dhalgren

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THE SUN HAS GROWN DEADLY ...

THE WORLD HAS GONE MAD, SOCIETY HAS
PERISHED, SAVAGERY RULES
OVER ALL. ALL THAT WAS KNOWN
IS OVER, ALL THAT WAS FAMILIAR IS
STRANGE AND TERRIBLE. TODAY
AND YESTERDAY COLLIDE WITH TOMORROW.
IN THESE DYING DAYS OF EARTH,
A YOUNG DRIFTER ENTERS THE CITY

http://blogs.walkerart.org/design/files/2008/11/dhalgren_front.jpg

thomp, Saturday, 20 June 2009 08:33 (ten years ago) link

possibly some actual thought about the book another time, but: i just had a dhalgren-influenced dream, except instead of an american city in the midwest it was a mid-size east anglian town like the one i grew up in. i was joining some kind of volunteer police force to help with street crime. there were weird semi-supernatural things happening. actually i was playing half life 2 yesterday, so i think it borrowed some of the post-apocalyptic city graphics from that. anyway, after avoiding a gang of roaming scorpions i went back to the volunteer police force people and suddenly it turned into a standard real-world job-app situation, "i'd just like to give you some feedback on your interview," etc.; then i woke up.

thomp, Saturday, 20 June 2009 08:48 (ten years ago) link

By contrast, fellow writers such as Philip K. Dick and Harlan Ellison hated the novel. When the book appeared, Ellison in the L. A. Times (Sunday, February 23, 1975, p. 64) wrote: "I must be honest. I gave up after 361 pages. I could not permit myself to be gulled or bored any further." In an interview 27 years later, he said: "When Dhalgren came out, I thought it was awful, still do ... I ... threw it against a wall." Dick called Dhalgren "a terrible book" that "should have been marketed as trash. ... I just started reading it and said this is the worst trash I've ever read. And I threw it away."

thomp, Saturday, 20 June 2009 08:49 (ten years ago) link

I went to look at the other two Delany threads - that cover was described but I didn't pay much notice, goddam what a thing of beauty! I'll hunt and hunt for that..

Those comments above...I wonder if its because Delany's sentences strike one as more 'literary' than pulp-like. So Harlan gave up at THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY ONE PAGES, huh? So odd that the exact page is given.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 20 June 2009 09:46 (ten years ago) link

the dick one, in all fairness, is probably because he genuinely didn't get past the scene in which two unnamed characters have sex and one inexplicably turns into a tree

thomp, Saturday, 20 June 2009 11:01 (ten years ago) link

Funny, I was just reading about this a few days ago. The Bantam text is supposed to have a bunch of errors.

I like the Bantam cover to Triton better. Hava a look and you'll see why.

alimosina, Saturday, 20 June 2009 23:43 (ten years ago) link

I've tried to read this twice now and haven't been able to get past the first hundred pages. I just find it such heavy-going for some reason. I'm a big fan of both Delaney's other work like Babel-17 and other "dense" SF authors like Gene Wolfe, so I don't know what gives really. I think I might try it again soon.

the dick one, in all fairness, is probably because he genuinely didn't get past the scene in which two unnamed characters have sex and one inexplicably turns into a tree

This is as far as I got on my first go-through as well...

ears are wounds, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 10:28 (ten years ago) link

dick's characters always be turnin' into trees for fully explicable reasons.

ledge, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 10:34 (ten years ago) link

it's not really dense sf. it's dense something else which enjoys the odd sf trope.

thomp, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 11:38 (ten years ago) link

plus also the odd high fantasy trope: there's something leiberish or conanish about the kid's coming to the city and being granted all these artifacts of power: talisman, weapon, spellbook . . .

thomp, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 11:43 (ten years ago) link

two weeks pass...

although obviously it's really a western

anyone got any ideas about what's going on in the last section of this?

thomp, Friday, 10 July 2009 13:28 (ten years ago) link

Not sure what you're asking. The circle closes/the cycle repeats, with a little overlap so we can see the circular structure. The city pushes Kidd out and invites the next sucker/hero in.

