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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
Aye, and Gomorrah: And Other Stories
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on September 27, 2012
Delany's language is poetic and stimulating but refreshingly succinct. I've never read words like these. These stories explore human issues - things like displacement, alienation, madness, shifting moral structures, sexual perversion and death - while thoroughly developing characters and spinning realistic and entertaining plots. Certainly for the more advanced reader. When I consider sharing a book with someone, this is the first that comes to mind.
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on December 10, 2014
Astounding stories. His language and tone varies from story to story but is always fluid and original and striking and moving. Some of the stories (that to Zelazny) are a bit dated (1966 or thereabouts) but the intent and drive behind each is timeless.
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on November 9, 2013
Hard to believe the brilliance of this novelist. His writing affected me during my youth, challenged me in my adulthood. This is the most wonderful collection of his short stories, containing pretty much all the really great ones.
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on August 9, 2009
An avid science fiction buff, I fell in love with Delany's short stories many years ago. He is an incredibly cerebral and visceral writer both, with challenging prose of haunting beauty. He upsets notions of social norms in a way that was revelatory to me as a teenager, and continues to underpin my beliefs of what is natural and possible in human beings and their relations. He is also one of the few writers of science fiction (though his work extends well beyond the genre) that counts as true literature in the high-falutin' sense of the word. I can't recommend this book - and any of his other works - highly enough.
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on August 16, 2015
This volume includes most of Samuel R. Delaney's early stories, some of which won every award a stunned public could shower on him. The title story is amazing, but "Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones" and "Star Pit" are just plain damn immortal. If Delany had never written another word after these stories, he would still deserve a place in the pantheon that includes Ray Bradbury, Charles De Lint, and Ursula Le Guin. His command of language is unequalled, and every story gives us human, believable characters in settings that shine with originality. I can never recommend this collection enough.
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on June 5, 2011
Here is a collection of very striking short stories, all of which fall under the genres of science fiction and fantasy, and most of which were released in a much older collection entitled "Driftglass".

Delany offers gritty, believable visions of both near and distant futures. While many tales of science fiction opt for strange and fantastical characters, Delany's worlds are populated by characters who, whether they be interstellar pilots or telepaths, are nevertheless distinctly human. He seems to assert that no matter where humanity ends up in the vast gulfs of space and time, we will still live, love, and find the time for a beer or two at the end of the day. So there is little room for jumpsuit-clad adventurers or dreamy space aliens in Delany's work, only mankind up against the reality of an infinitely strange universe, and this is but a single quality of his writing that sets his work apart from so many others of the time period. His prose is fluid and passionate, his concepts stunning, his creativity seemingly boundless. He works with, flirts with, and ultimately transcends, the aforementioned genres.

Among my personal favorites are "The Star Pit", "Time Considered as...", and "We in Some Strange Power's Employ", but just about every story in this collection hits it out of the park. Also, they are considerably more approachable than Delany's novels, which I've found to be a mixed, and frequently very challenging, bag.

