I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.

8 Responses to “Samuel Delany reads from Through The Valley of the Nest of Spiders

  1. I love Samuel Delaney’s work–especially Dhalgren, which I think everyone will agree is a masterpiece (though debate as to whether it’s Delaney’s *best* novel is still lively)–but this book just seems…ridiculous. As a straight guy, I like reading about gay characters just as much as I like reading about characters representing any and all sexual orientations, beliefs, nationalities, and so forth are different than mine. But this book comes across as little more than Delaney standing on a stack of his previous books shouting, “I’m GAY! GAY GAY GAY-DI-GAY-DI-GAY! Wooooooooooooooooo–G! A! Y! GAY!” It’s the literary equivalent of a leather daddy prancing around at a gay-rights parade swinging a giant doubleheaded dildo over his head like a morningstar while singing “I Need Love” at the top of his lungs. One of my friends who read it (who happens to be gay and grew up in the ’70s bath-house/anything-goes bacchanalia but escaped the AIDS epidemic) said that while it doesn’t depict a wholly-inaccurate view of gay male relationships and culture, it made him uneasy because–in his words–it relies so much on shock value that it cheapens the sincerity of gay relationships in general, let alone polyamorous relationships. I’ve only read excerpts from it, but that’s prettymuch exactly what I get out of it, too.

    In Dhalgren, the protagonist’s omnisexuality was presented as just a part of his nature–an element of his personality–not as a cartoonish, quasi-pornotastic “I’ll bone anything that moves” archetype. That was my first literary exposure to non-straight sexuality and it was presented in such a natural, non-confrontational way that I wasn’t shocked or discomfited by it.

    • lorq says:

      “I’ve only read excerpts from it…”
      Aaaand next.

    • Guido says:

      “it relies so much on shock value that it cheapens the sincerity of gay relationships in general, let alone polyamorous relationships”

      I have doubts about your knowledge of Delaney’s work. Really.

      Have you read The Mad Man? Bread and Wine? Shock value is all over the place. I am gay, and I am not a prude at all, quite the opposite, but some parts of those works are a lot to take. Difficult, yes, but not that doesn’t makes it a bad book. What you are complaining about is a great part of what makes Delaney unique.And I think that he probably would hit that leather daddy. (And so would I)

    • mindysan33 says:

      I don’t know… isn’t being shocked and discomfited sometimes a good thing? Would you have the same complaint about sexual explicit work by straight writers? Would you be shocked by Anais Nin’s erotica works or by Duras’ the Lover? [edited for me not being able to type a word correctly...]

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      It’s the literary equivalent of a leather daddy prancing around at a gay-rights parade swinging a giant doubleheaded dildo over his head like a morningstar while singing “I Need Love” at the top of his lungs.

      You mean that guy who was publicly involved in the gay rights movement 50 years ago, despite how dangerous it was? That guy who put gayness on the map while the other 95% of gay men were in the closet and trying to pass as straight? That guy deserves a Nobel Prize.

      • cdh1971 says:

        And/Or a Pulitzer Prize ;)

        Mr. Crisp, (in the attached photo) and many, many others, have not yet received their duly deserved recognition either. We can all agree that post-mortem films just do not cut it.

  2. I still want to see him as Santa Claus. I know he’s got the suit, I just can’t find a picture of him in it!

  3. Joly MacFie says:

    I shot this one too. http://youtu.be/H3Pdxp7QD78

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