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Re: [delany-list] Digest Number 124

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  • Gil Roth
    New 1984 review Fred Cleaver just sent me his review of 1984, which ran in the Denver Post on Sunday, Sept. 24. If any of you come across other reviews (aside
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 18, 2000
      New 1984 review

      Fred Cleaver just sent me his review of 1984, which ran in the Denver Post
      on Sunday, Sept. 24. If any of you come across other reviews (aside from Mr.
      Cozy's great one), please send 'em my way. I'd appreciate any reviews and
      interest we can get.


      Gil Roth
      Voyant Publishing
      NEW INFO:
      tel/fax: 201.995.0320
      180 E. Main St., 2nd flr.
      Ramsey, NJ 07446

      Letters recount a year of bullying by big brother
      By Fred Cleaver
      Science Fiction Columnist
      1984: Selected Letters
      Samuel Delany
      Voyant, 384 pages, $17.95, paperback

      Sept. 24, 2000 - Samuel Delany is obsessed with telling. "1984: Selected
      Letters" (Voyant, 384 pages, $17.95, paperback) brings together some of the
      telling he shared with his friends in that year of Orwell.
      The stories told in the letters include all the basics of fiction:
      characters, vividly described places and interesting events. And some of
      these letters must have been quite an event to receive since they would run
      up to 80 pages long.
      Nineteen eighty-four was a big brother nightmare of a year for Delany -
      the IRS had seized his bank account and he had to pound away at his word
      processor to earn more money for the government while scrapping by on
      practically nothing. In the background is the slow failure of a sevenyear
      At the beginning of the year he is working furiously to finish his
      Neveryon fantasy series. At the end of the year he is struggling with the
      sequel to the just published "Stars in My Pockets, Like Grains of Sand" (a
      struggle unfinished to this day).
      Like all good letters there is plenty of gossip. Delany goes to science
      fiction conventions where he generally enjoys himself despite bumping up
      against the limits of his fame. He also has an occasional presence in the
      larger literary world.
      The book opens with an account of the funeral of poet Ted Berrigan, near
      the end there is an upscale luncheon with Umberto Eco and in between are
      regular sessions picking poetry for "The Little Magazine." Other topics roam
      from Wagner and deconstructionism to sexual encounters in Times Square porno
      theaters. Delany's correspondents range from his bibliographer with whom he
      tries to sort out details of decades-old publication chronologies to a
      street hustler locked up in a Florida jail.
      Delany grounds all his intellectual concerns in close attention to the
      details of life - the weather, his health and his 10year-old daughter. He
      comes out of the literary stratosphere when he writes to her at summer camp.
      There isn't much about the Orwellian 1984, and with one major exception
      the world condition is not a topic Delany addresses. The exception is the
      growing AIDS epidemic, a topic not only of these letters but completely
      entangled in the fiction he wrote that year and every year since.
      Orwell's "1984" [I assume he meant Delany instead of Orwell] is an
      important piece of the story of science fiction writing. Also the story of
      gay writing, black writing and the very act of writing, as Delany interrupts
      his writing to write his 10,000- or 20,000-word letters.
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