Samuel Delany

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It is next on my funtime reading list, but that probably means I won't start it for a few weeks.

Casuistry, Wednesday, 14 November 2007 19:37 (eleven years ago) link

I've never read Delany, barring a couple of short stories, but I picked up a copy of "Neveryóna" at a used books sale today, thinking it was the first in the series. Should I hold out and get the first short story collection first, or is this quite alright as a starting-point? Or should all four(?) books be read in the order of release?
The titles of the chapters in this one are great! Makes it look like Montaigne of Middle-Earth. The cover art is hilarious as well, being basically the worst-of-the-worst of mid-80s fantasy paperbacks. Very shiny buttocks on the hero.
Ah: http://facstaff.uww.edu/herriotj/books/bookpics/neveryona.jpg (there's a castle-in-the-sky and dragon on the back of the cover, don't you worry)

Øystein, Saturday, 17 November 2007 16:51 (eleven years ago) link

Read the biog, really some incredible stuff in that. Great cover.

Picked up "Mad Man" last week on the cheap. Give that a go soon.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 17 November 2007 19:20 (eleven years ago) link

Neveryóna is book two, I believe, so you might as well read the first book first. It's a stand-alone novel, but it's nice to fit it into the context of the first book.

Casuistry, Saturday, 17 November 2007 22:57 (eleven years ago) link

two years pass...

I recently bought Dhalgren and Stars in my pocket like grains of sand. Which one do I read first?

prettylikealaindelon, Thursday, 28 October 2010 21:11 (eight years ago) link

Dhalgren is the better and more important book, but Stars is pretty good too. I'd say read Stars as an appetizer, and if you haven't read Delany before, as an introduction to his prose style. It's too bad the sequel to Stars isn't going to happen.

Unfrozen Caveman Board-Lawyer (WmC), Thursday, 28 October 2010 21:43 (eight years ago) link

im reading a book of short stories by this guy and hes hella easy to find v cheap

plax (ico), Thursday, 28 October 2010 21:49 (eight years ago) link

man when i clicked on this i was so afraid it was going to be a r.i.p. revive

bows don't kill people, arrows do (Jordan), Thursday, 28 October 2010 22:02 (eight years ago) link

btw i read 'dhalgren' first, and then 'stars...' after i was convinced and wanted more.

bows don't kill people, arrows do (Jordan), Thursday, 28 October 2010 22:03 (eight years ago) link

Just bought Dhalgren--am both looking forward to it, and intimidated by the size

buildings with goats on the roof (James Morrison), Thursday, 28 October 2010 22:25 (eight years ago) link

Thanks to all for the quick replies! I haven't read Delany before but I think I am going to try Dhalgren first. I am pretty hyped to be honest.

prettylikealaindelon, Thursday, 28 October 2010 22:28 (eight years ago) link

I read it (Dhalgren) about 6-7 times during the 80s. I need to reread Stars and the Neveryon books next. I started rereading Nova a couple of months ago and thought it had aged very badly...gave it up after about 80 pages.

Unfrozen Caveman Board-Lawyer (WmC), Thursday, 28 October 2010 22:34 (eight years ago) link

...and this thread title irritates the hell out of me. It's like a film thread called "Chuck Heston."

Unfrozen Caveman Board-Lawyer (WmC), Thursday, 28 October 2010 22:35 (eight years ago) link

ok, I feel better now. May Julio Desouza forgive me.

Unfrozen Caveman Board-Lawyer (WmC), Thursday, 28 October 2010 22:46 (eight years ago) link

i actually like triton and stars more than i do dhalgren, not entirely sure why

thomp, Friday, 29 October 2010 12:23 (eight years ago) link

congratulations u dont like kiddie sex

plax (ico), Friday, 29 October 2010 12:26 (eight years ago) link

wait, what happened to the thread title?

once a remy bean always a (remy bean), Friday, 29 October 2010 12:53 (eight years ago) link

surely the lead's relationship with an autistic character in 'stars ...' is just as troubling on that level as the fifteen year old in dhalgren? or is there something i'm forgetting. i mean, none of these books is quite hogg, i mean.

thomp, Friday, 29 October 2010 13:00 (eight years ago) link

yeah, i feel like the quote-unquote kiddie sex in dhalgren is totally an exploration of transgression and mental/social/literary breakdown that isn't really about what it's about.

of course, that could also be the polite lie i tell myself so that i can enjoy the rest of the book.

once a remy bean always a (remy bean), Friday, 29 October 2010 13:23 (eight years ago) link

I changed the title from "Sam Delany" to "Samuel Delany."