Beanbag the Gardener (WmC), Friday, 10 July 2009 13:52 (ten years ago) link

more the order of the apocalyptic sections / why lanya* beats up and possibly kills john** / why jack*** thanks her for this / whether it was john who shot paul fenster****, i guess. and other stuff, but most of that (the scratched leg, the red eyeballs) i'm pretty sure there's no real explanation to be made of.

*the hippy girlfriend
**the leader of the commune
***the army deserter who can't adjust to bellona
****the (ex-?) Civil Rights activist

thomp, Friday, 10 July 2009 14:01 (ten years ago) link

who is carrying the notebook the last time it is seen, would be another one

thomp, Friday, 10 July 2009 14:02 (ten years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Bellona = Fort Myers, Florida

Downtown Fort Myers condo has 32 stories, and one lonely tale
Condo can get spooky for tower's only family

....They’re the only ones using a well-appointed clubhouse, but they can’t watch the big plasma TV.

“We haven’t found the remote controls,” Victor said.

Pause for a moment anywhere in the building during the day and the silence is deafening.

At night, Vangelakos said, they often hear people on the grounds or even inside the building itself. It’s not hard to break in one of the many entrances.

Once, late at night, “Somebody banged on our door,” Vanelakos said.

It wouldn’t have been hard to find the person in the otherwise darkened building.
“At night,” he said, “you can see our TV from the street.”

Especially popular for intruders is the swimming pool, Vangelakos said. They heard people there one night “and the next day all our chairs were in the pool.”

Beanbag the Gardener (WmC), Thursday, 30 July 2009 22:11 (ten years ago) link

How many people will be breaking in there now?

Hope none of those kids plays near the elevators.

Beanbag the Gardener (WmC), Friday, 31 July 2009 00:12 (ten years ago) link

board outing xpost

thomp, Friday, 31 July 2009 00:12 (ten years ago) link

I seriously wish I could go there.

When two tribes go to war, he always gets picked last (James Morrison), Saturday, 1 August 2009 00:22 (ten years ago) link

four years pass...

would anybody like to book club this?

the late great, Wednesday, 6 November 2013 20:25 (five years ago) link

haha i've been rereading triton for ~ 6 wks and still stalled in the middle of valley of the nest of spiders which i started in aug '12 but sure

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Wednesday, 6 November 2013 20:36 (five years ago) link

Triton was smooth sailing for me as was The Mad Man and Neveryon but I've never tried Dhalgren. Club format might be the only way I'd do it.

Linda Darmstadt (Jon Lewis), Wednesday, 6 November 2013 20:37 (five years ago) link

i was thinking the other day how much i want to read this again. i'm down.

adam, Wednesday, 6 November 2013 20:45 (five years ago) link

triton is dope. read it 5-6 times, still don't think i fully have a handle on the whole thing

I suppose unknowability is a big theme in dhalgren, triton and stars n my pocket

the late great, Wednesday, 6 November 2013 20:57 (five years ago) link

I've never book-clubbed a novel before, but count me in.

WilliamC, Wednesday, 6 November 2013 21:02 (five years ago) link

Haha this is a masochistic but brilliant idea.

OK

Piggy (omksavant), Wednesday, 6 November 2013 21:15 (five years ago) link

i've read this too recently to be ready for another go yet but i will happily eavesdrop on the discussions

ciderpress, Wednesday, 6 November 2013 21:19 (five years ago) link

Might be up for this, I have a copy I never really made a dent in, but first I have to pause a little and consider how little progress I made with
ILX Book Club - Ezra Pound: The Cantos
and especially
Vladimir Nabokov: Ada or Ardor (I Love Book Club #4, starts 26 September)

Blecch Dreieinigkeitsmoses (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 7 November 2013 02:21 (five years ago) link

would anybody like to book club this?

