A Saucer of Loneliness

"A Saucer of Loneliness" is a short story by American writer Theodore Sturgeon that first appeared in Galaxy Science Fiction n. 27 (February 1953). It was later adapted as a radio play for X Minus One in 1957, and as the second segment of the twenty-fifth episode (the first episode of the second season, 1986–87) of the television series The Twilight Zone, starring actress Shelley Duvall.

Galaxy 195302
"A Saucer of Loneliness" was originally published in the February 1953 issue of Galaxy.

Summary

A man sees a woman on the beach one night—he suspects she will attempt suicide. He spots her in the ocean and plunges in to save her. She struggles but he manages to get her ashore. Subsequently, she tells him her story: Years earlier in Central Park she saw a very small flying saucer hovering about her, small enough to put her arms around it. It floated down next to her and touched itself against her forehead for a second and they then both fell to the ground.

While recovering, a small crowd gathers around her. A policeman shows up, the crowd increases in size, and an FBI agent arrives. The girl sits up and says that the saucer spoke to her. The FBI man orders her to shut up and takes both the girl and the now-inanimate saucer into custody. The authorities obtain no information from the saucer or from the girl. They interrogate her about everything but especially about what the saucer had said to her. She refuses to answer, as the saucer was talking only to her, and thinks that it's nobody else's business. Finally, after many months in custody, including jail, she is released.

Even though she is plain and awkward, men ask her out in dates, but only in order to find out what the saucer said to her. Every now and then reporters track her down to ask about the saucer. Finally, she resorted to taking a job as a night cleaner so that no one else will see her. In her loneliness and isolation, she takes to throwing messages in bottles into the ocean. The authorities try to collect all the bottles but eventually give up when they find the same message in each bottle. The message in the bottles is a poem about loneliness.

The man then explains that he found one of her bottles two years ago and has been looking for her ever since. He heard about the bottles hereabouts and that she had quit throwing them, and he had taken to wandering the dunes at night, looking for her. He knew why she threw them, and, when he thinks that she will attempt suicide, he ran all the way. He tells her that he thinks she is beautiful. He also tells her what the saucer said to her—he knows because it is the same message that she has been putting into her bottles:

To the loneliest one...
There is in certain living souls
A quality of loneliness unspeakable
So great it must be shared
As company is shared by lesser beings
Such a loneliness is mine; so know by this
That in immensity
There is one lonelier than you.

"She said nothing, but it was as if a light came from her, more light and far less shadow than the practiced moon could cast. Among the many things it meant was that even to loneliness there is an end, for those who are lonely enough, long enough."

And the meaning of the saucer has become clear: it too was a bottle cast into the interplanetary or galactic sea, by some alien being also consumed by loneliness.

In 2004, "A Saucer Of Loneliness" was nominated for a 'Retro Hugo' for Short Story 1954 (Hugo Award for Best Short Story). It was also the title of the seventh book in the anthology series The Collected Short Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, published in 2000.

Twilight Zone episode

The TV adaptation differs from the short story in several aspects mostly due to TV storytelling requirements. The woman's loneliness, revealed only gradually in the short story, is obvious from the beginning in the episode. The time frame is shorter. The resolution (the orb) is missing in the short story.

French TV adaptation

In 1982, this short story of Theodore Sturgeon was adapted by the French television, with the title "La soucoupe de solitude" and actress Catherine Leprince playing the main character. The director is Philippe Monnier. The episode itself aired on FR3 (France 3) September 8, 1982.[1]

References

  1. ^ "La soucoupe de solitude" on IMDb

External links

A Saucer of Loneliness (The Twilight Zone)

"A Saucer of Loneliness" is the second segment of the twenty-fifth episode, the first episode of the second season (1986–87) of the television series The Twilight Zone. It is based on the short story of the same name by Theodore Sturgeon.

George R. R. Martin

George Raymond Richard Martin (born George Raymond Martin; September 20, 1948), also known as GRRM, is an American novelist and short story writer in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres, screenwriter, and television producer. He is best known for his series of epic fantasy novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, which was adapted into the HBO series Game of Thrones (2011–present).

In 2005, Lev Grossman of Time called Martin "the American Tolkien", and in 2011, he was included on the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world.

