June 18th, 2009

Dhalgren
  • ed_rex

Dark Reflections - a marriage of SF and the mundane

Roads not travelled

(Technically, the following isn't a review of a work of science fiction. However, Samuel R. Delany is a long-time science fiction writer, and I believe the book in question has a science fiction feel to it. Mods, feel free to delete.)

Samuel R. Delany's Dark Reflections:
A marriage of SF and the mundane

With thousands of books published in the English language every year, to name any particular book or particular writer as "the best" of any particular category is to be either simply foolish or foolishly hubristic.

But still ... Samuel R. Delany is still the best writer working in the English language today. His recent novel, Dark Reflections, is a quiet, almost elegiac proof, not only of Delany's mastery of his craft but, perhaps more interestingly, that while you might take the science fiction out of the story, you can't take the science fiction out of the writer — at least, not this writer. And further, that "science fiction" may be less a matter of technology and time-lines than it is one of attitude and tone.

Dark Reflections is unquestionably a "literary" novel and yet, in its uncompromising story of one man's (unique — and yet, somehow universal) life, it nevertheless feels like science fiction in that it offers the reader the chance to explore the aline — that is, to get to know another being. If not "the universe in a grain of a sand", then the universe in the life of a man.

The full review can be read here, on my website.