy to read. To my mind, this is an ideal title for hard covers. Not only will the dyed-in-the-wool fan enjoy it, but its treatment and story value make it an ideal introduction to science-fiction for those who have not previously been acquainted with it. "The Dreaming Jewels" will send many first-time readers back for more science-fiction.
---- Donald B. Day
Data entry by Judy Bemis
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