Killdozer! — The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Volume 3
This third volume of Complete Stories contains works written between 1941 and 1946, although Sturgeon was suffering from writers’ block during the war years and produced no work from mid ’41 to mid ’44. When he resumed writing, he came back with a bang, with one of his most successful stories Killdozer, about an incorporeal energy being who takes control of a bulldozer and goes on a killing spree. The story was adapted for a TV movie in 1974. This volume also includes the original ending for the story, which was changed for publication.
Following the success of Killdozer, it seems Sturgeon tried to cash in by writing a few more stories featuring bulldozers, such as Abreaction and Bulldozer Is A Noun, which are included in this volume, but none had the same success as the original.
Of the fifteen stories in this collection, the other tales worth mentioning are The Chromium Helmet, about a machine which implants false memories, The Hag Séleen, about creepy goings-on in a Louisiana swamp, and Mewhu’s Jet, which may be one of the earliest stories about a visit to earth by an alien child, in the same vein as Spielberg’s E.T. An unpublished alternate ending for the latter story is also included in this volume.
The collection includes four unpublished stories — Poor Yorick, Crossfire, Bulldozer Is A Noun, and August Sixth 1945 — as well as Noon Gun, which is published in book form for the first time.
All the stories are entertaining reads, excepting a couple of the unpublished stories (which may explain why they were unpublished), with Killdozer being the standout of the collection.
A worthwhile read for any Sturgeon fan, or anyone wanting an introduction to the author’s early work.