Delany, Samuel R.

Delany, Samuel R. (Samuel Ray Delany, Jr.), 1942–, African-American wrtier, b. Harlem, New York City. Delany uses science fiction, fantasy, and memoir to explore sexual identity, race, language, and social issues. His most famous novel, Dhalgren (1975), tells the story of a young man who drifts through a post-apocalyptic America in search of self; its hallucinatory, fragmentary, and circular prose was both praised and derided. Two of the science-fiction novels he wrote before Dahlgren, Babel-17 (1966) and The Einstein Intersection (1967), won Nebula awards. His fantasy writing includes the 11 stories of the four-volume Return to Nevèrÿon series; the works deal with slave uprisings and follow the travels of Gorgik the Liberator as he foments further rebellions. Stars in My Pocket like Grains of Sand (1984) is the futuristic story of two lovers from different planets. The essays in The Jewel-Hinged Jaw (1977) apply literary criticism to science fiction, and the two in Times Square Red, Times Square Blue (1999) explore the gay male culture of Times Square before its gentrification in the late 1990s.

See his memoir, The Motion of Light in Water (1988, Hugo Award).

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