- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (June 11, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780375706707
- ISBN-13: 978-0375706707
- ASIN: 0375706704
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 58 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #379,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Nova Paperback – June 11, 2002
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“[Nova] reads like Moby-Dick at a strobe-light show!” —Roger Sale, Time Magazine
“Here are (at least some of) the ways you can read Nova: As fast-action far-flung interstellar adventure; as archetypal mystical/mythical allegory (in which the Tarot and the Grail both figure prominently); as modern myth told in the SF idiom . . . The reader observes, recollect, or participates in a range of personal human experience including violent pain and disfigurement, sensory deprivation and overload, man-machine communion, the drug experience, the creative experience—and interpersonal relationships which include incest and assassination, father-son, leader-follower, human-pet, and lots more.” —Judith Merrill, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
“Samuel R. Delany is the most interesting author of science fiction writing in English today.” —Gerald Jonas, New York Times Book Review
“Samuel R. Delany, right now, as of this book, Nova, not as of some future book or some accumulated body of work, is the best science-fiction writer in the world, at a time when competition for that status is intense. I don’t see how a science fiction writer can do more than wring your heart while explaining how it works. No writer can. The special thing that science fiction does is to first credibly place the heart in an unconventional environment. A particular thing that recent science fiction has been doing is to make that unconventional environment a technological one. Another has been to make it a romantic one, sometimes calling it an intensely humanistic one . . . All of these things are accomplished in Nova.” —A.J. Budrys, Galaxy Magazine
“One of the most complete and fully realized pictures of an interstellar society that I have ever read.” —Norman Spinrad, Science Fiction Times
From the Inside Flap
he suns of Draco stretch almost sixteen light years from end to end, it stands to reason that the cost of transportation is the most important factor of the 32nd century. And since Illyrion is the element most needed for space travel, Lorq von Ray is plenty willing to fly through the core of a recently imploded sun in order to obtain seven tons of it. The potential for profit is so great that Lorq has little difficulty cobbling together an alluring crew that includes a gypsy musician and a moon-obsessed scholar interested in the ancient art of writing a novel. What the crew doesnt know, though, is that Lorqs quest is actually fueled by a private revenge so consuming that hell stop at nothing to achieve it. In the grandest manner of speculative fiction, Nova is a wise and witty classic that casts a fascinating new light on some of humanitys oldest truths and enduring myths.
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Algis Budrys was moved to describe Delany as ‘the best science fiction writer in the world’. It is hardly too extravagant to say that he burst upon the American sf scene like an exploding star. In effect, Delany was the American New Wave. Readers may not have foreseen it at the time, but Nova proved to be his summation....
One has to return to Nova to appreciate the young Delany at his peak— all flash and filigree, a master of movement and excitement.... The book communicates the feeling that the future will be different, in a million-and-one ways that we can scarcely comprehend at present. Incidental action spills off the page in profusion... It encompasses dirt, smell and chaos, but when seen through the eyes of the magic kid it offers wonder and delight, quickening the imagination to a fever....>>
(Pringle: Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels)
Delany employs many typical sci-fi elements including interstellar travel and supernovas as well as little touches such as a musical instrument that plays sights and smells as well as sounds in addition to designer recreational drugs. Embedded within the sci-fi story is a tale of childhood friendship that goes awry due to social and philosophical differences that leads one man to a noble cause and another to a monomaniacal obsession with preservation of a way of life that is slowly becoming unsustainable. Interestingly, Delany employs a fledgling author to offer commentary throughout and provide historical underpinnings to the current state of affairs.
Other's here have reviewed the storyline so I won't repeat - just remember this book was written over 40 years ago (but still holds out well against almost all more modern works).
Unfortunately, the kindle transfer is very poor - I assume its an OCR transfer that has obviously not been proof-read. Numerous words are incorrect and punctuation errors appear on most pages. This really impacts the flow of the text and seriously reduces the overall readability of the work. Its a real shame and needs to be fixed - existing fans, as well as a new generation of readers, deserve better.
Unfortunately, the transfer to the Kindle has not been done with care. After only a couple of pages, I found that the first occurrence of "Illyrion" had been replaced with "Ulyrion". This is unfortunate, given the importance of this fictional element to the story. A search showed that the same mistake has been made thirteen times in the Kindle version. OCR may be a great technology, but it still can't beat proofreading by humans.
So I'd suggest that new readers of this book find a dead-tree version, because the mistakes in the Kindle version are going to be quite confusing.
Note that I am still giving this book five stars, because of its inherent quality. It's not fair to downgrade a book just because of typos in production.
It is beautifully written and suitable for anyone reading at a college level. As an adventure story, it kept me engrossed when I was 12, and I have kept going back to it in the decades since. As my worldview has grown, so has the scope of the novel, and it never disappoints.