― the late great, Wednesday, November 6, 2013 Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Yes plz!

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 7 November 2013 07:03 (five years ago) link

my copy of dhalgren is a slightly more recent british edition than the 'classic' version above (tho' it looks like the text has not been reset from the first printing). it claims on the front that 'more than 1,000,000 copies sold' (really????) and has praiseblurbs on the back from penthouse, the libertarian review and umberto eco!

am currently in between prousts so why not the fuck give dhalgren a go

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 7 November 2013 09:03 (five years ago) link

I recently got a copy. I'm game.

zanana rebozo (abanana), Thursday, 7 November 2013 09:04 (five years ago) link

"prism, mirror, lens"

is this a metaphor for what writers do or something else

the late great, Thursday, 7 November 2013 16:14 (five years ago) link

this book looks dope lol

flopson, Thursday, 7 November 2013 18:03 (five years ago) link

Might be up for this, I have a copy I never really made a dent in, but first I have to pause a little and consider how little progress I made with
ILX Book Club - Ezra Pound: The Cantos
and especially
Vladimir Nabokov: Ada or Ardor (I Love Book Club #4, starts 26 September)

― Blecch Dreieinigkeitsmoses (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, November 6, 2013 9:21 PM (Yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

both those books suck though

flopson, Thursday, 7 November 2013 18:03 (five years ago) link

i remember none of the plot points i mentioned in that post upthread

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Thursday, 7 November 2013 23:57 (five years ago) link

Oh yeah, forgot about that (xp)

Blecch Dreieinigkeitsmoses (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 8 November 2013 00:16 (five years ago) link

"prism, mirror, lens"

is this a metaphor for what writers do or something else


This is making me think of "mirror, father. mirror, father" but I can't remember what that's from. Oh yeah, Ghost World.

Blecch Dreieinigkeitsmoses (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 8 November 2013 00:59 (five years ago) link

i read like 2/3 of this, lost it, then finished it a year-ish later (?) but didn't know what was going on anymore, so i might be down. i've been looking for triton during my most recent few book store visits, idk.

arby's, Friday, 8 November 2013 01:45 (five years ago) link

delany's sex scenes are gross imo

the late great, Friday, 8 November 2013 17:24 (five years ago) link

i got a copy of this. when does the book club start?

Mordy , Friday, 8 November 2013 17:25 (five years ago) link

got this on my nightstand and nearly done w/WOLF HALL

what's the book club involve?

cozel tov (cozen), Friday, 8 November 2013 17:30 (five years ago) link

the self same vn as the op

cozel tov (cozen), Friday, 8 November 2013 17:31 (five years ago) link

it's already started

book club involves posting to this thread your thoughts and reactions as you read along

the late great, Friday, 8 November 2013 17:36 (five years ago) link

http://web.mit.edu/jscheib/Public/bellona/Binder409.pdf

dhalgren online

the late great, Friday, 8 November 2013 21:47 (five years ago) link

"be glad you're not just a character scrawled in the margins of somebody else's lost notebook: you'd be deadly dull."

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!

the late great, Friday, 8 November 2013 21:49 (five years ago) link

apollo & daphne?

the late great, Saturday, 9 November 2013 01:19 (five years ago) link

why does he have only one shoe

the late great, Saturday, 9 November 2013 01:24 (five years ago) link

actually if I recall correctly the main character in nova only has one shoe

the late great, Saturday, 9 November 2013 04:57 (five years ago) link

And the main character in stars in my pocket also has messed up hands. delany has weird fetishes!

the late great, Saturday, 9 November 2013 04:58 (five years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Shall we do this in the new year? What's a good breakdown and I'll post a thread round mid-jan?

xyzzzz__, Monday, 25 November 2013 21:52 (five years ago) link

It's in 7 parts, so maybe one week each? Except the last section is quite a bit longer and more complex, so maybe 2 weeks for it plus summing-up? 8 weeks total. Is that too long?

