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Chip on public radio

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  • Zvi Gilbert
    http://www.pri.org/stories/arts-entertainment/books/author-samuel-r-delany-on-the-beauty-of-sci-fi-prose6224.html *Award-winning author Samuel R. Delany
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 7, 2011
      http://www.pri.org/stories/arts-entertainment/books/author-samuel-r-delany-on-the-beauty-of-sci-fi-prose6224.html

      "*Award-winning author Samuel R. Delany reflects on his science fiction
      writing career, the evolution of the genre and the distinction of sci-fi
      prose."*
      *
      *
      --Z


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • david moses fruchter
      I just finished reading a rather awesome novel called Wittgenstein s Mistress, by David Markson, that really points up this distinction SRD has frequently made
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 8, 2011
        I just finished reading a rather awesome novel called Wittgenstein's
        Mistress, by David Markson, that really points up this distinction SRD
        has frequently made between the expectations created by tagging
        something as SF vs. as "literary" prose. Its protagonist is a woman who
        wanders around a version of our world that has somehow mysteriously been
        depopulated of every other person but herself. As a person whose
        expectations have been shaped by SF, and particularly by experimental SF
        of high literary quality like SRD's, I took her situation more or less
        at face value; the depopulation is never really explained, but that
        didn't bother me much.

        However, reading the reviews of the book in the mainstream literary
        press (which tended to praise it to high heaven by the way), I was quite
        surprised at how many described the novel as a depiction of insanity
        from the inside. To me, there is very little hint of this in the book,
        although the protagonist (who is also the 1st-person narrator) does
        describe an earlier period in her life (not long after the depopulation)
        when she did go mad for a brief period. I really think that the
        entirety of the presumption of her insanity on the part of reviewers
        stems from this one fact (the depopulation) about the world Markson has
        created, though it's presented with great consistency and plausibility
        (to my mind) throughout, if you just accept the premise.

        (Though I suppose that the fact that we find out at some point that the
        woman's son died when still a child may have also influenced those
        reviewers who were inclined to think of women as prone to hysteria and
        madness in the face of such tragedy. Or, the (again, to my mind) quite
        realistic depiction of memory in the book as frequently erratic and
        inconsistent may have made reviewers who were more used to fictional
        depictions of memory as Truth feel like she must be crazy. I mean,
        sometimes she remembers the same event two different ways at two
        different places in the book! What a nutcase!)

        Anyway, I have to recommend Wittgenstein's Mistress to any and all SRD
        fans -- get it, read it, you won't be sorry. Glad to have been shaped
        by the Literature of Ideas, I remain,

        yr. obt. svt.,

        d


        On 10/7/2011 8:55 PM, Zvi Gilbert wrote:
        >
        > http://www.pri.org/stories/arts-entertainment/books/author-samuel-r-delany-on-the-beauty-of-sci-fi-prose6224.html
        >
        > "*Award-winning author Samuel R. Delany reflects on his science fiction
        > writing career, the evolution of the genre and the distinction of sci-fi
        > prose."*
        > *
        > *
        > --Z
        >
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