The Motion of Light in Water: Sex and Science Fiction Writing in the East Village, 1957-1965

The Motion of Light in Water: Sex and Science Fiction Writing in the East Village, 1957-1965

by Samuel R. Delany
     
 

"A very moving, intensely fascinating literary biography from an extraordinary writer. Thoroughly admirable candor and luminous stylistic precision; the artist as a young man and a memorable picture of an age." -William Gibson"Absolutely central to any consideration of black manhood. . . . Delany's vision of the necessity for total social and political transformation…  See more details below

Overview

"A very moving, intensely fascinating literary biography from an extraordinary writer. Thoroughly admirable candor and luminous stylistic precision; the artist as a young man and a memorable picture of an age." -William Gibson"Absolutely central to any consideration of black manhood. . . . Delany's vision of the necessity for total social and political transformation is revolutionary." -Hazel Carby "The prose of The Motion of Light in Water often has the shimmering beauty of the title itself. . . . This book is invaluable gay history." -Inches Magazine Born in New York City's black ghetto Harlem at the start of World War II, Samuel R. Delany married white poet Marilyn Hacker right out of high school. The interracial couple moved into the city's new bohemian quarter, the Lower East Side, in summer 1961. Through the decade's opening years, new art, new sexual practices, new music, and new political awareness burgeoned among the crowded streets and cheap railroad apartments. Beautifully, vividly, insightfully, Delany calls up this era of exploration and adventure as he details his development as a black gay writer in an open marriage, with tertiary walk-ons by Bob Dylan, Stokely Carmichael, W. H. Auden, and James Baldwin, and a panoply of brilliantly drawn secondary characters. Winner of the 1989 Hugo Award for Non-fiction Samuel R. Delany is the author of numerous science fiction books including, Dhalgren and The Mad Man, as well as the best-selling nonfiction study Times Square Red, Times Square Blue. He lives in New York City and teaches at Temple University. The Lambda Book Report chose Delany as one of the fifty most significant men and women of the past hundred years to change our concept of gayness, and he is a recipient of the William Whitehead Memorial Award for a lifetime's contribution to lesbian and gay literature.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
After Delanyblack, gay and from Harlemplunged into a hasty marriage with young white poet Marilyn Hacker, he continued his sexually open lifestyle and had many partners, threesomes included. This self-indulgent, portentously titled hodgepodge of autobiographical snippets only sporadically reveals how the controversial themes of his bestselling science fiction (Dhalgren, etc.) emerged out of the tensions of his marriage, psyche and relations with society. Delany writes about his precocious talent, school days at the Bronx High School of Science, the Lower East Side arts scene and his friendship with W. H. Auden. The book's paragraphs and sections are numbered, divided and subdivided like a dissertation, but the detached style is at odds with the slender material. Fans of his SF will be disappointed. (March)
Library Journal
In this memoir, Delany ( Babel-17 , Dhalgren ) chronicles his formative years in science fiction, including his adolescence in Harlem, his shaky marriage to the poet Marilyn Hacker, the publication of his early novels, the diagnosis of his dyslexia, and his experimentation with bisexuality. This is an interesting portrait of bohemianism in the East Village of the early 1960s, lucidly and vividly told. The book is less about science fiction writing than it is about sex, however, and ultimately one is left wanting to know more about how the author eventually came to produce some of the most challenging and controversial science fiction of his generation. Lonnie Beene, West Texas State Univ. Lib., Canyon

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780877959472
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/01/1988
Pages:
272

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