Lazy Self-Indulgent Book Reviews

Oct 28, 2010

Nova, Samuel Delany

My father lobbied really hard, almost certainly while high, for my mom to consent to naming me “Nova.”   Because of this book.  She actually liked “Esmeralda,” so I’m glad they met somewhere in the middle.  William Gibson was obsessed with it too, and you’ll see a lot of “Nova” in "Neuromancer."

Not only is “Nova” incredible and cyberpunk-y (and written when he was just 25), Samuel “Chip” Delany is dyslexic, gay, black, has a huge Gandalf beard, and is totally rad.  “Nova” is my personal favourite, but he has written a crapload of others, including “The Motion of Light in Water: Sex and Science Fiction Writing in the East Village,” which will set your hair on fire.  Delany, like Frank O’Hara, is one of the few “mainstream-ish” writers to speak openly about how, when you’re a gay teen, hooking up with some strange guy in a porno theater (consensually) can be an amazing, life-enriching experience, and we shouldn’t try to get all needlessly wigged out about it.

He gets into that more in "Times Square Red, Times Square Blue," but I’m not particularly on board with the more general “gosh, what a wonderful time was had by all” nostalgia for the old Times Square. 

Not that I’m defending the Olive Garden.