Kernos's Reviews > Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand

Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand by Samuel R. Delany
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May 13, 11

bookshelves: science-fiction, favorite-books-re-read
Recommended for: thinkers
Read from May 03 to 11, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: 1

I am a fairly experienced reader, but I had difficulty reading this book. I found the use of names confusing. If ever I have truly needed a name glossary, it is with this book. I kept getting confused about whether a name referred to a person, a place, a planet or a star. I was uncertain about who was human, who not and the continual shift of pronouns made this even more difficult. In a sense this relates to cultural confusion in our 'real' world. In another sense this book needs to be read when one is able to concentrate and focus. I was not.

Much has been written here about this novel on this page, much that perhaps I will comment on after future readings. The book is about many things, but a couple have invaded my quasi-consciouness.

The simplest of these concerns Delany's concept of the Web which was brilliantly prophetic at the time this was written relative to today's WWW.

Though we still are tethered to external devices, we can quickly find information we desire, still have to digest it ourselves, but find the information is controlled by another web of anonymous personages, powers and machines while maintaining the appearance of being free and open. And, all our activities on the Web are archived forever for those same entities to monitor. Delany's Web spans 6000 worlds and tens of thousands light years, but his ideas have much relevance to our current, if provincial Earthside WWW.

The other is more difficult to put into words, but I think it has to do with the nature of reality, communication and our own essential aloneness. How can you know me? How can I know you? All we know about each other is illusory and incomplete as is information and the science of information or the information of science, as is how we understand our culture and alien cultures. It is likely as difficult to understand each other as it would be meeting an alien being from another star system who has entirely different ways of sensing the external world. As it stands we can never grok another being.

But Delany provides a clue how we might do: (view spoiler)
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