Unfrozen Caveman Board-Lawyer (WmC), Friday, 29 October 2010 13:28 (eight years ago) link

a regular Chip off the old block?

once a remy bean always a (remy bean), Friday, 29 October 2010 15:43 (eight years ago) link

haw

Unfrozen Caveman Board-Lawyer (WmC), Friday, 29 October 2010 15:48 (eight years ago) link

WmC - I forgive you.

im reading a book of short stories by this guy and hes hella easy to find v cheap

Lots of Delany around but I've never seen a copy of Stars

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 30 October 2010 08:04 (eight years ago) link

Not having read Dhalgren, Babel-17 is the best of his I have read: so joyously full of great ideas, so much bouncy FUN

buildings with goats on the roof (James Morrison), Sunday, 31 October 2010 06:40 (eight years ago) link

two months pass...

I just finished Dhalgren, so great, thanks guys. Call me a fag, but I always get a little bit sad when I finish a big novel and this was no exception. I'm thinking of reading Stars now.

historyyy (prettylikealaindelon), Sunday, 2 January 2011 20:51 (eight years ago) link

call me a fag

plax (ico), Sunday, 2 January 2011 21:01 (eight years ago) link

one month passes...

Just finished Stars In My Pocket Like Grains of Sand. Totally different pace from Dhalgren, this had me clawing for the main narrative for most of the book. As a result, I really didn't give enough attention to some of the detailed description which I feel is a really big part of this book - to realise the sensations and image of these planets, especially Velm. The relationship between Marq and Rat made me quite sick, knowing you can't help but be attracted to another being is somewhat sickening, Marq didn't complain of course, but like those couples who seem so made for eachother, as a couple they struck me as boring and corny.

historyyy (prettylikealaindelon), Monday, 21 February 2011 15:04 (eight years ago) link

the hands-as-parentheses bit is pretty central, iirc

i'm curious what the other half of it would have looked like: a tour of a planet from the other set of aliens (the Family?), plus a coda? i don't know. i don't remember a lot of the details but it's my favourite of his books. this is in part due to a bit which isn't particularly central to the thrust of the book in itself, that part in the opening section where rat (?) finds a mental implant that lets him read/experience the entire western canon in seconds; that hit me in a peculiar way, as a teen.

thomp, Monday, 21 February 2011 15:15 (eight years ago) link

I was particularly taken by that opening section too, and was expecting the book to take off from there, to my surprise, it was not to be. Thanks for your thoughts.

historyyy (prettylikealaindelon), Monday, 21 February 2011 16:09 (eight years ago) link

I've bought Dhalgren, and keep picking it up, but it's so huuuuuge. Need to gather my resources.

the most cuddlesome bug that ever was borned (James Morrison), Monday, 21 February 2011 22:49 (eight years ago) link

I read Driftglass in my early teens. Didn't get everything but got a lot. Delany for me will always represent vistas opening (yet in truth I never read much past Nova). "Night and The Loves..." was exactly what I wished a short story would do. It probably still is but I don't dare reread it.

His use, over and over, of teen-prodigy characters didn't seem realistic when I was that age, and far into adulthood, having seen a certain amount, I find it a gimmick and more about Delany (or SF) than about the world.

These days, the imaginary world of Delany that fascinates me is his lost New York, as unreachable as his distant planets.

alimosina, Monday, 21 February 2011 23:42 (eight years ago) link

Editing issue: should be "did exactly what" and "probably still does."

alimosina, Tuesday, 22 February 2011 15:13 (eight years ago) link

I shall begin reading The Mad Man soon, I'm expecting some of Delany's 'lost New York'.

historyyy (prettylikealaindelon), Tuesday, 22 February 2011 15:43 (eight years ago) link

You won't be disappointed there, as I recall.

old man yells at poop first thing in the morning (pixel farmer), Tuesday, 22 February 2011 16:36 (eight years ago) link

And check Heavenly Breakfast, an autobiographical novel(pub. 1979). Its title is also the name of a real-life 60s NYC psych-folk band. SD was a satellite member, sort of.

dow, Tuesday, 1 March 2011 00:33 (eight years ago) link

Also loads of 1960-1965 Manhattan in his memoir, The Motion of Light in Water.

