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Re: [delany-list] Re: time considered as a helix of semiprecious stones

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  • David Carlton
    On Mon, 12 Aug 2002 08:42:57 -0400, Ron Henry ... I really don t know. I simply have no idea how sexuality was perceived in this country in the
    Message 1 of 9 , Aug 12, 2002
      On Mon, 12 Aug 2002 08:42:57 -0400, "Ron Henry"
      <ronhenry@...> said:

      > Seems to me that (at least as read by the science fiction community)
      > the story would have been even less likely to have been read as
      > being "about homosexual S/M" in the 1960s than it would be by later
      > readers.

      I really don't know. I simply have no idea how sexuality was
      perceived in this country in the pre-Stonewall era. (I was born in
      1971.) I can't tell if things that seem unexceptional to me would
      have been unnoticed back then or would have been shocking back then.

      > One wonders if Delany's own image of his own "ideal readers" has
      > shifted to be those who would pick up on obscurer details of his own
      > sexual interests?

      It may also be an issue of his likely audience in the articles
      referred to there. The quote in question was from an essay called
      "Coming / Out" which first appeared in a book called _Boys Like Us:
      Gay Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories_; perhaps if he'd been
      writing about the story for a different audience, he would have had
      quite different discussion of what the story is "about". Honestly,
      "about" seems to me to be a bit of a funny word for him to use, since
      he doesn't particularly like to privilege many of the traditional
      issues that come under the label of what it means for a story to be
      about something (plot, or themes, or symbolism).

      For what it's worth, the second quote that I posted was originally
      published in a magazine called _Black Leather in Color_. So its
      target audience wasn't particularly SF readers, either.

      > I bought Shorter Views a few months ago but have not yet reached it
      > in the lamentably large To Be Read pile.

      There's a lot of good stuff in there. The third part, consisting
      largely of brief pieces on other writers (mostly book reviews or
      introductions) is rather slight, but there are some very interesting
      pieces in the other two parts. "Neither the First Word nor the Last
      on Deconstruction, Structuralism, Poststructuralism, and Semiotics for
      SF Readers" is one of the most sensible introductions to such issues
      that I've ever seen. (One of my pet peeves is the way that words like
      "postmodernism" seem to cause many mathematicians/scientists to
      suspend their critical facilities, so I'm particularly sensitive to
      these issues.) "The Politics of Paraliterary Criticism" is a great
      place to go to see what Delany currently feels about criticism of
      paraliterary genres; as a bonus, it revolves around Scott McCloud's
      excellent _Understanding Comics_. (Though, honestly, I could do
      without some of the discussion of what Delany perceives as flaws in
      that book; frequently, alas, Delany's criticism of other authors
      grates on me.) More autobiographical bits scattered throughout some
      of the articles (e.g. the aforementioned "Coming / Out").

      David Carlton | <http://math.stanford.edu/~carlton/>
      carlton@... | Go books: <http://www.gobooks.info/>

      I can't think about that. It doesn't go with HEDGES in the
      shape of LITTLE LULU -- or ROBOTS making BRICKS...
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