THE DEEP ONES: "Baby Is Three" by Theodore Sturgeon

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THE DEEP ONES: "Baby Is Three" by Theodore Sturgeon

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feb. 21, 2020, 4:19pm

I'll revisit from my paperback of More Than Human but admit I've not researched whether there are any major changes between the novella and the book chapter. I'll aim to do a quick skim of the online novella after reading, to see if I spot any obvious differences.

Editat: feb. 25, 2020, 8:55am

FYI - if you click the link above to go to the online version of the story and then click "Back to Item Details" in the .pdf, you'll find the key to all of the birthday guests on the cover on p. 2.

feb. 26, 2020, 10:54am

Sturgeon writes in a way that immediately draws me into the story, even when re-reading and I know what's coming. I've read it maybe 3-4 times in the last year, it's quick but mostly I find myself checking in on a specific passage and then before I know it, I've read 10-20 pages.

Something I find interesting in this story is the contrast between the psychiatric session between Gerry and Stern, on the one hand, and the interactions between Gerry and the kids he lives with. It's all described very matter-of-factly, very contemporary and realistic. What's going on in the clinical dynamic is mundane, and what's going on in the home dynamic is anything but typical, but it's all described using the same language. This approach allows the weirdness to creep in, or perhaps to enter the story without it being obvious. This continues through this novella, and is evident in the other 2 novellas making up the book proper.

Incidentally I did not spot any differences between the novella as published in Galaxy, and as published in the novel.

Editat: feb. 26, 2020, 12:52pm

Still re-reading, but I really appreciate Sturgeon's deft technique. When he introduces the children, you get a pretty easy-to-follow crash-course in not just who, but what they are (although there is certainly more to come). I also like the little accents like the Gerry waking up and seeing the ice breaking under Lone's feet as he's carried across the pond.

I think that this is one of the truly groundbreaking early SF tales that really pointed the way onward & upward for the genre.

feb. 27, 2020, 11:57am

The Weirdest element of the story is actually not so much in this novella as in the novel, but it is here. It's the bleshing of the kids. There are a couple scenes where some of that is hinted. The first is when Gerry first meets them all, the "crash course' as KentonSem put it. Another is when the kids (minus Lone and Baby) confront Miss Kew about taking Baby away.

Sometimes I wonder if the Weirdness of these scenes has been diluted through repeated use in Science Fiction tales and comics. Maybe it has been. Another way it's been diluted, though, is Sturgeon's prose: everything is succinctly described, that we might not find it normal but it's very clear what happened so the reader might miss the import of it all. In fact, in this novella, the primary mystery and tension is linked up with Gerry's psychological break (why can't he remember why he killed someone?). If there were more mystery in the description of the bleshing, it might come across as Weirder. But it's not, all of the bleshing and odd behaviour is described very straightforwardly, very clearly (if at times incomplete), there's little tension around it. But the mystery should still be there.

març 10, 2020, 7:10pm

Catching up on my Deep Ones readings.

This story left me a bit cold though I'll acknowledge it's skillfully done. Gerard's dialogue reminded me, at the opening, of film noir tough guy conversation.

Partly, I'm just not one for these stories sympathetically presenting the next clade that will replace humans. And I'm not much for psi stories especially with children. To me, Philip K. Dick's "The Golden Man" is a nice riposte to stories like this.