I was just looking at the wiki for his next novel -- it's done, he's just having trouble finding a publisher. It was originally supposed to be published by Alyson Publications, but apparently they've gone under and he's back to shopping it around to publishers.

WmC, Tuesday, 1 March 2011 01:49 (eight years ago) link

five months pass...

Man, I'm just finishing up The Mad Man(took me 5 months wtf?! I've been busy). Insane book, really, but Delany really knows how to challenge and reward I think, just as you're becoming insensitive to some bloke shitting all over another blokes face whilst a group of other guys are jacking off all over the guy who is getting shitted on, he throws you a bone. Fantastic.

historyyy (prettylikealaindelon), Sunday, 14 August 2011 13:24 (eight years ago) link

try hogg next, then. no thrown bones in that one.

king of torts (strongo hulkington's ghost dad), Sunday, 14 August 2011 19:04 (eight years ago) link

Finally reading Auden's Dyer's Hand, which is everything Motion of Light in Water made it out to be and more -- the secondhand quote that Delany gives from it is golden -- and really perfect for Motion..., which is one of my fav Delany books, and fav. works of literary autobiography full stop. There's so many scenes that I remember really clearly from it -- the pockets thing, for example!

s.clover, Thursday, 18 August 2011 18:12 (eight years ago) link

a tour of a planet from the other set of aliens (the Family?)

as i understand it, the sygn and family don't exactly work like this ... you might be reading it a bit too much like star trek. the sygn and the family are names for philosophies, not rigid political groups like the federation and klingons.

i forget whether it's the north or the south where humans and evelm don't get along, but in that half of the world you might say the family philosophy is predominant - you are a human first, or an evelm first, and you find strength in that mentality.

in the sygn communities you are a free thinking subject first, and you sort of choose your family or define it as you see it, and your identity (racial, gender, cultural, whatever) comes second.

mr peabody (moonship journey to baja), Thursday, 18 August 2011 18:45 (eight years ago) link

he is one of my favorite authors and i found him really tedious. i posted a thread about going to see him, it was an awful experience. he mostly talked about discovering he was bisexual, how he got into cruising times square porn theatres, and the gradual erosion of our shared times square porn theatre cultural heritage.

if you are a bicurious or a queer theory grad student you might find it highly stimulating? but as a sci fi fan, or just for kicks, no.

mr peabody (moonship journey to baja), Thursday, 18 August 2011 18:50 (eight years ago) link

ok

Jung Danjah (admrl), Thursday, 18 August 2011 18:51 (eight years ago) link

. this is in part due to a bit which isn't particularly central to the thrust of the book in itself, that part in the opening section where rat (?) finds a mental implant that lets him read/experience the entire western canon in seconds

this *is* central to the thrust of the book itself

mr peabody (moonship journey to baja), Thursday, 18 August 2011 18:52 (eight years ago) link

he's one of martin skidmore's favorite authors. the guy doing martin's funeral service today read from something martin wrote about dhalgren, which i found really moving. it was martin's favorite book.

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 18 August 2011 19:23 (eight years ago) link

really want to hear sam delaney monologuing about cruising

plax (ico), Thursday, 18 August 2011 21:39 (eight years ago) link

i found it hard to follow because a lot of it was in reference to cruising scenes in post-70s delany i hadn't read.

mr peabody (moonship journey to baja), Thursday, 18 August 2011 22:28 (eight years ago) link

i really want to read some more delaney, when i was in america you could pick up cheap paperbacks by him really easily but over here he's p hard to come by

plax (ico), Thursday, 18 August 2011 22:31 (eight years ago) link

really want to hear sam delaney monologuing about cruising

― plax (ico), Thursday, August 18, 2011

there's a whole book about this btw

king of torts (strongo hulkington's ghost dad), Friday, 19 August 2011 01:04 (eight years ago) link

yeah, baja's summary of the event sounds a lot like 'times square red, times square blue'

thomp, Friday, 19 August 2011 01:21 (eight years ago) link

haven't read a word of this guy... saw him read from his Times Square nonfic book before a showing of an early '70s gay porn film tonight.

He's kinda bored by gay marriage. "Tolerance, not assimilation" is the key to advancing civilization, he said.

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 7 July 2013 07:33 (six years ago) link

every time this gets revived now i'm worried that he's ill or dead.

what was the film?

the bitcoin comic (thomp), Sunday, 7 July 2013 07:43 (six years ago) link

also is there another delany thread we alternate with because i swear i remember talking about all the piss-drinking in 'through the valley ...'

the bitcoin comic (thomp), Sunday, 7 July 2013 07:56 (six years ago) link

ask sam delany a question?

