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am 1. August 2000
This seems to be the type of book that would either raise admiration or ire in the bosom of the reader. I find myself in the latter category. This novel is one of those philosophical/mythological science fiction stories. I find that such books require a large investment of time to understand (flipping through encyclopedias and dictionaries) with my physical sciences education. Then, at 150 pages, after you've invested the effort, the book ends. Perhaps someone versed in the classics would enjoy this book, but for me it was simply not worth the effort.
This book is not really about anything, its about images. They come fast and furious, but there is little explained, and often times you are left wondering why a certain image is introduced at all. It seems like the author thought up a clever image and decided to write it in, heedless of its relevancy. This happens often enough to by irritating.
To sum up - if you are looking for a hard science fiction novel, this is not the route to go. It's not scientific at all! If you are looking for a modern mythological tale, I would recommend something like Lord of Light (Zelazny) where I also had to invest some extra effort, but the investment was well worthwhile.
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am 22. Juni 1999
After starting with Dhalgren and finding it unreadable, I decided not to give up on Delany. I went to Nova, which is sadly out of print by the way, and found it to be one of the finest SF books I've ever read. Next I tried Babel-17 (also out of print) and found that to be a very good work, but not up to par with Nova.
And then this. Delany's early (pre-Dhalgren) SF is very engaging. His characters are intense as is are his plot lines, and his imagery is dazzling without being confusing. Even if this novel had no plot whatsoever, you could still read it if only for the intriguing voice the Delany writes with. Yep, it's based on the Orpheus myth (as are some of his later works, which amount to far less than this novel), and Delany succeeds very well with his archetypal characters and plot line. With references to everything from Greek mythology to '60s pop culture, it is certainly thinking-person's reading, but it is also entertaining if you want a short, fun read. It's good to see this one back in print after so many "only available at an obscure used book store" years. If you want somewhere to start with Delany, this is the place, as the book is easily available and is more accessible than his later works (which I still don't like much even today). If you like this try out the harder to find stuff like Babel-17 and Nova (probably in that order, as Nova marks the highlight of Delany's career).
By the way, if you like Delany, check out the works by the lesser-known (but critically perhaps more acclaimed) New Wave author Thomas M. Disch (who's work is newly back in print, I believe).
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am 22. September 1998
It's amazing that an author could win a Nebula Award for saying absolutely nothing. The edition I read was only 155 pages, but it took me a full weekend to finish it, what with all the rereading that was required. Delany's writing style here is VERY abstract to the point of becoming lost, almost like random thoughts. It is loaded with characters and events which serve no apparent function in the tenuous plot (even the main characters are devoid of any real purpose). Throughout my reading, I kept having to ask myself, "Why is this happening? What's the point?" The story is LOOSELY based on the myth of Orpheus, but even the parallels are questionable. However, I'm not giving up on Delany just yet : it's time to visit Neveryon...
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am 10. August 1999
like all books of The Master Delany this is a superb piece of art. Fully of intention, drama and a terrible sense of mankind, it's very weird for me being an argentine, to be so impressed by this man and his writing. Can anibody want to talk about!, no one here seems to know nathing about him!!!!!
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am 3. März 2014
Winner of the 1967 Nebula Award and nominated for the Hugo Award in 1968. A psychedelic tale inspired by the 1959 film Black Orpheus.
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am 26. März 1999
The mythologies of Orpheus, the Beatles, Billy the Kid, Jean Harlow, and everyone's fave good ol' J.C. are intertwined here, replaying themselves among a race of alien wayfarers who've inherited the abandoned Earth and uneasily assumed the mantle of the vanished humanity. Told from the POV of Lobey, a "different" youth who is questing for his lost love Friza, this book deals with Delaney's usual concerns with art, Story, & the reality of events vs. the perception of events, and the complex ways in which they all interact. The engaging characters and exotic (but strangely familiar) setting, keep this from being just a rehash of familiar themes. One of Delaney's better works, the short length makes it a much less challenging read than his longer novels, but there's enough complexity here to satisfy any Delaney true believer. Love, death, redemption.. all this and dragons (decidedly non-fantastic), too- what more could you want?
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