“Mr Costello, Hero,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1953

“Mr Costello, Hero,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1953 –Costello is able to inspire suspicion and paranoia wherever he goes by creating enemies from thin air and playing upon the vanity of fools.  Once neighbor has turned on neighbor, Costello swiftly steps in to create “order” from chaos. At the conclusion, an opposing force roots him out of the planet where he’s established himself as dictator.  Costello is eventually deposited on a psychiatric treatment planet, where he passes the time by burning ants with a magnifying glass.

Comments: Well-known satire of McCarthyism.  Themes of tolerance, difference, paranoia, and madness.  Read in Connoisseur’s Science Fiction.  A more detailed review of this story and Sturgeon’s fiction is available at “Theodore Sturgeon, Storyteller” (Paul Williams, 1976).  Quotes from Sturgeon on the inspiration for the story are available at Lorem Ipsum.  Also see the Old Time Radio X Minus One broadcast of this story and a review of the broadcast.

Author: Wikipedia: “Theodore Sturgeon (born Edward Hamilton Waldo; February 26, 1918 – May 8, 1985) was an American science fiction and horror author…In 1951, Sturgeon coined what is now known as Sturgeon’s Law: ‘Ninety percent of [science fiction] is crud, but then, ninety percent of everything is crud.’…Sturgeon was a distant relative of Ralph Waldo Emerson.”


About jennre

Lifelong sf fan, first-time blogger
This entry was posted in 1946-1959, difference/tolerance, favorites, paranoia/schitzophrenia, politics/politicians/elections, psych/mind/madness, satire, surveillance, the Other, totalitarianism/fascism. Bookmark the permalink.

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