WilliamC, Sunday, 7 July 2013 12:38 (six years ago) link

ah yeah

i better not get any (thomp), Sunday, 7 July 2013 15:02 (six years ago) link

film was The Back Row

playwright Greg Marlowe, secretly in love with Mary (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 7 July 2013 16:50 (six years ago) link

I have no idea whether to recommend Delany to you, Morbs -- either the sf or the porn.

WilliamC, Sunday, 7 July 2013 17:02 (six years ago) link

I just reread his Times Square book in may.

Thelema & Louise (Jon Lewis), Sunday, 7 July 2013 23:24 (six years ago) link

one month passes...

I recently started reading the tales of neveryon, i'm generally not a fan of short stories but since they're all set in neveryon, i'm interested in how the stories are going to relate to each other and if it's all going to fit together somehow.

whos next with plex (prettylikealaindelon), Thursday, 22 August 2013 11:38 (six years ago) link

five months pass...

saw him speak at the university of chicago for the second time tonight (he's just ending a visiting professorship). it was mostly sort of autobiographical this time; he told a great story about hooking up with a senegalese prince in paris in the mid-60s. i got him to sign my copy of trouble on triton

1staethyr, Saturday, 1 February 2014 03:52 (five years ago) link

two months pass...

72nd birthday today

Babby's on fiber (WilliamC), Tuesday, 1 April 2014 20:48 (five years ago) link

The only one of his novels I have unequivocally enjoyed was Babel-17, of which the ebook is on sale for $1.99 today- as has been noted before, both Shakey and I find his style maddening - but the critical writings I have read from him are grebt.

tl;dr5-49 (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 12 April 2014 20:25 (five years ago) link

one year passes...

Good (first half of an) interview: http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2015/07/interview-samuel-r-delany-three-novels-launched-career-part-1/

He was also interviewed by Gary Wolfe for the Coode Street Podcast — http://jonathanstrahan.podbean.com/e/episode-241-samuel-r-delany/ — but it seemed a bit lightweight and inessential. Getting a bit of press/doing a bit of promotional work for the new Vintage edition of three early novels.

dart scar rashes (WilliamC), Friday, 24 July 2015 15:45 (four years ago) link

i have a book of interviews with him and it is endlessly fascinating even when he repeats himself over the years.

scott seward, Friday, 24 July 2015 19:01 (four years ago) link

two months pass...

Terrific how Delany was worked into this piece on Chaturbate

xyzzzz__, Friday, 23 October 2015 15:15 (three years ago) link

Emily Witt has now built a fine, fine portfolio of pieces on this intersection of sex and the interwebs.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 23 October 2015 15:16 (three years ago) link

ten months pass...

I haven't read the whole thing so I can't judge but some stuff Delany has said about child abuse and nambla probably wouldn't have been received nearly as well if he wasn't considered such a hero and so good writing about race. He's in the comments too.

http://shetterly.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/a-conversation-with-samuel-r-delany.html

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 7 September 2016 20:41 (three years ago) link

I struggle so much with this - as a person who, when underage, had meaningful relationships with people who were above the age of consent, which, 35 years later, I still don't think of as wrong or hurtful - it's a difficult discussion to have without seeming like a monster. certainly when Delaney says that, at the age of nine, he was entering into consensual sexual relationships with adults...I'm a dad now, two boys: I can't accept that, viscerally I reject that. but at the same time, I got a letter from a Joan Crawford fan a month ago or so: a dude who's doing twenty years in prison. he was in his late twenties having a relationship with a sixteen-year-old boy, and the parents got wind of it, and they threw the book at him. I looked up his case: his victim insisted no victimization had ever taken place, but the southern judge didn't care at all, and put him away. where's the justice in that? I feel like this is Delaney's point broadly put, but the concept of an age of consent feels valuable.

though she denies it to the press, (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Wednesday, 7 September 2016 21:26 (three years ago) link

one of the most struggly subjects there is. I have not even the faintest stab at encompassing it.

