#Read Kindle É Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand Þ eBook or E-pub free

The downfall of most science fiction is the difficulty of chronicling new bodies, worlds, and cultures for the reader Many works dissolve into long flailing descriptions of aliens and drawn out dialogs on cultural meanings Authors who can surpass this albatross of introducing an other, like Ursala K Le Guin training in anthropology helps, apparently and Octavia E Butler, achieve an undeniable commentary on contemporary social life Samuel R Delany joins this list The main protagonist, Marq Dyeth is an Industrial Diplomat, a position which requires him to engage new forms of life and culture across a large section of the Galaxy He does so with the help of General Information, or GI, an internal brain link to something very similar to today s web The commentary Delany provides on machine mediated interaction i.e today s internet deserves a review of its own, and is one of the most notable aspects of this particular narrative So I ll simply note that it is brilliant and continue Despite Marq s continual encounters with Others, Delany never breaks stride he never spends pages on physical descriptions, and the only time the readers receive long expositions on cultural meanings is when Marq himself needs to perform them as part of a family informal dinner This approach naturalizes the bodies and lives of these characters, giving the reader no time to shrug and become lost in confused imaginings of form Instead, we are as Marq is aware of difference, but not aggressively confronted by it This approach is brilliant, and if you d like to see how excellence in science fiction becomes an impeccable social commentary, I ve provided two excerpts below One is from the aforementioned family gathering, and the second is a description of technology spurred on by the of Rat s prosthetic eyes at the end of these I describe some turn of events in the novel, so if you like to read without prior knowledge of the plot, please stop after the following two paragraphs All right, I said once But there re so many ways that a stream differs from a family I don t know where to start The father mother son that makes up the basic family unit, as the Family has described it for centuries now, represents a power structure, a structure of strong powers, mediating powers, and subordinate powers, as well as paths for power developments and power restrictions It s also a conceptual structure as well, a model through which to see many different situations The Family has always been quite loose in applying that system to any given group of humans or nonhumans, breeding or just living together, so that you can have lots of fathers, lots of mothers, lots of sons and any woman of any age or any gender can always fill any of the roles I m sure the right Family analysis could reinterpret our nurture stream or your reproductive commune as a classical family without an eye blink, just by assigning one or parts to one or women But if we agreed to the model, no doubt we d begin to stabilize the power structure it controls But there re other power structures that can apply to nurturing groups For instance, in the Family structure, the parents are seen to contain and enclose the children, to protect them from society In the stream structure, the children are the connection between the parents and the society To become a parent is to immediately have your child change your relation to society Suddenly you have to deal with nurseries, nutrition co ops, study groups a whole raft of social institutions Because most children don t generate from within streams, the stream structure conceives of all children as gifts from society, as gifts to society When culture first develops the technology to counterfeit a human function, the counterfeit is usually awkward and jarring But when the culture reaches a technological stage beyond that, the prostheses are made to look as much like to original organ as possible Now when a stage beyond that is reached, suddenly the prostheses are consciously constructed to call attention to themselves in aesthetically interesting ways If you re not already intrigued I m sorry, but you may be suffering from an acute lack of engagement with your own life You might want to look into that.I am officially a Delany Fan My only hang up with the story comes from the description of Marq and Rat as perfect erotic objects for one another out to about seven decimal places While I enjoy others erotically, I also find the difficulty Delany has in portraying love interesting and a little disheartening The main character, Marq, can t admit to loving Rat, rationalizing his later emotional discomfort away, avoiding the term and relying upon descriptions of a match between erotic objects Which leaves me hanging is Delany providing a commentary on the impact of open sexuality on intimacy personally, I don t think this is it , was Delany expressing his own relationships through Marq s difficulties, or did Stars in my Pocket intentionally write love out of the Universe These questions, of course, could be nothing than a reflection of my own inability to see such a strong intimate connection without seeing love but I also trust myself, and as an Anthropologist the places that make me squirm are often the places where inquiry is needed Or at least acculturation.Fantastic novel Strongly recommended. This is not a great book There were times when I wasn t even sure it was a good book But it s trying so many interesting things, testing the boundaries of science fiction, and perhaps, the comfort of the reader, to get at some truly fascinating things Some of these experiments may have failed, but I d much rather read an interesting but failed experiment than an unambitious sufficiency.