Hugo Award for Best Short Story

The Hugo Award for Best Short Story is one of the Hugo Awards given each year for science fiction or fantasy stories published or translated into English during the previous calendar year. The short story award is available for works of fiction of fewer than 7,500 words; awards are also given out for pieces of longer lengths in the novelette, novella, and novel categories. The Hugo Awards have been described as "a fine showcase for speculative fiction" and "the best known literary award for science fiction writing".The Hugo Award for Best Short Story has been awarded annually since 1955, except in 1957. The award was titled "Best Short Fiction" rather than "Best Short Story" in 1960–1966. During this time no Novelette category was awarded and the Novella category had not yet been established; the award was defined only as a work "of less than novel length" that was not published as a stand-alone book. In addition to the regular Hugo awards, beginning in 1996 Retrospective Hugo Awards, or "Retro Hugos", have been available to be awarded for 50, 75, or 100 years prior. Retro Hugos may only be awarded for years in which a World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, was hosted, but no awards were originally given. To date, Retro Hugo awards have been given for short stories for 1939, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1951, and 1954.Hugo Award nominees and winners are chosen by supporting or attending members of the annual Worldcon, and the presentation evening constitutes its central event. The selection process is defined in the World Science Fiction Society Constitution as instant-runoff voting with six nominees, except in the case of a tie. The short stories on the ballot are the six most-nominated by members that year, with no limit on the number of stories that can be nominated. The 1955 and 1958 awards did not include any recognition of runner-up stories, but since 1959 all six candidates have been recorded. Initial nominations are made by members in January through March, while voting on the ballot of six nominations is performed roughly in April through July, subject to change depending on when that year's Worldcon is held. Prior to 2017, the final ballot was five works; it was changed that year to six, with each initial nominator limited to five nominations. Worldcons are generally held near Labor Day, and are held in a different city around the world each year. Members are permitted to vote "no award", if they feel that none of the nominees is deserving of the award that year, and in the case that "no award" takes the majority the Hugo is not given in that category. This happened in the Best Short Story category in 2015.During the 69 nomination years, 191 authors have had works nominated; 52 of these have won, including co-authors and Retro Hugos. Harlan Ellison has received the most Hugos for Best Short Story at four, Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven, Mike Resnick, Michael Swanwick, and Connie Willis have each won three times, and Poul Anderson, Joe Haldeman, and Ken Liu have won twice, the only other authors to win more than once. Resnick has received the most nominations at 18, while Swanwick has received 14; no other author has gotten more than 7. Michael A. Burstein, with 7, has the highest number of nominations without winning.

Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories 15 (1953)

Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories 15 (1953) is the fifteenth volume of Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories, which is a series of short story collections, edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg, that attempts to include the best science fiction stories from the Golden Age of Science Fiction. The editors date the "Golden Age" as beginning in 1939 and ending in 1963.

This volume was originally published by DAW books in December 1986.

Jeff Yagher

Jeffrey Brian "Jeff" Yagher (born January 18, 1961) is an American actor.

John D. Hancock

John D. Hancock (born February 12, 1939) is an American stage and film director, producer and writer. He is perhaps best known for his work on Bang the Drum Slowly. Hancock's theatrical work includes direction of both classic and contemporary plays, from Shakespeare to Saul Bellow.

Joseph McCarthy

Joseph Raymond McCarthy (November 14, 1908 – May 2, 1957) was an American politician who served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957. Beginning in 1950, McCarthy became the most visible public face of a period in the United States in which Cold War tensions fueled fears of widespread Communist subversion. He is known for alleging that numerous Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers had infiltrated the United States federal government, universities, film industry, and elsewhere. Ultimately, the smear tactics that he used led him to be censured by the U.S. Senate. The term "McCarthyism", coined in 1950 in reference to McCarthy's practices, was soon applied to similar anti-communist activities. Today, the term is used in reference to what are considered demagogic, reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents.Born in Grand Chute, Wisconsin, McCarthy commissioned in to the Marine Corps in 1942, where he served as an intelligence briefing officer for a dive bomber squadron. Following the end of World War II, he attained the rank of major. He volunteered to fly twelve combat missions as a gunner-observer, acquiring the nickname "Tail-Gunner Joe". Some of his claims of heroism were later shown to be exaggerated or falsified, leading many of his critics to use "Tail-Gunner Joe" as a term of mockery.

McCarthy successfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 1946, defeating Robert M. La Follette Jr. After three largely undistinguished years in the Senate, McCarthy rose suddenly to national fame in February 1950 when he asserted in a speech that he had a list of "members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring" who were employed in the State Department. In succeeding years after his 1950 speech, McCarthy made additional accusations of Communist infiltration into the State Department, the administration of President Harry S. Truman, the Voice of America, and the U.S. Army. He also used various charges of communism, communist sympathies, disloyalty, or sex crimes to attack a number of politicians and other individuals inside and outside of government. This included a concurrent "Lavender Scare" against suspected homosexuals (as homosexuality was prohibited by law at the time, it was also perceived to increase a person's risk for blackmail). Former U.S. Senator Alan K. Simpson has written, "The so-called 'Red Scare' has been the main focus of most historians of that period of time."

With the highly publicized Army–McCarthy hearings of 1954, and following the suicide of Wyoming Senator Lester C. Hunt that same year, McCarthy's support and popularity faded. On December 2, 1954, the Senate voted to censure Senator McCarthy by a vote of 67–22, making him one of the few senators ever to be disciplined in this fashion. He continued to speak against communism and socialism until his death at the age of 48 at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland on May 2, 1957. His death certificate listed the cause of death as "Hepatitis, acute, cause unknown". Doctors had not previously reported him to be in critical condition. Some biographers say this was caused or exacerbated by alcoholism.

