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Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand Paperback – Deluxe Edition, December 15, 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Sentence by sentence, phrase by phrase, Delany invites the reader to collaborate in the process of creation. The reader who accepts this invitation has an extraordinarily satisfying experience in store."—Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review


“Stars in My Pocket has been one of my favorite books and, in particular, the book that, more decisively than any other, has defined for me just what science fiction is capable of and why it is worth bothering about.”—Carl Freedman, The Foreword


“A densely textured, intricately worked out novelistic structure which delights and astonishes even as it forces a confrontation with a wide range of thought-provoking issues. Stars in My Pocket like Grains of Sand . . . confirms that [Delany] is American SF’s most consistently brilliant and inventive writer.”—Steve McCaffery, Fantasy Review

Review

“If H. G. Wells was the Shakespeare of science fiction, Samuel R. Delany is its James Joyce. Marginalized by both fate and choice, he has inscribed those margins on the consciousness of readers of science fiction, fantasy, and literary theory.” (David N. Samuelson, Professor of English, California State University, Longbeach)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Wesleyan; 20th edition (December 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819567140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819567147
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought about the question for about one year, and I've come to the conclusion that "Stars" is my favorite book of all time. It has tremendous appeal as science fiction, escapism, political and gender theory, satire of modern-day cultural conflicts, and traditional character-driven fiction; and it is a 'novel' in the strict sense. So people looking for any of those things won't be disappointed.
But what I frequently hear from people whom I've persuaded to read this book is that it, somehow, caused them to open their perceptions; to feel that there were more ways of thinking, of feeling, of living than they had previously known. This is Delany's specialty; he did it first in "Dhalgren" but he does it best here, and in this respect no other author can match him. And this is a great talent and a great gift and why Delany will still be read when William Gibson has disappeared down the road that swallowed up Murray Leinster (two of my favorite SF authors, by the bye, and no offense intended.)
Naturally, when something is this good it immediately goes out-of-print. I'd recommend letting Amazon find you a copy - they found me a perfect mint condition first-edition hardcover for $31. I can't recall when I've been so happy about anything.
Oh, and the sequel. Science fiction fans around the world are awaiting it with some annoyance - he did publish the first chapter in 1997 in some academic journal (memory tells me the Journal of Contemporary Fiction, but memory could be way wrong), but it more frustrated and delimited than satiated that desire for closure to the story of Marq Dyeth, Rat Korga, Velm, Nepiy, the Thants, the Xlv, and the mysterious and sinister Web that snares them all. It's anybody's guess if he'll ever finish it, but I certainly hope he does!
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Format: Paperback
I's like to start off by saying that I enjoy much of Delany's work, books like Nova, Dhalgren and others are among some of my favorite science fiction.

After seeing the number of highly positive reviews on this page I was excited to begin "Stars in My Pocket". But upon finishing the book I was very disappointed on every level.

The pace of the book was very, very slow with lots of very well written but ultimately uninteresting text.

The idea that your perfect erotic object is somehow magically your perfect love is just not how love/eroticism typically works. We all know a friend who is irresistibly attracted to someone who drives them crazy.

The re-re-use of the nail biting, large knuckled, veiny handed young male of dubious hygiene finally got tiresome for me.

After reading the nearly incomprehensible afterword by Delany I fear that this book was an experiment designed to please English graduates not regular science fiction readers.

If you are interested in Delany start with his short stories and go from there. He is an amazingly talented writer who went off course with this book.

Cheers.
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Format: Paperback
I wrestled with this novel more than usual. It is vividly written, a genuinely beautiful style that evokes a brilliantly conceived future world without completely explaining what is going on. If this is something you enjoy unravelling - even re-reading - this is a true masterpiece of scifi that can stand on its own as a fine novel. It is of the same caliber as Octavia Butler or Frank Herbert, in my view.

This novel plays with the reader in a number of unusual ways. First, there is the race of the protagonists: it makes a difference in the plot and meaning depending on how you picture it in your mind's eye. Second, there are so many basic plot/theme inferences that there are many different ways to connect the dots. While confusing, it is also a challenge. Third, there are many seemingly unrelated incidents, which may indeed form a whole if you can recognise the overall pattern of the tapestry. It is deliciously mysterious and fearfully evocative.

Spoiler warning. My reading of it is that there is a crisis, with the strangely destructive and apparently unknowable aliens. Into this, a learning disabled man miraculously survives a completely destroyed planet and with the help of technology assumes the charisma of an enlightened despot, which establishes a cult following of a frightened populace. But what is so amazing about this is the detail of the world as imagined, from the turtle-like nature species to the bizarre practices of an elite family (they taste rocks while hunting).

Warmly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Imagine you are another species from another planet and one of your authors imagines a place like Earth, inhabited by unusual beings called Humans and the author writes about it. The first thing he does is put several unknown characters into a baseball game (now remember, you have no idea what baseball is like), describing the baseball game for 75 pages from the point of view of the characters. Then the characters meet up in the food court and there is another 75 pages used to describe the experience. Next the characters go to a strip club (now remember, you have no idea about human sexuality); 75 more pages. Somewhere along the way, you wind up in a Church and the conflict between Christians and Muslims is a topic; 75 more pages. Characters go to a hospital, they go on a deer hunt, they eat some cheese burgers at McDonald's, they go to a dinner party, they check out the internet; on and on and on and on. Delany has a wonderful imagination, but this is hardly a novel, it is more like a fictionalized anthropological description. I wish I had the hours back that I put into this book. The title of the book should have been, "A Month in the Life of an Fictional Alien. If you would enjoy this, have at it, but it's not for me.
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