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 #Read Kindle × Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand ⚺ Stars In My Pocket Like Grains Of Sand Is A Science Fiction Masterpiece, An Essay On The Inexplicability Of Sexual Attractiveness, And An Examination Of Interstellar Politics Among Far Flung Worlds First Published In , The Novel S Central Issues Technology, Globalization, Gender, Sexuality, And Multiculturalism Have Only Become Pressing With The Passage Of TimeThe Novel S Topic Is Information Itself What Are The Repercussions, Once It Has Been Made Public, That Two Individuals Have Been Found To Be Each Other S Perfect Erotic Object Out To Point Nine Nine Nine And Several Nines Percent What Will It Do To The Individuals Involved, To The City They Inhabit, To Their Geosector, To Their Entire World Society, Especially When One Is An Illiterate Worker, The Sole Survivor Of A World Destroyed By Cultural Fugue, And The Other Is You This was a hard book to rate It raises interesting ideas and plays with theoretical concepts that are intriguing and significant within the fields of gender studies, queer theory, postcolonial theory, sf genre studies, postmodern literary theory, and theories of race and ethnicity There is a lot to take in For that, I like the book However, there is so much going on in this book that it becomes difficult to follow and, worse, it becomes difficult to care about the characters and what happens to them As an exploration of ideas in the form of fiction, it is a success as a novel with a narrative and compelling characters, it is a failure.There are two things Delany sets forth in this novel that I find particularly interesting One, given my interest in feminist theory and gender studies, is his use of gendered pronouns Instead of using gendered pronouns to acknowledge sex physiology where he male and she female , Delany presents a culture in which gendered pronouns reflect relationships of desire In this culture, all beings whether male or female, human or other are referred to as women and called by the female pronoun The exception to this is when one person is attracted to another person In that situation, the person who is desired becomes he You can chart the shifting desires between individuals by paying attention to the pronouns used to refer to others This is fascinating It is a model of gender and sexuality that is not at all about bodies as types for it does not distinguish between sexes in common general speech nor between species and therefore it is rather liberating for a queer movement There is no concept as homosexuality on many worlds though the practices associated with the category certainly exist There is a great deal of freedom on Velm the world about which the reader is given the most information to have sex with anyone you like of any sex, any species, any age, any height Other worlds, it becomes clear, have different customs and prejudices one world is okay with homosexuality, for instance, but frowns upon sexual relationships between individuals of very different heights This is also potentially liberating for a feminist movement Women are not differentiated in the language, are not set apart as outside the linguistic norm having been commonly accepted as male There is, in fact, a near reversal of this in the common assumption that all beings are women, daughters, sisters, mothers, regardless of their sex There are potential problems with this, in that it does resemble a reversal of the current situation even as it reconfigures the system, but in practice, on Velm anyway, this functions less as a reversal of power relations and an empowering of women at the expense of men and functions as an undoing of the concept of gender It is not that women gain power, but that all people are the same, only distinguished by the workings of desire, whatever paths that desire may follow The second element of this novel that is particular interesting is in Delany s concern with cultural transmission The book is just filled to the brim with details some relevant, some irrevelant, and and some whose relevance is impossible to judge about the cultures that Marq Dyeth, an interplanetary ambassador, comes into contact with Because he travels to different worlds so often and must know so much about their different cultures and the ways in which they communicate with each other, this information is constantly intruding into his narrative A character nods and we find ourselves inundated with information about what this means here, there, and everywhere This makes the book difficult to read it also illustrates the difficulties and dangers inherent in communication, especially when dealing with different cultures and different species This is significant within the text of course because cultural species differences sometimes inhibit and sometimes prevent communication for instance, Delany shows how differences in bodily perception will affect communication some creatures taste as a primary sense, some hear instead of see and how their physical environment will affect understand and metaphor what does morning mean, for instance, in a culture that has no sunrise sunset , but it is also significant outside of the text In the modern world, misunderstandings of other cultures and between cultures abound One way of reading Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand is to see in it a warning about the necessity of greater sensitivity to cultural differences As a part of the African American literary tradition, one could also read this element of Stars as a warning about the cultural differences between white Americans and black Americans, between black Americans and black Africans This book s publication, following as it does, the black power movement and the flowering of interest in Africa among African Americans, serves as an oblique commentary on African Americans attempts to fit into these various groups whether white American