Sean Sullivan's Reviews > About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, & Five Interviews

About Writing by Samuel R. Delany
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's review
Sep 21, 2007

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bookshelves: fiction
Read in January, 2005

I am of the opinion that Samuel Delany’s Dhalgren is one of the most important novels of the last forty years. It is as challenging as Gravity’s Rainbow, but much more rewarding and politically complicated. And a friend said once, it makes you feel kind of funny when you read it.

I love most of Delany’s work, the essays on french theory, the memoirs on growing up black, queer and dyslexic in New York City, the science fiction, most of the gay porn (though not even I can stomach Hogg). When I saw this volume of his collected writings on writing, I had high hopes. I was disappointed. Delany on just about anything other than writing is an interesting, but here, I think he fell short. Good books on writing are hard to come by, beyond the technical nature of writing, there is little that can really be imparted in an essay, and especially and essay by a guy who is more comfortable with Lacan and spaceships than he is with self help talk of finding the writers voice.

If you’re looking for some good Delany, instead of About Writing, read Dhalgren, Nova, Longer Views, The Motion of Light in Water and 1984
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