I wish you could see my home. It's... it's so... exciting (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 7 September 2016 21:28 (three years ago) link

I haven't read the whole thing so I can't judge but some stuff Delany has said about child abuse and nambla probably wouldn't have been received nearly as well if he wasn't considered such a hero and so good writing about race. He's in the comments too.

http://shetterly.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/a-conversation-with-samuel-r-delany.html

― Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, September 7, 2016 9:41 PM (one hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

it's a very difficult topic but framing it this way is disingenuous garbage.

until the next, delayed, glaciation (map), Wednesday, 7 September 2016 22:16 (three years ago) link

delany isn't a race writer. did you mean "because he's black?"

until the next, delayed, glaciation (map), Wednesday, 7 September 2016 22:20 (three years ago) link

he's not a good writer either tbf

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 7 September 2016 22:23 (three years ago) link

I can't have much of an opinion on something I haven't finished but I doubt most other writers talking about similar things would be treated so well. The interview happened because it was being said too many big figures in the genre were getting a free pass while others were getting a ton of shit for relatively minor things, but nobody really knew a lot about Delany's stance on this stuff. Do you think I'm implying he should be dragged through the dirt for his opinions?

delany isn't a race writer. did you mean "because he's black?"

No, because he wrote some very good articles on racism in the past that have been heavily circulated and praised in the past several years when the topic has been at the forefront of sff discussions.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 7 September 2016 22:42 (three years ago) link

fair

until the next, delayed, glaciation (map), Wednesday, 7 September 2016 23:40 (three years ago) link

sorry i had my hackles up

until the next, delayed, glaciation (map), Wednesday, 7 September 2016 23:41 (three years ago) link

That's okay.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 7 September 2016 23:44 (three years ago) link

six months pass...

Happy 75th birthday.

scattered, smothered, covered, diced and chunked (WilliamC), Sunday, 2 April 2017 00:18 (two years ago) link

I'm always scared to open this thread.

change display name (Jordan), Sunday, 2 April 2017 00:27 (two years ago) link

This thread is v repetitive

Οὖτις, Sunday, 2 April 2017 01:20 (two years ago) link

six months pass...

In Glasgow for several events during the next Arika eisode:

http://arika.org.uk/events/episode-9-other-worlds-already-exist/programme

Susan Stranglehands (jed_), Sunday, 29 October 2017 14:50 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

Just finished Dhalgren, my first trip into Delany. I really liked large chunks of it, but other portions were definitely a slog. Even aside from the tedious descriptions of underage orgies, it did feel like some of the same plot points just kept cycling through without moving the story forward. But many of the characters were terrifically drawn and I enjoyed his world-building, what's a good next step?

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 24 April 2019 13:14 (four months ago) link

I enjoyed Dhalgren alright but somehow that's where I got off the bus, many years ago--several people have told me I should have at least gone on to Stars In My Pocket Like Grains of Sand, and maybe I will, but right now thinking of re-reading his fun, imaginative debutThe Jewels of Aptor, published when he was 19, I think, also should dig up my copy of a chunky drugstore paperback, The Complete Nebula Award-Winning Fiction of Samuel R. Delany. which Amazon describes thusly:Combined edition of two novels and two short stories which won the Nebula Award. Babel - 17 (winner, 1966 Nebula, 1995 James Tiptree, Jr. Award, Classics; nominated, 1967 Hugo Award; 1975 Locus Poll Award, All-Time Best Novel (Place: 36)); A Fabulous, Formless Darkness (original title The Einstein Intersection) (winner, 1967 Nebula Award; nominated, 1968 Hugo Award); Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones (winner, 1969 Nebula Award, 1970 Hugo Award); Aye, and Gomorrah (winner, 1967 Nebula Award; nominated, 1968 Hugo Award) The cheapest (by far) copy they have of this is $24.03, but worth it, if condition is okay. They have a lot more by him.

dow, Wednesday, 24 April 2019 21:24 (four months ago) link

that sounds like a good 'tracklist' for sure.

You might check out the Neveryon stuff, bronze age fantasy as vehicle for a dive into semiotics. I loved the two of them I read.

Triton is great also.

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 24 April 2019 21:27 (four months ago) link

I enjoyed the Neveryon books on rereading a couple of years ago. Reread The Einstein Intersection last year and understood it better than the first time I read it. Nova, Triton, and Stars in My Pocket are all good.

The Mod Who Banned Liberty Valance (WmC), Wednesday, 24 April 2019 22:47 (four months ago) link

imo triton and stars in my pocket are the masterworks

the late great, Wednesday, 24 April 2019 23:52 (four months ago) link

Thanks! I think I'm leaning to Stars In My Pocket next, though it may come down to what the library has available.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Thursday, 25 April 2019 14:36 (four months ago) link


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