or African The cross cultural connections within Stars serve as a hopeful vision of intercultural closeness Marq s family, or stream, is composed of both humans and evelms and as a warning of how easily those intercultural connections can be wounded.Having said all that, I want to point out once again that, as a traditional sort of novel, this book is not the work of genius I was led to expect But perhaps it is not fair to expect it to be a great traditional novel Delany s focus here is experimental, after all, and the overwhelming and somewhat diffuse nature of the narrative reflects the broader issues he addresses I cannot tell what the central narrative arc of the novel is, nor can I tell what details I should note as important or relevant as the story unfolds but, upon reflection, that seems to be the point Delany unsettles the reader by refusing to provide the expected focus and drive and in this unsettling provides a narrative that truly reflects the diversity and randomness of reality, both in the novel s world and in ours.Because this is a science fiction novel rather than a realist novel, there is even room for these sorts of complications Delany writes about the protocols of reading science fiction, in which the reader, rather than relying on a given world and its usual expectations, must create a new world in the process of reading All science fiction requires this It requires world building in the reading process Delany takes this concept further than most science fiction writers do, however, in his insistence on creating the same order of richness and complexity he sees about him in the real world by not just creating one world for the reader to marvel at but by placing that world in a larger context His scope is not individual but cultural, and the overwhelming amount of detail in this book makes this cultural rather than individual approach unavoidable for the reader The reader cannot simply care about Marq Dyeth s relationship with Rat Korga the reader must also care about the human evelm political relationship, the dangers of cultural fugue, the question of who and what the Xlv are, and the many, many small ways that all of these groups and interact with each other Delany writes, in the afterword to Stars, I think that any time when there was such a notion of a centered subject, especially when related to the white, western, patriarchal nuclear family, not only was it an ideological mirage, it was a mirage that necessarily grew up to mask the psychological, economic, and material oppression of an other 384 He goes on to state that he sees a special connection between this position and the genre of science fiction While I do not believe that science fiction has any sort of monopoly on this attitude among literary genres types styles, Delany s Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand certainly goes a long way toward creating a science fiction that is most definitely science fiction it includes many traditional tropes of sf and also stylistically and ideologically experimental as well as politically progressive. So I don t think I d go as far as The New York Times Book Review does in praising this book According to the blurb on the back of my edition, it invites the reader to collaborate in the process of creation, in a way that few novels do Umm yeah Sure Someone has been critiquing literature a little too long But the blurb is right about one thing Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand is both extraordinary and transcendent.Samuel R Delany is an interesting author for someone like me to try reading So much of his writing is grounded in the cultural revolutions of the twentieth century, from the civil liberties movement to the sexual revolution to demarchist and anarchist alternatives to the democratic communist stalemate of the Cold War Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand is only thirty years old, but in some ways it feels like it s from an era much further away in time My experience is so different from Delany s, as a result of where and when I grew up not to mention the colour of my skin Sometimes it s not a matter of books not aging well so much as the semiotics of a book changing as the context in which it s read changes I wonder if this is an aspect of reader response theory But oh, look at me getting all literary critic now.Basically, if you have read Delany before, you will recognize him here very little exposition, and what exposition there is exists entirely within the context of the story That is to say, the narrator Marq Dyeth talks to you as if you are a fellow traveller in this universe and not a human from Old Old Old Earth or whatever cast adrift in this strange far future As with Triton An Ambiguous Heterotopia in the review of which I see I also mention reader response theory, so hey, at least I m consistent , Delany creates a society so different from our own that it s nearly unrecognizable Simple nouns like hunting , dinner , room , and family seem to mean the same thing but don t Marq inhabits a universe where it is necessary to acknowledge that one cannot possibly know all there is to know about one s own world, let alone the entire span of human civilizations across the galaxy It is a staggering, humbling concept.The way in which Delany uses language to establish difference and a sense of the Other is, as always, paramount Ann Leckie s Ancillary Justice rightly raked in the praise and recognition last year One attribute consistently remarked upon is the way in which Leckie chooses to use feminine pronouns, she and her, to refer to all people regardless of their actual sex gender While I m not trying to belittle Leckie s approach to presenting gender, it s important to note that Delany did it thirty years before her Perhaps the most significant language difference in this book is that all humans and other