by Samuel R. Delany, William Gibson
3.6 17

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Dhalgren 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Robotica83 More than 1 year ago
Dhalgren is a weird case for me, because when I was first reading it and people asked me how it was, I would say, "I really like it, but I'm not sure I would recommend it." It's a very punk novel, in a post-apocalyptic and forgotten city called Bellona, with a poetic and sex-loving wanderer simply named The Kid as the protagonist. The point of view varies from past to present, from first to third tense seemingly at random; punctuation and complete sentences aren't a constant occurrence. It's like nothing I've ever read. It stuck with me long after I'd finished it in a way most books do not, and I came to realize that the reason I liked it so much was this: if I were to live in any bohemian anarchic society, this is the one I would choose. If you want to work you can; if not, you don't. If you want to be part of a gang, they'll welcome you; if you want to pretend life still goes on as normal, move into a vacant apartment. When you want to get laid, there's always someone there for you; if you just want to hang out with friends, they're already there. It follows the life of a free-living writer without getting bogged down in drugs like so many similar novels predictably do. It's creative and different and downright weird. But if you're turned off by detailed and nontraditional sex scenes, this book is not for you. And don't expect all the freaky stuff that happens in Bellona to have a neat and tidy explanation. It doesn't. Dhalgren is straight up something way different and fun for the adventurous. It's definitely a unique read.
Almond001 More than 1 year ago
This book can be read at multiple levels. As a slow-moving adventure tale, as a post-apocalyptic novel, and as a deeper, philosophical treatise on where humans are moving. I'm sure there are levels of thought in this book that are far beyond my comprehension, but as I reread this novel every five or six years, I hope to continue pulling things out that have escaped my notice in the past.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book when years ago when it first hit the shelves. I read and reread it and the pages started to fall out. My book was destroyed by a forest fire when my camping trailer burned up. Now to buy another copy and start the journey with The Kid agin.
Driftglass More than 1 year ago
The story begins with this cryptic passage: "to wound the autumnal city. So howled out for the world to give him a name. The in-dark answered with wind." This is Samuel R. Delaney's finest work. I originally read this book in 1974 as a teenager, and my expectation of what I might expect to encounter in the written word was forever transformed. This is not a book for the casual reader. The author playfully juggles expectations, creating a growing sense of patterns never finally realized, with ultimate mysteries never solved. Much like life! The story isn't about endings, or enlightenment, but rather about experiences and perspectives. Understanding is the booby prize--experience is everything. Delany has a knack for turning reader expectations against the reader to baffle and transcend. We are accustomed to storytelling in the first person--stories being told by a narrator who understands, and has grown from the experiences that he now unfolds in the storytelling. But what if the narrator has a skewed view of reality, was unhinged by his experiences, has become confused, or been ravaged by incomplete menories? All that was known is over. All that was familiar is strange and terrible. Stripped of literary conventions, Dhalgren is that experimental novel. William Gibson calls Dhalgren "A riddle that was never meant to be solved." At the level of plot, in these dying days of earth a young drifter enters the city of Bellona--a fictional mythical city cut off from the rest of the world by some unknown catastrophe. As he wanders through the social disorganizetion of the ruined city, distorted by unexplained temporal anomalies, he encounters a cast of archetypal characters, individuals and gangs, too numerous to mention, each uniquely rendered. But this story is not constrained by its plot. The story ends: "I still hear them walking in the trees: not speaking. Waiting here, away from the terrifying weaponry, out of the halls of vapor and light, beyond holland into the hills, I have come to... " The unclosed closing sentence can be read as leading into the unopened opening sentence, turning the novel into an enigmatic circle. Dhalgren is a unique experience. an unexpected journey. You will never read another book like it.
rwakeland More than 1 year ago
There isn't much that I can say about dhalgren without completely blowing it, but I guess some description of this puzzle is necessary to get people to read it.

