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This is a really short book and I didn t really care for it, so I m forgoing my usual format to just include a few words.I ve never read anything by Mr Delany before, and if this is an indication of his work, I likely won t read anything else.My understanding however is that this is one of his earlier works, so maybe I ll like his later works better.This was the January 2014 pick for Sword Laser and I ve had pretty good luck with the Sci Fi picks in 2013, sadly the trend hasn t continued to kick off 2014.I read this all in one sitting in an airport on the plane to Vegas I m now trying to recall what I liked disliked about this story a long sleep deprived weekend later.My only recollections were that thankfully this is short and I m glad I m done with this This is really a story about the journey and not the destination I guess, but I just found it strange and mostly pointless There are universal themes of love and loss in a post apocalyptic type setting.The one highlight for me was the ancient lore of The Beatles They are one of my favorite bands so the notion of them being used as some kind of parable was amusing to me I will however point out that Ringo DID sing some Beatles songs albeit much fewer than the other three I m not sure if Mr Delany did that on purpose because of bad information discovered passed down from generation to generation or if he simply got it wrong It still irks me though Overall I think this is one of those books whose enjoyment will vary largely from person to person It just really didn t work for me. As morning branded the sea, darkness fell away at the far side of the beach I turned to follow it So ends The Einstein Intersection My own interest in Delany may be terminated as well The novel began as Orpheus and became Red River and ended as David Copperfield All that without Walter Brennan Delany lards his fiction with ideas, with theory Unfortunately he can t stop acknowledging that A future grimdark place where the humans have left Mutants remain, clinging to our myths This novel appeared to be all sprint I do not wish to end this Delany endeavor We shall see 2.3 stars @FREE E-PUB × The Einstein Intersection ¹ The Einstein Intersection Won The Nebula Award For Best Science Fiction Novel Of The Surface Story Tells Of The Problems A Member Of An Alien Race, Lo Lobey, Has Assimilating The Mythology Of Earth, Where His Kind Have Settled Among The Leftover Artifacts Of Humanity The Deeper Tale Concerns, However, The Way Those Who Are Different Must Deal With The Dominant Cultural Ideology The Tale Follows Lobey S Mythic Quest For His Lost Love, Friza In Luminous And Hallucinated Language, It Explores What New Myths Might Emerge From The Detritus Of The Human World As Those Who Are Different Try To Seize History And The Day The Einstein Intersection New Wave SF with style but story lacks disciplineOriginally posted at Fantasy LiteratureIt doesn t get any New Wave SF than this very slim 1968 Nebula winning novel 157 pages , and it s hard to imagine anything like this being written today It s a mythical retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice story in a far future Earth populated by the mutated remnants of humanity Being a Delany book, the writing is disjointed, jazzy, lyrical, playful, and tantalizing The surface events are fairly obscure, but it s clear that the real narrative is buried beneath, and in case you didn t catch on, every chapter has several obscure and fairly pretentious quotes from intellectuals, not least of all the author himself, who inserts between chapters snippets of his journals from his artistic travels in the Mediterranean while writing this book, in classic meta fiction style Even in a longer book I d view this literary device as fairly self indulgent, but when the entire story is 157 pages, it s seems downright insulting to the reader It s very clear that reader expectations and tastes have changed dramatically in the last half century.The plot, to be charitable, involves Lo Lobey, a humanoid mutant in the far future who sounds like a Neanderthal with great brute strength but limited brain capacity He is a musician who plays his sword like a flute, and when his love Friza disappears one day, he sets out on a quest to find her His nemesis is a fearful super being called Kid Death, a mutant with the power to kill seemingly at will who is intent on wiping out other mutants which makes you wonder why he doesn t dispatch them all with a flick of the wrist.One of the key themes of the book is the mythical overtones of the Lo Lobey s Orpheus like quest into the underworld, and by far the most amazing and intense part of the book is the extended sequence in which Lo Lobey hunts down a massive minotaur underground and battles him The writing is fantastic and if the book had been able to sustain passages like this, I would have liked the novel much As it is, I felt that was the high point and the narrative collapsed afterward.The other major theme is mutation as a metaphor for being different , and when we consider that Delany himself was a gay black poet growing up in Harlem, that makes sense He married high school classmate poet Marilyn Hacker after high school, but they experimented with polygamy and had affairs with both men and women, and Marilyn later declared herself lesbian after their divorce So it s fair to say Delany would consider himself different The underlying theme of the story also strongly identifies with the mutants, and at the end of the story Lo Lobey realizes that instead of imitating the traditions of the extinct human race, the aliens for that is what they are need to embrace their differences and live on their own terms This may make sense thematically, but to shoehorn such a complex idea into the fragile vessel of this story is really over reaching in my opinion.Nonetheless, it s hard to believe this book won the Nebula and was nominated for the Hugo, since it wouldn t even get a consideration now and might only count as a novella I wish I could have been in on the award committee deliberations There must have been an old guard group supporting Golden