Kurt Vonnegut bibliography

The bibliography of Kurt Vonnegut (1922–2007) includes essays, books and fiction, as well as film and television adaptations of works written by the Indianapolis-born author. Vonnegut began his literary career with science fiction short stories and novels, but abandoned the genre to focus on political writings and painting in his later life.

LGBT themes in speculative fiction

LGBT themes in speculative fiction refer to the incorporation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) themes into science fiction, fantasy, horror fiction and related genres. Such elements may include an LGBT character as the protagonist or a major character, or explorations of sexuality or gender that deviate from the hetero-normative.

Science fiction and fantasy have traditionally been puritanical genres aimed at a male readership, and can be more restricted than non-genre literature by their conventions of characterisation and the effect that these conventions have on depictions of sexuality and gender. However, speculative fiction also gives authors and readers the freedom to imagine societies that are different from real-life cultures. This freedom makes speculative fiction a useful means of examining sexual bias, by forcing the reader to reconsider his or her heteronormative cultural assumptions. It has also been claimed by critics such as Nicola Griffith that LGBT readers identify strongly with the mutants, aliens, and other outsider characters found in speculative fiction.

Before the 1960s, explicit sexuality of any kind was rare in speculative fiction, as the editors who controlled what was published attempted to protect their perceived key market of adolescent male readers. As the readership broadened, it became possible to include characters who were undisguised homosexuals, though these tended to be villains, and lesbians remained almost entirely unrepresented. In the 1960s, science fiction and fantasy began to reflect the changes prompted by the civil rights movement and the emergence of a counterculture. New wave and feminist science fiction authors realised cultures in which homosexuality, bisexuality and a variety of gender models were the norm, and in which sympathetic depictions of alternative sexuality were commonplace.

From the 1980s onwards, homosexuality gained much wider mainstream acceptance, and was often incorporated into otherwise conventional speculative fiction stories. Works emerged that went beyond simple representation of homosexuality to explorations of specific issues relevant to the LGBT community. This development was helped by the growing number of openly gay or lesbian authors and their early acceptance by speculative fiction fandom. Specialist gay publishing presses and a number of awards recognising LGBT achievements in the genre emerged, and by the twenty-first century blatant homophobia was no longer considered acceptable by most readers of speculative fiction. There was a concurrent increase in representation of homosexuality within non-literary forms of speculative fiction. The inclusion of LGBT themes in comic books, television and film continues to attract media attention and controversy, while the perceived lack of sufficient representation, along with unrealistic depictions, provokes criticism from LGBT sources.

List of The Twilight Zone (1985 TV series) episodes

This is a list of episodes of the 1985 revival of The Twilight Zone.

The show was narrated by:

Charles Aidman (1985–1987)

Robin Ward (1988–1989)

Shelley Duvall

Shelley Alexis Duvall (born July 7, 1949) is an American former actress, producer, writer and singer. Over the duration of her career, Duvall garnered critical acclaim for her portrayals of various eccentric characters.Duvall began her career appearing in various Robert Altman films in the 1970s, including Brewster McCloud (1970), McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), Thieves Like Us (1974), Nashville (1975), and 3 Women (1977), which won her the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress and a BAFTA nomination for Best Actress.

She had a supporting role in Annie Hall (1977) before starring in lead roles in Popeye (1980) and The Shining (1980). Later, Duvall appeared in Time Bandits (1981), Frankenweenie (1984), Roxanne (1987), and The Portrait of a Lady (1996). She is also an Emmy-nominated producer responsible for Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre, which she also narrated and starred in, and other child-friendly anthology series. Duvall's most recent performance was in Manna from Heaven (2002).

The Once and Future King (The Twilight Zone)

"The Once and Future King" is the first segment of the twenty-fifth episode, the first episode of the second season (1986–87) of the television series The Twilight Zone.

The World Well Lost

"The World Well Lost" is a science fiction short story by American writer Theodore Sturgeon, first published in the June 1953 issue of Universe. It has been reprinted several times, for instance in Sturgeon's collections E Pluribus Unicorn, Starshine, and A Saucer of Loneliness. The story takes its title from the subtitle of John Dryden's verse drama All for Love.

Theodore Sturgeon

Theodore Sturgeon (; born Edward Hamilton Waldo, February 26, 1918 – May 8, 1985) was an American writer, primarily of fantasy, science fiction and horror. He was also a critic. He wrote approximately 400 reviews and more than 200 stories.Sturgeon's science fiction novel More Than Human (1953) won the 1954 International Fantasy Award (for SF and fantasy) as the year's best novel and the Science Fiction Writers of America ranked "Baby is Three" number five among the "Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time" to 1964. Ranked by votes for all of their pre-1965 novellas, Sturgeon was second among authors, behind Robert Heinlein.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame inducted Sturgeon in 2000, its fifth class of two dead and two living writers.

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