“The Man Who Lost the Sea” by Theodore Sturgeon is story #6 of 52 from the anthology The World Treasury of Science Fiction edited by David G. Hartwell (1989) that my short story club is group reading. Stories are discussed on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. “The Man Who Lost the Sea” was first published in the October 1959 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
My third reading of “The Man Who Lost the Sea” left my eyes stinging with tears, just like they had for the second reading. Nearly everything I felt while reading the story for the third time I had said in my second review. My first review was all about trying to get everyone to read the story.
I found Sturgeon’s prose while reading “The Man Who Lost the Sea” this time far more vivid than the first two times, and I look forward to reading it again in the future. A couple weeks ago I watched a YouTube video by a guy reviewing classic litature (Joyce, Proust, Pynchon). He said his professor had taught him to really get to know a book required reading it ten times.
I have a self-imposed rule when reading anthologies. Whenever I’m reading a new anthology and it has stories in it that I’ve read before, I reread them — even if they were in the last anthology I just finished. Even if I didn’t like them. Sometimes a story I didn’t like on my first reading, or the second, becomes a favorite.
“The Man Who Lost the Sea” is the kind of story that I use for my 5-star ratings. Those are stories I want to read and reread over my entire lifetime. I’ve probably read “The Man Who Lost the Sea” more than three times because I can’t remember everything I read years or decades ago. I’ve just read and reviewed it three times in a little over two years for this blog. The great thing about doing this blog is documenting my memory, it’s highly unreliable, and getting more so.
Memory is one of my favorite subjects and themes, and “The Man Who Lost the Sea” is also about memory and memories.
James Wallace Harris, 5/17/23