DoctorM's Reviews > Dhalgren

Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
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Feb 21, 2010

did not like it

I read a lot of Samuel R. Delany's sci-fi when I was young, and all the way up through "Einstein Intersection" (aka "A Fabulous, Formless Darkness") and "Nova", I loved his work. Yet...somewhere around "Triton" he went badly off the rails. The same kind of thing happened to Piers Anthony and Roger Zelazny, but it their cases it was simply the lure of quick, large paychecks for Bad Fantasy Novels. Delany...fell into another trap. He positioned himself as the face of Black Queer High-Lit Quasi-Political Speculative Fiction...and forgot how to write or tell a story. Call it the Pretentiousness Trap. "Dhalgren" is just...a mess. It goes nowhere, resolves nothing, and its characters are flat and dull. I've tried on three occasions to plow through this novel, and every time I do...I just throw up my hands after a couple of hundred pages. Not even reading critical essays before diving in has helped. "Dhalgren" is...a severe disappointment by an author who once gave a new, exciting face to sci-fi. Unreadable? Not...technically. But un-finishable? Very bloody much so.
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03/02/2016 marked as: read

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