Sturgeon’s Law

by | Feb 19, 2018


Theodore Sturgeon was an author of Science Fiction and a prolific reviewer/critic of others’ works. His eponymous law dates to the 1950s and is in response to criticism that “90% of Sci-Fi is crap.” His response, now memorialized as Sturgeon’s Law* , is that “90% of anything is crap”**

Specifically, he stated: “Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. is crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other art forms.”

This concept is not a universal rule but as I’ve reflected on this “rule” over the last month or so since I first heard of it I think it has a lot of applicability.  Note that one corollary to Sturgeon’s Law I read says that if you don’t think 90% of everything is crap, then you’ve set your standards too low. Philosopher Daniel Dennett agrees with the rule having stated: “90% of everything is crap. That is true, whether you are talking about physics, chemistry, evolutionary psychology, sociology, medicine—you name it—rock music, country western. 90% of everything is crap.”***

Note: Sturgeon’s law is very similar to the Pareto Principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 rule, which will be the subject of a future IFOD.

*There is another Sturgeon’s Law which is stated as: “nothing is always absolutely so.

**His original formulation was “90% of everything is crud” but has changed over time to be quoted using the word “crap” instead of “crud.”

***In my opinion, 100% of country music is crap.

While a lot of sci-fi is crap. Here are some of the 10% that are fantastic (IMO):

Ender’s Game

Ready Player One


Foundation Trilogy

The Three Body Problem Trilogy

Snow Crash

Dark Tower Series

Childhood’s End




The Long Run


  1. If all country music is crap. IMO, all rap music is at the core of country music. Therefore, it must be true that all rap music is wrapped in country music and must also be crap.

    How about that!!

  2. Now that i know your love of country music is strong, i will be blasting it towards your house this summer. Thanks for sharing this crud.


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