Sturgeon's Law

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Sturgeon's Law is an adage by Theodore Sturgeon that has become a standard defense of science fiction.

It is also commonly quoted (and misquoted) when discussing the relative quality of fanfiction (or fanworks in general).

The correct phrasing is "Ninety percent of anything is crud." The phrase is often misquoted as "90% of anything is crap," and "90% of things are crap and 10% are brilliant," and a variety of other variations.

One of those variations: "Sure, 90% of science fiction is crud. That's because 90% of everything is crud." Scholars disagree on what word Sturgeon originally used. In its first appearance in print it was "crud," but someone present remembers that in the speech it was 'crap'." [1] Another fan remembers it as "shit." [2]

The first known use of "Sturgeon's Law" was in 1963. The "law," however, was cited in Venture Science Fiction in 1957 as "Sturgeon's Revelation." [3]

For more information, see Sturgeon's Law at Wikipedia.


  1. ^ rec.arts.sf.written FAQ
  2. ^ "Nope. Sturgeon's Law is "9ro of everything is shit." Actually, he meant mediocre. Of course there's always been a debate about whether he meant people too..." -- from K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits #11 (September 1984)
  3. ^ SF Citations