sentients, like evelm are women, even if they are male or neuter Masculine pronouns only exist either as archaic references or to be used when referring to an object of sexual desire Is there a serious point here Sure Is Delany doing this to fuck with our heads Yes, definitely Every time you read the word her you automatically conceptualize the person as being female, except that a few sentences later, Delany might toss in a bit of physical description indicating the person is actually male Oops The shift in pronouns is an important part of the larger change Delany demonstrates, a society in which gender still exists but is largely insignificant People exhibit whatever sexuality makes them comfortable people reproduce through a variety of ways old fashioned , cloning, whatever works Marq spends entire chapters walking around and doing stuff completely nude There s a lot of difference here, and the closely you pay attention and read how Delany actually describes things like the use of a subscript 1 and 2 to denote different connotations for words like job and work the difference you will perceive.Delany exemplifies science fiction s powers of possibility A great deal of science fiction imagines a world much like ours with just a small difference And that s fine for the stories that those authors want to tell But science fiction can be such a powerful tool in the hands of a grandmaster like Delany Who cares how we could get from our current society to the one he depicts here That s not his problem to solve What he s concerned with is exploring how that society would function and how it affects Marq Dyeth and Rat Korga He dares to dream different, and the result is a story that takes place on a vast interstellar canvas.Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand is primarily a story about attraction and desire Marq and Korga are supposed to be each other s perfect erotic objects Delany is careful to differentiate between sexual desire and love here So most of the story is about establishing how Marq and Korga come from such different places, which then gives us a context for understanding their strange meeting on Marq s homeworld This takes up relatively little of the novel compared to what came before, but it s all about Delany preparing us for the meeting It has been a while since I ve read a novel so relentlessly character driven Daniel Deronda comes close, but even that, I think, was linked to a plot than this one.Still, there is an ongoing story arc that affects the wider universe The mysterious Xlv appear to be responsible for destroying Korga s home planet The Web knows than it s saying And why have the Thants really changed allegiance from the Sygn to the Family I guess I ll have to read the sequel to find out. Delany s prose takes some getting used to and I have even read reviews of his work that sang to the tune of, Does he have to be so high and mighty in his verbiage The answer is, yes He does Someone has to Get off your lackadaisical bum, you shoddy reader you, and expect something from yourself and the writer Stop kowtowing to the school of thought that indicates, a simple word instead of an esoteric one What the hell are all the rest of the words in the dictionary for Why have complex syntaxes and tenses and grammatical moods if we restrain ourselves to pedestrian fair Looking for an easy Sunday afternoon read Look elsewhere Looking to make some new neuron connections in your brain The destination is before you. if william gibson invented the term cyberspace in Neuromancer , 1984 , then samuel delany in Stars In My Pocket , same year is responsible for synthesizing the actual conceptual framework of the internet, and some of the consequences that might arise from an informationally saturated society gibson s book is like an impressionist painting, a piece of graphic design, an anime short it s a style injection, with both ephemeral and lasting effects Stars In My Pocket is not like that at all it is a real novel, with real analytical and poetic insights in practically every sentence delany is concerned with the limits of difference and commonality in complex societies in the educational, sexual, racial, and economic domains this book is a really profound mediation on how drastically sophisticated information technology might impact those dynamics, casting bigger and stronger nets between those who share access to the same data, and driving deeper and darker fissures between the haves and the have nots it s a level of thought about our 2010 society from 25 years ago that i don t believe has been acheived since of course it s about lot of other things too perception, freedom, and love maybe my favorite piece of science fiction. I am a fairly experienced reader, but I had difficulty reading this book I found the use of names confusing If ever I have truly needed a name glossary, it is with this book I kept getting confused about whether a name referred to a person, a place, a planet or a star I was uncertain about who was human, who not and the continual shift of pronouns made this even difficult In a sense this relates to cultural confusion in our real world In another sense this book needs to be read when one is able to concentrate and focus I was not Much has been written here about this novel on this page, much that perhaps I will comment on after future readings The book is about many things, but a couple have invaded my quasi consciouness The simplest of these concerns Delany s concept of the Web which was brilliantly prophetic at the time this was written relative to today s WWW Though we still are tethered to external devices, we can quickly find information we desire, still have to digest it ourselves, but find the information is controlled by another web of anonymous personages, powers and machines while maintaining the appearance of being free and open And, all our