January 1, 2006

Stars in my Pocket Like Grains of Sand

Calvin gave me Stars in my Pocket Like Grains of Sand for Christmas. I really liked Samuel R. Delany's other books, but Stars is much more complicated prose and a much more alien environment. The book is written from the viewpoint of and for an audience of a person who is familiar with that universe, so it will take some time and deep thought to catch up and understand what's going on. But there is a very rich story inside this book. I wish things were explained better though; it reads more like memoirs than a normal novel and so whatever is left unknown to the narrator is also unknown to the reader.

Something that confused me at first was the notion of gender. Gender (not sex) has taken on an entirely different meaning in the world presented. It speaks well of Delany's skill that the protagonist Marq Dyeth comes across as a female, based on contemporary views, but is in fact male. Once this notion is accepted in your mind, then the whole concept of gender can be grasped.

There is also a great deal of cultural experience that can be found in this novel. With the many different worlds, people, species, and cultures that are presented, so much of the different cultures can be seen. This is also a little hard to follow, as the book assumes and audience familiar with how things are. And some of the mores and ways of thinking may be hard to grasp or even anathema to many readers with less open minds.

I do think to fully appreciate this book, a person needs to read it multiple times. But I doubt I will do that, since it is such a difficult text to absorb.

Posted by josuah at January 1, 2006 12:10 AM UTC+00:00

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