Happy 80th birthday, Samuel R. Delany! Celebrate by listening to our 2019 podcast conversation with the literary giant (and Big Other contributor)! Also celebrate by reading a compendium of quotes from Delany’s writing we published in celebration of his 78th birthday.
This episode features Samuel R. Delany reading “A Night in the Lonesome October,” an as-yet unpublished short fiction. We talk about this and about some of Delany’s recently published books: Voyage, Orestes, The Atheist in the Attic, and Letters from Amherst.
Some other topics/people discussed: writing, technology, cities, Roger Zelazny, Joanna Russ, Thomas Disch, Henry James, Gustave Flaubert, Sentimental Education, Alan Moore, From Hell, Karl Marx, André Gide, graphic novels, Nalo Hopkinson, Ursula K. Le Guin, Dhalgren, William Gaddis, The Recognitions, The Fall of the Towers, Amazon, Jean Vigo, The Jewels of Aptor, and more besides.
“A novelist and critic who taught literature and creative writing at the University of Massachusetts and Temple University, Samuel R. Delany had won four Nebula Awards and a Hugo Award by the time he was 27. He was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2002, by which time he’d also been chosen by the Lambda Literary Report as one of the 50 people who had done the most to change our view of gayness in the last half-century. In 2013, he was named the 31st Damon Knight Memorial Foundation Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
Samuel R. Delany’s science fiction and fantasy tales are available in Aye and Gomorrah and Other Stories. His collection Atlantis: Three Tales and Phallos are experimental fiction. His novels include science fiction such as the Nebula-Award winning Babel-17 and The Einstein Intersection, as well as Nova and Dhalgren. His four-volume series Return to Nevèrÿon is sword-and-sorcery. Most recently, he has written the SF novel Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders. His 2007 novel Dark Reflections won the Stonewall Book Award. Other novels include Equinox, Hogg, and The Mad Man. Delany was the subject of a 2007 documentary, The Polymath, by Fred Barney Taylor, and he has written a popular creative writing textbook, About Writing. He is the author of the widely taught Times Square Red / Times Square Blue, and his book-length autobiographical essay, The Motion of Light in Water, won a Hugo Award in 1989. All are available as both e-books and in paperback. Delany is the author of several collections of critical essays. His interview in the Paris Review’s ‘Art of Fiction’ series appeared in spring 2012. In 2015 he was the recipient of the Nicolas Guillén Award for philosophical fiction. His novella The Atheist in the Attic appeared in February 2018. Professor Delany retired from teaching at the end of 2015. He lives in Philadelphia with his partner, Dennis Rickett.”
John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.