The Einstein Intersection • 1967 • SF Novel by Samuel R. Delany


Delany wrote this brainfood with humanistic background in 1965. So, there are clumsy computers, 33′ and 45′ records, there are Beatles, Bob Dylan references etc. But the archaic touch doesn’t matter at all – the concepts are important, and probably won over the Nebula Award and nearly made the Hugo.

This isn’t for readers who don’t know Orpheus and Eurydice. Even for those with the necessary background, it’s more fun having a wikipedia nearby to search all the catchwords. So, it will be a slow read and second read might bring even new dimensions of insights – though I won’t re-read it. References to Einstein’s and Gödel’s theorems are a little bit explained but you have to figure out connections by yourself.

There is space and time travel and all is interleaved with Delany’s travel log in the mediteranean sea.

Delany writes in an advanced literaric prose which doesn’t provide easy answers, clear plotlines and trivial characters. It’s simply a little bit more complex than your usual bread and butter SF.

And it is a novella with less than 150 pages where newer authors would take a couple of hundred pages to bring the same message over.

Recommended for readers who are up to a challenge.

Do you wonder why this review is so different from the previous ones? Well, I’ve read and reviewed this in 2013 when I was still new to GoodReads, and had no blog. I thought it would be a good idea to slowly copy over some reviews without adapting them too much.

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11 Responses to The Einstein Intersection • 1967 • SF Novel by Samuel R. Delany

  1. pdtillman says:

    Interesting. I don’t have good memories of this one, never re-read it, and don’t plan to.

    Do you know of a good SF/F adaptation of the Orpheus and Eurydice legend?

    I’ve rounded up most of my old reviews and transferred them to GR already — but others keep turning up in odd corners of the net and old, forgotten files from time to time. I generally try to give them a GR compatible rating (I used to give letter grades, and the Amazon stars run about one higher than do GR’s) but otherwise usually make only minor changes. But sometimes they need a rewrite!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pdtillman says:

    I haven’t read it, either. But I’ve liked many other Stablefords. 2015 novel, so late work:
    Second in his Mnemosyne series. Seems to have attracted little (if any) critical attention. FWTW

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joachim Boaz says:

      My experience with Stableford has been very very average–The Florians (1976),
      The Halcyon Drift (1972), and Journey to the Center (1982) are all reviewed on my site. That said, haven’t explored his later work or his short fiction.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Joachim Boaz says:

    I enjoyed the interweaving of his own travel experiences into the narrative — added a fascinating metafictional touch. Read it long before I started reviewing regularly though — my memories are vague.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. piotrek says:

    I support the causes Delany stands for, but I just could never enjoy reading his works… I tried… twice, I think, and it was just such a chore. And I have a MA in sociology with some reading done on postmodernism, so I insist it’s not my inability to understand what I’m reading 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andreas says:

      I found „Aye and Gomorrha“ quite accessible like several other of his works. Einstein Intersection is extreme in its surrealism. I couldn’t bare reading several such works in row but sometimes I enjoy the intellectual challenge.
      Same with Ellison or Zelazny.

      Liked by 1 person

      • piotrek says:

        Interesting. I love Zelazny and almost all I’ve read of his works was, among other things, highly enjoyable 🙂
        Perhaps my sample of Delany is too small, but it will be some time before I’m ready for another attempt..

        Liked by 1 person

        • Andreas says:

          A first bad read will influence your mood reading another one. I won’t recommend his works to you. I think he was essential read back in last millennium. We have now so many great authors that we don’t absolutely need to grab authors we don’t like.

          Liked by 1 person

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