Watts (chipotle) wrote,

Sturgeon's Revelation

I've seen a couple references recently to "Sturgeon's Law," usually in a fannish context. I'm sure most or all of you know Sturgeon's Law: "90% of everything is crud (or crap, or another derogatory word)."

Well, while I posted about this long ago in a comment on Xydexx's journal, this is something worth repeating. Sturgeon's Law -- or more accurately, Sturgeon's Revelation -- has been almost entirely abstracted from its context, and is most often found these days being used by net.bastards to smirk at whatever they're being cynical about at the moment.

Sturgeon was Theodore Sturgeon, considered one of the more literate science fiction writers of his day and a passionate humanist -- and a gentle but insistent defender of science fiction's virtues against those who sneered at it. He codified this famous statement in the March 1958 issue of Venture Science Fiction:

I repeat Sturgeon's Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud.

The Revelation: Ninety percent of everything is crud.

Corollary 1: The existence of immense quantities of trash in science fiction is admitted and it is regrettable, but it is no more unnatural than the existence of trash anywhere.

Corollary 2: The best science fiction is as good as the best fiction in any field.

There are lot of other things I can apply this to, and a lot of them you could probably guess -- but I leave that to your imagination.


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