WilliamC, Monday, 25 November 2013 22:27 (five years ago) link

ffs you people read fast

the late great, Tuesday, 26 November 2013 01:48 (five years ago) link

I tried book clubbing this with my wife and brother last year. Got a lot further than those two scrubs but still stalled out about halfway through. Wouldn't mind finishing it.

Ornate Coleman (Moodles), Tuesday, 26 November 2013 02:04 (five years ago) link

I managed to finish this mostly because I brought it with me to jury duty and ended up just sitting in the waiting room all day.

rob, Tuesday, 26 November 2013 03:27 (five years ago) link

It's in 7 parts, so maybe one week each? Except the last section is quite a bit longer and more complex, so maybe 2 weeks for it plus summing-up? 8 weeks total. Is that too long?

― WilliamC, Monday, November 25, 2013 Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Yes! I'd say a month, or 5 weeks at a push.

Ordered a copy from my library today - once I get it I'll have a browse and think on this..

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 26 November 2013 15:50 (five years ago) link

I'll never keep up. I could do 1 part a month for sure but 1 part a week? Maybe when I was 22.

Pressgang Wolf (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 26 November 2013 17:02 (five years ago) link

i vote for sixteen weeks

the late great, Tuesday, 26 November 2013 20:13 (five years ago) link

PKD was right about this one

Ayn Rand Akbar (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 27 November 2013 03:39 (five years ago) link

What about Harlan Ellison@?

Skatalite of Dub (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 27 November 2013 03:52 (five years ago) link

Hey Shakey, there is no articulate resonance. The common problem, I suppose, is to have more to say than vocabulary and syntax can bear. That is why I am hunting in these desiccated streets. The smoke hides the sky's variety, stains consciousness, covers the holocaust with something safe and insubstantial. Knowwhatimean?

Servings Per Container: 736 (WilliamC), Wednesday, 27 November 2013 04:19 (five years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Got my copy from good ol' inter-library loan - lets see if PKD was right.

My thinking now goes something like: we'll never finish as a collective, so lets do about 3-4 parts (at 350-400 pages) and then a final oh-whoever-reads-through-the-rest and want to add more is invited to do so?

How about starting this on Mid-Jan? Post a thread then - the worst that can happen is no one answers/takes this on. It will be 'hilarious'.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 19 December 2013 16:27 (five years ago) link

I'm in for whatever happens. One hope I have for this is to use it as a training session in close reading, something I've always been an abject failure at. (Which is funny, considering Delany has always been one of my favorite authors.)

diffidently worth every cent!!! (WilliamC), Thursday, 19 December 2013 16:41 (five years ago) link

my ancient copy self destructed so i got the new ugly tpb version. gonna bring it with me over xmas holidays, looking forward to revisiting this novel that i loved as a young feckless autodidact. always goes well.

adam, Thursday, 19 December 2013 16:51 (five years ago) link

maybe i'll join, i do have an unread copy of this on my bookshelf. my strong hunch is that i won't be into it but who knows

johnny crunch, Thursday, 19 December 2013 16:55 (five years ago) link

Great! Monday 13th January is the date for your diaries.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 19 December 2013 16:57 (five years ago) link

If I can get this for free I'm in.

Scuse me while I kiss this guy correspondent (ledge), Thursday, 19 December 2013 17:07 (five years ago) link

Inter-library loans. Can't say it enough :)

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 19 December 2013 17:13 (five years ago) link

Took over a month the last time I tried that. Also Lambeth libraries have 3*Delany, 0*Dhalgren. Hopefully the internets will provide an epub though.

Scuse me while I kiss this guy correspondent (ledge), Thursday, 19 December 2013 17:30 (five years ago) link

The last section has some very specific formatting requirements meant to convey the sense of multiple passages written into a notebook, possibly or possibly not by different authors. I don't know enough about epubs to know whether they can handle that sort of thing.

WilliamC, Thursday, 19 December 2013 17:40 (five years ago) link

From the sound of things I won't get that far.

