Re: Digest Number 21
- At 11:24 AM 6/1/99 -0000, Eli Bishop wrote:
>This is interesting, but ...I agree. (I may also have disagreed with calling Nova cold, as well.)
>> DHALGREN -- Surprisingly, warm
>> TRITON -- Cold
>... I would certainly call TRITON "surprisingly, warm" as well.
Related to this comment, I wanted to observe that I have always seen
Dhalgren and Triton to be two sides of the same coin: in part because they
were consecutive novels in Delany's career, and in part because they tackle
-- using very different rhetorical and narrative idiom -- similar themes.
Most significantly, it seems to me both focus on an alienated and
emotionally-damaged individual trying to negotiate the mores of a new
society with which he is unfamiliar, against the backdrop of larger,
deadlier conflicts (the fall of Bellona, interstellar war) that may or may
not have anything to do with him personally, but which affect him
profoundly nonetheless. Both stories have circular narrative structures
(the repetition of the opening time/space situating lines at the end of
Triton), and in both the main character has an only partially-successful
epiphany about his/her identity (Kid and his name, Bron and his/her gender).
The fact that one is told in the putative "present day" (or at least the
"present day" of when it was written, the mid-70s), and the other is told
in a comparatively exotic future some centuries from now, to me just
enhances the fact that the central story boils down to the tension between
a character and his environment -- which tension I have always seen as
crucial to all sf (and one of the way I have argued that _Dhalgren_ is
certainly sf to those who would maintain otherwise).
Anyhow. Another quick note: there was some sporadic discussion of Delany on
the rec.arts.sf.written newsgroup last week. Among the usual assortment of
"I hated Dhalgren" and "I loved Dhalgren" comments was an anecdote about
how someone had asked Delany, just last year at a reading, about _The
Splendor and Misery of Bodies, of Cities_ (aka _Stars in My Pocket..._ Pt.
II), and Delany replied that he had not given up on it. (I'm sorry I don't
still have the post to make an exact quote.)
While I understand this is hardly a publication announcement, it's
nonetheless better news than the discouraging "SRD cannot finish work on it
because the people who inspired the various Velmian characters have mostly
died of AIDS in the last decade" line I have previously heard -- a
situation so heartbreaking (and understandable as a writer who would not
want to trammel the memories of loved ones either) that I had all but given
up on the possibility, despite the wonderful and tantalizing excerpt
several years ago in Review of Contemporary Fiction.
Ron Henry / ronhenry@... / rgh3@...
Aught, a journal of poetry
"Memory should not be considered knowledge."