John'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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Jan 10, 12

Read from November 04, 2011 to January 09, 2012

WTH?! I spent two months of lunchtimes on this?!

I have not slogged through a more difficult read since Gene Wolfe's lictor/new sun saga, and I didn't get the payoff from this that I did from them.

If this is the "masterpiece" that the cover blurb claims, I'm afraid it is one that passed right over the top of my li'l pumpkin head. As a character novel, it failed me: I never connected with narrator Marq Dyeth and was never supposed to grasp he cipher Rat Korga. As a plot novel, it failed me: it took so many large leaps so often that it left me behind. As a language/conceptual novel, it failed me: the use of gender-term inversion for indeterminate and group personages forced me to stumble every page. (The deliberate language inversion stuff works for short works, but at novel length is felt pointlessly pedantic. I get it already, stop bludgeoning me with it!)

To me, this read like the execution of a challenge between writers (or from the author to himself). "Write something that illustrates the infinite possibilities of cultural diversity in a interstellar multi-species universe!" It felt like 60% of the words were spent with Industrial Diplomat Marg explaining to us that such-and-such had X meaning in Y cultural group but could be otherwise. That got tedious.
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