Scuse me while I kiss this guy correspondent (ledge), Thursday, 19 December 2013 18:04 (five years ago) link

My local borough has no Dhalgren so they got one from Wandsworth lib.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 19 December 2013 18:25 (five years ago) link

one month passes...

finished re-reading my six month old reread of triton, now just to finish through the valley, only been reading that for a year and a half, then i'll get on this dhalgren thing, how's everyone else doing

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Monday, 27 January 2014 11:22 (five years ago) link

I'm not at the mo as my copy was recalled back (wonder if it was an ilxor).

If someone wants to start the thread sometime otherwise I'll get round to it.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 27 January 2014 11:25 (five years ago) link

I read Dhalgren for the first time with a group last year, so I probably won't be taking part in the thread, but I'll just mention the wide-ranging Paris Review interview with Delany from a few years ago:

http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/6088/the-art-of-fiction-no-210-samuel-r-delany

Fredric Busch's observations on publishing Dhalgren are also worth reading, particularly since Delany offers corrections to Busch's account in the comments section:

http://www.thewaythefutureblogs.com/2011/01/chip-delany-part-2-the-miracle-of-dhalgren/

one way street, Monday, 27 January 2014 16:55 (five years ago) link

A weird typo above: by Fredric Busch I meant Frederik Pohl.

one way street, Monday, 27 January 2014 16:56 (five years ago) link

that is a weird typo, you should get a larger phone

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Monday, 27 January 2014 21:18 (five years ago) link

or a better analyst

one way street, Monday, 27 January 2014 22:32 (five years ago) link

i'm ready to go when you all are

what do you think of "triton" thomp? i think it might be my second-favorite delany.

the late great, Monday, 27 January 2014 23:08 (five years ago) link

it's my favourite after 'mad man' probably; idk, it reminded me to Think About Things when i read it first time round; this time round it felt more uncomfortably close i guess bcz more life-experience to try and connect with the narrative stuff and reconcile with the theoretical stuff. -- that's not very interesting, is it? i'll think about it. i do think (like all his best stuff!) it actually is stronger at what it's doing for delany's failings; like he does a great job of not just building his project around his strengths but designing it such that his not-quite-there and overdetermined-feeling characterisation/dialogue/description seem an essential part of his affect

i was thinking of proposing a feb 14 start date for dhalgren, but mainly just because it was convenient for me to do so

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Tuesday, 28 January 2014 01:11 (five years ago) link

five years pass...

book club, this time for real?

the late great, Tuesday, 26 March 2019 15:29 (four months ago) link

yeah i'm in

Mordy, Tuesday, 26 March 2019 15:43 (four months ago) link

just bought the ebook, hope the formatting is up to scratch.

what if bod was one of us (ledge), Tuesday, 26 March 2019 15:53 (four months ago) link

What about the audiobook?

Theorbo Goes Wild (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 26 March 2019 15:56 (four months ago) link

Is this the thread or do we need a new one bc I’m liable to start tnite

Mordy, Tuesday, 26 March 2019 16:10 (four months ago) link

i was unsure, there may already be one

the late great, Tuesday, 26 March 2019 16:17 (four months ago) link

A friend of our family, a 17-year-old girl, asked us all what our favorite novels were. I said this one and she asked to borrow it. I tried to warn her away from it but she insisted, so she's got one of my 2 copies. She got about 250 pages in pretty much lost interest.

CPAP Makers Scrambling After New ILX Sub-board Unveiled (WmC), Tuesday, 26 March 2019 18:04 (four months ago) link

i mean huge credit to her getting 250 pages in

Mordy, Tuesday, 26 March 2019 18:18 (four months ago) link

I have a copy and have read like ten pages. i'm in.

adam the (abanana), Tuesday, 26 March 2019 23:44 (four months ago) link

I’m in. (famous last words, pvmic etc.)

Theorbo Goes Wild (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 27 March 2019 21:32 (four months ago) link


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