Monday, January 21, 2008

#4: Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand by Samuel R. Delany

My weekend sojourn into Michigan gave me a chance to finish up a book I have been working on for a while: Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand by Samuel R. Delany, a big, sprawling, astounding space opera.

Rat Korga is a slave who is the only survivor of the mysterious destruction of his planet, which begins to attract him an almost cultish following. Marq Dyeth is a galaxy-traveling negotiator from an affluent mixed human-alien family. How these two men meet and fall in love against the backdrop of the social and political wars between three distinct factions in the universe is the core of this imaginative tale.

Delany is a dense, creative writer, and I have been enjoying a batch of his books I bought from a lot on ebay after finding Empire Star in a collection at the library. I was interested in his writing as I have been on a Philip K. Dick kick lately, and several people suggested I seek Delany out. Everything I have read thus far has been rewarding, but this one is a real knock-out.

The main drawback is that a sequel was promised in the mid-80s that has yet to materialize which would certainly, I hope, tie up all the threads. But Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand stands on its own as, I think now, one of my favorite sci-fi novels. It is just so full of ideas and concepts to think about that the thoughtful reader can chew over for some time to come.

Delany himself is an interesting person: a gay black man who wrote across the breadth of subjects from sci-fi to literary criticism to autobiography to hard-core pornography. I found this work to be a notable accomplishment and plan to seek out more of his science fiction writing in particular.


Doc Holaday said...

Interesting. I'll have to admit that I don't think I've ever read a Delaney novel. I have been hearing great things about _Dhalgren_ and I chewed through the first few pages at the bookstore the other day. It looks great, but yes, "dense" is the word. "Challenging" would be another. I may have to look for _Stars..._ the next time I'm at the used bookstore.

John Oak Dalton said...

Dhalgren was not in the lot I bought off of ebay but I am interested in finding it. It is apparently written in a circular fashion (meaning the end wraps around back to the beginning) like Empire Star does.