Sturgeon’s Law

Ninety percent of everything is crud.

Theodore Sturgeon

The science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon (1918-1985) formulated Sturgeon’s Law, also known as Sturgeon’s Revelation, in response to critics who judged science fiction by its typical examples rather than its best examples.  Yes, he said, ninety percent of science fiction is bad or mediocre, but so is ninety percent of literature, poetry, art, consumer goods or anything else.  What counts, he said, is the other ten percent.

Click on Theodore Sturgeon, Storyteller, for an account of Sturgeon’s life and appreciation of his work.  This was written at a time when Sturgeon’s literary reputation was in eclipse.  Since then his reputation has recovered, and a complete edition of his works is currently being published.

Click on Yesterday’s Tomorrows: Theodore Sturgeon for another appreciation of Sturgeon’s work.

Click on Sturgeon’s Law Television Tropes for some corollaries to Sturgeon’s Law.

Many contemporary writers, such as Margaret Atwood, write science fiction while insisting that it is not science fiction.  The best response was written by Kingsley Amis or maybe Robert Conquest, both hard-core science fiction fans, many years ago.

“SF’s no good,” they bellow ’til we’re deaf.

“But this is good.” “Well, then, it’s not SF.”

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