Age writers, and a much younger, hipper, coffee house social activist group on the other side, locked in a deadly struggle for supremacy Tracking the Hugo and Nebula winners through past decades is a fascinating barometer of the changing times and SF readership, something that an MA thesis could be devoted to. Dude I was about 3 chapters into this book and some guy flat out stole this book from me.Nastyguy Do you mind if I read this Me Yes, I m reading it Nastyguy Can I take a look at it at least Me Ummm, okay But I m in the middle of it, so don t leave with it Nastyguy Okay About 2 hours later, after Nastyguy leaves Me searching all over Did anybody see the book I was reading Sister I think I saw Nastyguy leaving with it He said you let him borrow it.Me Awwwh, % It must be so good it makes people steal That s what I get for putting it down. if neil stephenson wrote this book, it d be 157,000,000 pages long delany does it as a novella and somehow it contains the whole world.i wish they d let him keep the original title, though a fabulous, formless darkness was much better. This is the only book by Delany that I ve ever cared for I love it He blends SF mythology, a post apocalyptic world filled with wonders monsters Our hero journeys through this world, discovering about it, himself the human race He shows mankind s greatest failures achievements through the eyes of something else A very interesting read re read.I read it again although the words are very familiar after all these years, still they move me in different ways make me think of different things Certainly a classic. Psychedelic 60s SF version of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, quite nicely done The Orpheus character is sympathetic and well realized, as is his demonic opponent, Kid Death Eurydice is suitably beautiful, tragic and mysterious, but doesn t have much of a personality Not a serious problem, however, since she s dead for most of the book. I would be a liar if I said I could map out the plot to this novel in any kind of linear fashion One read through is definitely not enough So, is it even permissible to give the book my highest rating when I cannot, admittedly, lay the plot out in a plain diagram for you Oh, heck yes This book will play tricks with your mind, no doubt But if you enjoy strange dreams that hold their own internal logic unexplainable in the waking world, but somehow making perfect sense to your sleeping self you might just love this novella When I finished it, I felt like I had just woken up from a very deep, sad, meaningful dream, still slightly intoxicated and a bit confused.I even struggle to clearly outline who or what the main antagonist, Kid Death, is I seriously considered the following options as I read.1 Alternate personality of Lobey, the main character2 Computer generated being enabled by ancient humans3 Supernatural being4 Result of bad head wound to Lobey and concluded that none of them were correct, though each of them could have been And this seems to be at the heart of what Delany has written here A Godelian possibility space that cannot be deciphered from within, but must be understood on an intuitive, subconscious level by the reader, who is completely outside of the character s possibility space The reader is, in essence, the Einstein Intersection, encompassing the possible limits of what the characters, plot, and setting fundamentally are because she or he is beyond the limits of the internal understanding of those in the book Though this can be the case for just about any book, Delany is particularly deft at getting the reader into the book and world, through the use of bread crumbs strung along to pull the reader out of their own metafictional reality, convincing the reader that she or he can understand the book s world on its own terms Again, though, the reader, being a real human being, is, in reality, above all that and is capable of objectifying the text as a piece of fiction This doesn t mean that the reader will or can fully understand what is going on, because that would imply that the reader fully encompasses what is in Samuel R Delany s head Rather, reading the novel is a lot like having a conversation with a native speaker of a foreign language that one is in the early stages of learning The reader understands some of the vocabulary and the easier stretches of grammar, without knowing the nuances of the language and, most importantly, without knowing what the speaker is feeling or thinking in any meaningful way.But this does not mean that there aren t connections being made Some aspects of the conversation are carried from one person to the other by way of the subconscious absorption via context, others by the intuitive reading of body language communication that is not formally spoken or, in the case of reading Delany s novel, the evocation of feelings and thoughts, some rather complex, that arise from the author s prose In other words, I can t get into Delany s head, but I can have some notion of what he s getting at, regardless of whether I fully understand the entirety at once or not.What, then, do I think Delany is getting at with The Einstein Intersection I think he s getting at the tenderness of human longing and the co mingled loneliness and pride in being different I think he s sharing, on a very visceral level, how lonely one often feels when one is not in the norm but acknowledging that walking alone can be, in some small way, a victory march over normalcy Lobey, the main character is, if nothing else, vulnerable and, to some extent, innocent But he is also powerful, able to plunge through death and hell for the sake of misplaced spurned love.That s a story worth struggling to understand. I had never read any Samuel R Delany before, so I wasn t sure what to expect And I don t think I was expecting this lyrical, mythical, entrancing science fiction Delany weaves together new and old myths into a science fiction story about a race living in the ruins humans left behind, trying on their lives and living out their stories until they work through them and can finally move on to their own.Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook