Microcosmic God — The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Volume 2
This second volume in ‘The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon’ series covers work written in 1940 and 1941, and is a quantum leap in quality over the stories in the first volume. Sturgeon was now selling stories regularly to John Campbell for publication in Astounding and Unknown magazines, and had ceased writing the formulaic stories for newspaper syndication found in the first volume. All but two of the stories in this volume were published in Astounding and Unknown.
The highlight of the volume is the title story Microcosmic God, about a reclusive scientist who creates microscopic beings with accelerated evolution. The creatures’ technology soon overtakes that of humanity and the scientist becomes rich from exploiting their inventions, leading to jealousy and trouble from his banker.
All of the seventeen stories in this volume are readable and entertaining, with not a dud among them. A couple (Cargo and The Jumper) reflect the time they were written, being about refugees from the war in Europe and strange goings on in a prisoner of war camp, respectively. The Purple Light is also notable, as it is basically a re-write of a story from the first volume, with the location changed from a plane to a spaceship.
All in all a worthwhile collection of early Sturgeon works, in which any reader should find something to like.