Dhalgren is a post-apocalyptic science-fiction novel set in the American town of Bellona. Delany's nameless protagonist wanders through the streets of this burning, constantly shifting city, trying to make heads and tails of what is going on. There's a lot of sex, drama and violence, as well as holographic dragons and animals roaming through the streets like gangs in a metropolis.

There are seven "books" to dhalgren, each one diving heavily into metaphysics and producing passages that break its usual third-person narrative. It's definitely not a book for people who are fans of series novels and genre fiction. If you like to think about what you read, then I'd suggest you give this one a shot. You'll spend much of your time deciphering the overall theme of the novel, but once you get into it, dhalgren is an extremely well crafted labyrinth that easily could be read over and over again.
RobertKimsey More than 1 year ago
An excellent book, and one of the works of SF/F that is likely to stand the test of time. It's not an easy read. It is complicated metafiction. Delany isn't going to hold your hand, and you're either going to be able to follow it and 'grok' what Delany is doing, or not. And to be honest, Delany doesn't care which one it is. If you're in the former category, it's a rewarding read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Hard Sci-Fi and was recommended to me as such although I would call this much more then Sci-Fi. It was difficult for me to start through, but when I thought I couldn't read anymore I kept reading and reading and reading. By the end I felt accomplished and happy I read such a unique read and very pleased with the journey this took me on. While I will not recommend this book to everyone it is in my opinion very worth reading if you are willing to give it a try and have an open mind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you come ftom another planet .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book a long time ago (before Nooks were born for sure) and was engrossed from page one. Often I did not know what was happening or who was what, but the writing was so captivating, it didn't matter. I have since read it again and enjoyed it just as much the second time. Now here it is on Nook - I'll have to get it on this venue and read it again.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I first read this book back in 1993, when obtaining a copy was extremely difficult (the reprints didn't start 'til 1996). Today, as then, I find this sci-fi alt-future post-apocolypse (?) novel to be one of the finest examples of Samuel Delaney's work. His exquisite mastery of descriptions pulls the reader in and his use of parallel, intertwining columns of text telling both story and personal narrative makes for richly textured reading. At the same time, Delaney is unafraid to address questions of sexuality, race, gender, and relationships. This book is a landmark of black gay writing as well as of science fiction. The ONLY downside that I can see is that while the style is intelligently complicated, it sometimes makes the novel slightly impenetrable. But these moments pass and the reader is left with a very satisfying novel, one he or she will be picking up again and again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a hard book to read! I have had to put it down several times, however it has been great to read in between my on-line orders
Elgion More than 1 year ago
Let me just say that I am a big fan of hardcore SF. I don't mind reading a few hundred pages to start to understand where the book is going. I made it half way through this book and it was still confusing and very very boring. I tried this book four times before I made it that far. I have finally given up completely. In my opinion, Delany was dropping acid the entire time he was writing this book. I didn't need the strange and explicitly described sex scenes in the book; both Homo and Hetero sexual. Although I didn't put it down for that reason. The book was just plain boring and going nowhere fast. After I put it down, I read the summary on wikiapedia and it sounds like I didn't miss anything. From the wiki article I found out that two author I respect and like, Pk Dick and Harlan Ellison both hated and trashed the book. They also couldn't finish it. I felt bad that I didn't work my way through it and give it more of a chance until I read that. Do not waste your time on this poorly written piece of trash.
Madam_Fynswyn More than 1 year ago
This is quite lterally the worst book I have ever read. I finished it thinking that the end would bring it all together and it would finally make some sense. Not so much. It was just awful from cover to cover.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was terrible, and not just in a poorly executed story or loophole sort of way, but in a truly ridiculous, nonsensical way. First of all this book is about being gay or bisexual. That's the theme. Don't even read the liner notes, pay no attention to the sci-fi listing, it is mind numbingly long read about being gay or bisexual. This book was so terrible, it was one vampire away from being Anne Rices best work. If you are looking for a truly good post-apocalyptic novel try The Diamond Age or anything else really...