activities on the Web are archived forever for those same entities to monitor Delany s Web spans 6000 worlds and tens of thousands light years, but his ideas have much relevance to our current, if provincial Earthside WWW.The other is difficult to put into words, but I think it has to do with the nature of reality, communication and our own essential aloneness How can you know me How can I know you All we know about each other is illusory and incomplete as is information and the science of information or the information of science, as is how we understand our culture and alien cultures It is likely as difficult to understand each other as it would be meeting an alien being from another star system who has entirely different ways of sensing the external world As it stands we can never grok another being But Delany provides a clue how we might do view spoiler Dragon Hunting hide spoiler Once upon a time around 1986 or 1987 , I had an opportunity to meet Samuel R Delany at an ALA or ABA now BookExpo Taking advantage of my position as a buyer for a large book distributor, I monopolized some of his time in the Bantam booth while he waited to do a signing something that is surely tedious for many authors, some of whom will seek diversion with anyone willing to talk with him or her In our brief discussion, I remember him most for being surprised at his students reluctance to spend 80.00 for a two volume edition of some work by Lacan Not wanting to appear unknowledgeable who the hell was this Lacan fellow , I merely shook my head to acknowledge his frustration at the short sightedness of some students who didn t recognize the value of such a purchase how quickly we forget the outrageous prices of some collegiate texts Why does that matter It doesn t What does matter, at least to me, is that Lacan has come to be one of the many languages I don t speak but will occasionally recognize when I hear it Delany speaks Lacan Not just Lacan, he also is fluent in Marx, and Freud, and Jameson, and all the other languages that make his texts so dense, and wondrous, and intimidating He s also fluent in pornography, which admittedly, had something to do with my initial interest. By the time I d read SiMPLGoS 1985 , Dhalgren was already atop my Favorite List other Delanys had been dutifully accomplished or would be the Nevery n series, The Tides of Lust, Hogg A Novel and The Mad Man, et al And so after my Delany period, I reapproached him with reluctance my taste in reading has changed, and I wondered if his initial appeal would endure I ve restarted Dhalgren numerous times only to decide Not yet.When one of my groups decided to read this one, I thought I was ready It begins with the story of Rat the narrator s big O other or little o other I m not fluent in Lacan, but dammit, it s one of them before moving on to the narrator s seemingly endless account of his world, other worlds, terrains, suns and moons, planets and space travel To be honest, I thought the middle section would go on forever it was slow, I was slow, and then finally, the narrator encounters Rat now Rat Korga The pace quickens towards an inevitable end Inevitable but necessary Necessary and sad Themes of loss, memory, desire that damn Lacan , overwhelm the Real The sublime yields to desire Desire falls victim to Authority to loss and memory.Someone once pointed out to me that there are two kinds of memory I don t mean short and long term, either recognition memory and reconstruction memory The second is what artiststs train and most of us live off the first though even if we re not artists we have enough of the second to get us through the normal run of imaginings Well, your perfect erotic object remains only in recognition memory, and his absolute absence from reconstructive memory becomes the yearning that is, finally, desire I m glad I reread this one, although I retain the five star rating primarily because of the way the novel impressed me the first time I read it Something that does strike me about it especially when compared to other Delanys there s actually very little sex in this one, precious little should that be what you re looking for This was a favorite read of mine back in my twenties I used it as proof that SF wasn t a literary wasteland, that innovative stuff was being done in the field and there were voices that the most exacting style snob couldn t scruple to include in hifalutin conversations.Boy, was I wrong.It s turgid, it s obfuscatory, and it s mutton dressed up as lamb Cut through the galaxy s glitter slice away all night What thoughts did I dole out to that world out of the six thousand, which, according to a rumor that had crept worlds and worlds away, corroborrated only by a certain certified psychotic, may have been destroyed by the XIv Certainly I thought about it.Yet after a week, after a handful of weeks, now at home, now away, somehow the rational part of my mind had accorded it much the weight one gives to the most insubstantial notion What the Six thousand worlds, or one, destroyed and the thought is insubstantial I am reminded of the moment I stopped reading Susan Cheever s work, when she described a moment in a character s life as soft as loss Loss, soft Funny, that isn t how I ve experienced it And this farrago, what is the insubstantial notion that the author gives to the possible destruction of a large number of planets Too big to understand, too hard to grasp entirely, what But insubstantial That s the beginning of chapter four It s one example of a repeating problem that I see at fifty that I didn t at twenty five write lots of words, no one will notice that you re not saying much.I haven t re read Dhalgren, Delany s claim to fame book, and now I don t think I will This re read wasn t a success at all It s a book I think is second rate, about ideas I think are unoriginal and pretty uninteresting And that makes me sad.