Give this master the attention he deserves and track the book down. You won't regret it.
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on January 25, 2004
Delany has always been one of SF most thoughtful writers and one of the least likely to simply settle for the genre's conventions. He's an author who deserves to be considered with some of the finest literary minds working today, with the only difference being that he chooses to work within the confines of
SF or fantasy, somehow always tweaking it until it becomes distinctly his, while remaining recognizable as SF. This is a collection of his short stories and contains most of the major ones as far as I know, certainly both Nebula award winning stories and other stuff, most of it published in the sixties and seventies. The titles alone should tell you that this isn't your typical series of SF stories, containing such evocative titles as "Driftglass" or "Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones" or my personal favorite, "We, in Some Strange Power's Employ, Move in a Rigorous Line". The stories run the gamut from well told SF tales to more experimental stuff. The best stories are the more famous ones, both "Driftglass" (about a future society where people are given gills to adapt to living under the sea) and "Time Considered . . ." (a future gangster type story) are stunningly evocative of their fictional future times, set apart by the depth of Delany's ideas and his stunning prose, his descriptions more often than not achieve a sort of magical realism and sometimes come closer to the more lyrical nature of poetry than anything else. Generally most of the stories hit their targets in a bulleyes, you have the occassional tale (like the one with "Blob" in the title) that are just a bit too much on the experimental side to have much of an impact. And yet there are others such as "Dog in a Fisherman's Net" that are basically timeless and work as pure story and take you to a place that may or may not have ever existed. Even the stories such as "The Star Pit" that seem to be just pure SF at first eventually reveal themselves to be about something more. Delany is not just interested in talking about spaceships and time travel and he merely uses SF or fantasy as a background to explore aspects of human nature that the tales lend themselves to. Just about anything the man has ever written is worth reading and I think his novels are the best place to discover and fully explore his talents, this collection is a great way to get acquainted with some of his best work (and a few of these stories do rank up with his best) and enjoy SF/fantasy with a more thoughtful bent than usual, something more than just swords and spaceships and aliens and evil gods. The writers of today aren't restricted to the cliches of their genres, even if they choose to stay within those confines. Delany shows us what it's like to have no restrictions at all.
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"Aye, and Gomorrah and Other Stories," by Samuel R. Delany, brings together 15 tales along with an afterword by the author. The copyright page gives the publication histories of the pieces in this book. The stories in this volume vary greatly in length: 2 fall into the 60-70 page range (and could, I suppose, be considered novellas), 2 fall into the less than 10 page range, and the rest are of various lengths in between; this nicely adds to the overall variety of the collection.
Most of the pieces in this book fall firmly in the science fiction genre, although I consider a couple to be fantasy. Delany's locales range from cities on Earth (Venice, New York) to worlds beyond our solar system.
Delany's stories are both triumphs of science fiction inventiveness and exquisite works of literary art--as well as being compassionate yet unflinching explorations of the human condition. His vision is richly ironic, and often tragic. His prose can be hauntingly beautiful to read--he is a particular master of visual description.
Delany's explorations of emergent subcultures and institutions in many of these tales give the book an intriguing sociological aspect. His topics include crime, punishment, sexuality, loss, suffering, culture clash, space travel, and the fabric of consciousness and reality.
The remarkable title story is a look at the emergence of a new sexual orientation and its related subculture in the context of expanding technology. "Driftglass" looks at a class of physiologically altered humans. "Omegahelm" is a shocking, fascinating story about motherhood and art. These are just a few examples of Delany's fertile mind. I consider Delany to be a unique and essential voice in the science fiction canon; this collection of his short fiction is a volume to be savored and shared.
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on June 9, 2003
Delany is an science fiction author I've long wanted to read, though an early acquaintance with Dhalgren was not particularly inviting. At the suggestion of Amazon reviewer Hyperpat, I decided to try some other Delany work. And this collection of short stories is a terrific place to start. These works are high flights of imagination, but at the heart of them are characters that are beautifully drawn and complex. These stories are about people who happen to live in the future, rather than being about the future.
These fourteen stories are jewels of prosody. Delany is a true writer, not just a genre writer. The Star Pit deals with a father who has lost his son in a war and comes to terms with it by transferring affections to odd young people with psychic powers. Driftglass is the story of a failed underwater power worker and his struggle as he watches a young power worker relive his mistakes. The twist is that these people are all fitted with gills to do their work. We in Some Strange Power's Employ tracks the tale of workers for an international power conglomerate who must force modern power on a group of free anarchists. Each of these wonderful stories use the technological aspect of science fiction, not as an end in itself, nor as color, but as a central symbol for the psychological states of the characters. The large "ecologarium" (a sort of technologically advanced ant farm) in the Star Pit ends up as a symbol for the impossibility of humans to leave their own galaxy. The horrible prison of Cage of Brass mirrors the darkness of the main character's murderous psychosis.
Delany's grasp of prose is a miracle. The surreal shifts of perspective in Among the Blobs is masterly, as the narrative moves from the seedy toilets of the IRT to some universal Governmental system on a far away planet, the perspective shifts dizzily and yet it is always clear. The haunting Martian fantasy Ruins also manages to show us a character loosing his grasp on reality, without descending into the incomprehensible. And the word painting in so many of these stories is exquisite. Delany is a joy to read.
This collection of stories works both as an introduction to the writer, but also are enjoyable to those who know the writer. And if you are not a fan of science fiction, they are still highly recommended. For these stories transcend genre and touch universal human themes.
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on February 16, 2015
although the stories are captivating, I would not enjoy reading the stories a second time. It just falls short of intelligent writing and is usually borderline pointless. Most of the stories sound like children stories assigned to kids in a technological institution. Let your kid read it! As an adult, there are better things to read. I do like the style of writing. Very unconventional.
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