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Vintage Treasures: To Here and the Easel by Theodore Sturgeon

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

To Here and the Easel-smallA few weeks ago, I wrote about Theodore Sturgeon’s collection The Stars Are the Styx and complained that virtually all of Sturgeon’s brilliant short story collections had now been out of print for over three decades.

I did this mostly out of bitterness and greed. I’d spent several years happily tracking down all 16 of Sturgeon’s paperback collections — a highly collectible lot — but now, those days were over. I wanted more, but  no more were forthcoming. It’s not like I was going to discover a new Sturgeon collection I’d never heard of or something.

Of course, a few days after I wrote that article, I discovered a new Sturgeon collection I’d never heard of.

It was To Here and the Easel, a gorgeous Panther paperback from 1975, with an eye-catching Peter Jones cover. I discovered it accidentally on eBay and, after gawking at it for several long minutes — and them making sure it wasn’t simply a retitled version of a US collection I already had — I promptly purchased it.

It arrived a few days later and I am thrilled to have it. Here’s the back cover blurb:

Here are all the ingredients for a splendidly varied and entertaining collection of science fiction and science fantasy: a mental parasite which lives in the minds of successive human hosts, forcing them to do its will… the man who ‘reads’ gravestones… a devastating weapon sent from beyond space and time which poses the ultimate threat to an already shaky galactic federation… and more!

With virtuoso skill and brilliance of invention, Theodore Sturgeon displays in this collection the mastery of his field which has won him international acclaim.

The book contains three complete novellas (“To Here and the Easel,” “There Is No Defence,” and “The Perfect Host”) and three short stories. I especially love novellas, so this a a real treat for me.

Here’s the complete Table of Contents:

“To Here and the Easel” (Star Short Novels, Oct 1954)
“The Skills of Xanadu” (Galaxy Science Fiction, July 1956)
“There Is No Defence” (Astounding Science Fiction, February 1948)
“The Perfect Host” (Weird Tales, November 1948)
“The Graveyard Reader” (The Graveyard Reader, 1958)
“Shottle Bop” (Unknown Fantasy Fiction, February 1941)

Our most recent coverage of Theodore Sturgeon includes:

A Touch of Strange (1958)
Not Without Sorcery (1961)
Sturgeon in Orbit (1964)
Starshine (1966)
Sturgeon is Alive and Well… (1971)
To Here and the Easel (1973)
The Stars Are the Styx (1979)

To Here and the Easel was published by Panther Books in the UK in 1975. It is 255 pages, originally priced at 60p (I think that’s 60 pence for you commoners). The cover is by Peter Jones. I bought a fine, unread-condition copy on eBay for $10. There was never a US edition, which explains why it escaped my notice for all these years. It is currently out of print and there is no digital edition.

See all of our recent Vintage Treasures posts here.

2 Comments »

  1. Isfdb lists 26 English language collections, not counting the 13 volumes of collected stories from North Atlantic Books. You have a lot more treasure hunting to do.

    Comment by bobby_5150 - July 24, 2014 3:29 pm

  2. Bobby,

    Right you are!

    I found the Wikipedia list a little more useful, though. It references 16 original collections published during Sturgeon’s lifetime, all containing previously uncollected material. Those form the core of his canon.

    It also lists several additional collections, consisting entirely of reprints of previously collected material (including TO HERE AND THE EASEL.) If you have the first 16 volumes, you have everything in these books.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Sturgeon

    Still, there’s plenty to attract collectors to these additional volumes — including new introductions, artwork, etc.

    Comment by John ONeill - July 25, 2014 12:10 am


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