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From: Spectacled Bear <spectacled.bear@pobox.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) Scattered Shots
Date: Fri, 03 Aug 2001 12:25:16 +0100

At 18:13 2001-08-02, Dan'l Danehy-Oakes wrote:
(of Samuel Delany)
>I highly recommend its predecessor, _Stars in my Pocket like Grains of Sand_,
>and indeed most of his work. I find his "pornotopic" novels quite difficult 
>to take, and some of his early work doesn't stand up quite as well as it
>might. But he's never written a _bad_ book. 
>Other good starting points would include _Empire Star_ (quite short, and
>the only Delany novel that qualifies as just plain fun); _Dhalgren_ (but
>with the caveat that it's extraordinarily difficult, in a very different way
>from Wolfe); and _Nova_ (which Algis Budrys once described as a "perfect" 
>book, meaning it in a rather double-edged way -- perfection can become
>sterile: but which I wish someone with Lucas' resources would film well).

_Nova_ is one of my favourite books of all time. Filming it well would
be a challenge: firstly, because if you leave the cinema with all your
senses fully functioning, the film probably hasn't done the book justice;
and secondly, because of the extraordinary literary special effect used
for the nova. I don't know if this counts as a spoiler or not, but most
of us have surely had a chance to read the book by now...


The book left me with a tremendous impression of heat and light and noise.
One day I happened to pick it up, and went to read the fabulous description
of the nova. I was quite startled to find that.....

.... it isn't there. There isn't one. They go in and come out again with
hardly a word of description. Instead of a futile attempt to convey the
sensation of going through an exploding star with a few paragraphs of
concentrated Doc Smith-ian hyperbole, there is a gradual build-up of
lesser events that are more amenable to description. Scenes like the one
in Gold leave an cumulative impression that in the end exceeds anything
that a direct description could do.

Spectacled Bear

-- waiting for Ashton Clark

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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