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Theodore Sturgeon's papers will live long and prosper at University of Kansas

July 8, 2011 |  6:45 am


The papers of science-fiction author Theodore Sturgeon, who died in 1985 at age 67, will go to the University of Kansas. They will be held at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library.

Sturgeon began publishing science fiction in the late 1930s, and became a significant science-fiction writer. "He was an influence on most of us science-fiction and fantasy writers," Ray Bradbury said upon Sturgeon's death.

Among his most lasting achievements were two scripts for the original "Star Trek" series, "Shore Leave" and "Amok Time," which introduced the lasting Vulcan salute, "Live long and prosper."

In 1970, Sturgeon won Nebula and Hugo awards for his short story "Slow Sculpture." His novels include "More than Human" (1953), "The Golden Helix" (1979) and "Godbody," published posthumously in 1986.

Sturgeon was also known for coining "Sturgeon's Law" or "Sturgeon's Revelation" around 1951, when wrestling with accusations that a lot of science fiction was no-good pulp. Sturgeon explained in 1958:

Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. are crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other artforms.

The Sturgeon collection, valued at $600,000, had up until now been privately held in two parts -- the Woodstock collection, from his widow, Marion, and the Sturgeon Literary Trust collection managed by daughter Noël. She cited University of Kansas professor emeritus James Gunn's "long dedication to the teaching and scholarship of science fiction, and his particular interest in and support of my father’s work," for prompting the move to the University of Kansas.

Where it is expected to (what else?) live long and prosper.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: A scene from the original "Star Trek" television series with Nichelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner and Walter Koenig. Credit: Paramount Pictures