Monday, December 27, 2004

What is Human?

I'm not quite sure how to describe to you More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon. It is a short book with an interesting story that doesn't have much of a plot. The writing itself is plain and straightforward. The book looked at in pieces isn't that good, but looked at as a whole, it is compelling. I suppose it is only appropriate then that the book needs to be looked at as a whole entity since the point of the book is the evolution of a new species of, homo gestalt. This new species of human is made of more than one person, each person in the gestalt has a purpose; one acts as the brain, one the head, one the legs, one the arms, etc. Each piece of the gestalt has some sort of special psychic ability--teleportation, telekinesis, etc. As an individual each person is nothing but alone (one of the characters even names himself Lone), but together they are a part of something bigger than just themselves, a jigsaw piece that completes the puzzle. The story of More Than Human is about how the first gestalt came to be. The question that arises from the evolution of the gestalt is whether something that is not human, is more than human, can be held to the same moral standards as regular humans. The answer, I won't tell you the answer, is part of the climax of the book. I will say, however, that I did not like the answer. This is not to say I didn't like the ending, I just didn't like the answer. Sometimes it's good to read a book you don't agree with, because I disagree with the conclusion it made me think about it more. This book isn't one everyone will like. If you like science fiction or speculative fiction and/or you are interested in thinking about what humans could become, then you'll enjoy this book. Otherwise you probably want to find something else to read.