Triton author Samuel R. Delany review ↠ eBook or Kindle ePUB

read Triton author Samuel R. Delany

L expectations at a level that years after it was written still make it a coruscating portrait of the happily reasonable man Bron Helstrom an immigrant to the embattled world of Triton whose troubles become and complex till there is nothing left for him to do but become a woma. In some ways Triton is as much about science fiction as it is about social and political modelsThe infodump or exposition is a vital part of the SF genre it helps ground us in the imagined world of the story at hand and to contextualise those uniuely science fictional sentences Delany is so fond of formations like Heinlein s the door dilated or a statement like her world exploded which could have a much literal meaning in a science fiction novel than in a mundane novelInfodumps give us the necessary context to understand things that do not gel with our everyday experience they help understand social political cultural and technological elements of a story s background that are taken for granted when reading a book about our own times and our own peopleBut an infodump is not necessarily informative in the strict sense there are endless examples of SF infodumps that offer an explanation for things that we know cannot be explained because they have not happened further the explanation probably does not have much practical value because except in very rare cases no one has gone and done those things in the manner suggested therein although the device or techniue described may since have been developed in some different way Instead it is a sort of gesture a string of words with enough familiar terms to reassure the average SF reader defined by Delany as having the euivalent of a bright 13 year old s knowledge of science that this is proper science mixed in with enough plausible sounding esoterica to convince that reader that something fairly authoritative has been saidOne of the first proper infodumps in this book happens when an attack has just been made on Triton and a government official is trying to tell his companions in a men s cooperative housing building that the brief gravity failure that took place is nothing to worry about He gives an explanation that starts by referring to things that seem to relate to real science and rapidly becomes esoteric Them he is asked to tone it down so that a mentally deficient person present can understand He gives a simpler explanation that his person can understand and even this version makes no sense on our terms if looked at closely Just as the government agent does not really know uite what has happened but is asserting his authority by seeming knowledgeable Delany is giving his made up explanation authority by showing how even a mentally deficient member of his future society can understand what flied over our own head This is a very clever device and a way to both demonstrate and practice one of the chief uses of the SF infodumpBut there are many other infodumps in this book Some relate to a made up discipline of metalogics something which again has no relation to any real system of logic we might be able to conceive of some are in the form of descriptions of dramatic pieces couched in the jargon of academic cultural studies some relate to genetics and medicine Others are personalAll the infodumps that relate to disciplines of this future world start in terms that seem to make sense then move into or less incomprehensible realms for a very long time most of the mental context of these people is way way ahead of our own Delany seems to be implyingAnd then there are the personal infodumps These are much comprehensible even as they tell us things about society and politics on the different planets and sattelites of the solar system that are uite fantastic by today s standards But on the human level once we adjust a little they are perfectly comprehensibleExcept that the main character of this novel Bron Hellstrom seems to see very different things in these personal revelations than we do We begin by trying to empathise with what seems to be the main character and hence hero of this story And yet we slowly find that the people he resents are among the most integral self actualised and compassionate individuals he encounters and the society he hates is a sort of libertarian utopia that in many ways seems to superior to any current earth society This brings us to the commonly discussed aspects of this novel how it belongs to a dialogue on ambiguous utopias with novels like Ursula K Le Guin s The Disposessed how different societies offer different kinds of liberties and privileges how much of this is governed by factors like resources and space and may not be possible or even desirable in other circumstances and what means are justifiable to preserve a desirable way of life There s also a commentary on gender relations and roles that is worth investigatingJust as interestingly Triton is a fascinating study of a completely dysfunctional individual but one that is told almost entirely via a closely focused third person narrative that gives us this individual s thoughts and perspectives rather than anyone else s It s easy to fall into subjectivity here like the people who are seduced by the prose in Lolita and forget that the narrator is a deeply sick sexual predator Delany s achievement is that Bron s anomie is made clear to us despite immersion in his viewpointI haven t even begun to scratch the surface of what there is to enjoy and think about in this novel there is a passage in one of the appendices where Delany offers a comparison of the difficulty of understanding SF versus its potential range of expression as compared to mundane fiction that evokes similar dichotomies between tonal and atonal music representational and abstract art This alone is a point that deserves being engaged with in detail that odd second appendix opens up even ideas The whole narrative is a mine field seeded with explosive ideas and concepts This is a science fiction novel that does it all engages in a dialogue with its genre offers deep thought provoking world building and gives us total character immersion It isn t so much that they don t write them like this any as that they hardly ever did

review Å eBook or Kindle ePUB Õ Samuel R. Delany

Triton author Samuel R. Delany

N Against a background of high adventure this minuet of a novel dances from the farthest limits of the solar system to Earth's own Outer Mongolia Alternately funny and moving it is a wide ranging tale in which character after character turns out not to be what he or she seems.. This review and others can be read on my blog Black Forest Basilisks Triton also published under Trouble on Triton An Ambiguous Heterotopia by Samuel R Delany is one hell of a trip and surprisingly relevant to modern day discourse on gender and sex Originally written as a response to Le Guin s The Dispossessed An Ambiguous Utopia Delany explores what it might be like to experience a progressive open society as a very traditional masculine male with conservative ideas about the roles and capabilities of men and women Where Le Guin explored life as someone who is LGBT in a predominantly straight utopia Delany explores the inverse Written in Delany s always stellar prose Triton takes on uncomfortable perspectives designed to discomfit readers The narrator Bron has much in common with the incels of today He believes that he s a good guy who deserves a chance and becomes uite angry when he is denied it He is the epitome of white male entitlement Although he lives in a world that is founded on everyone s basic needs being met including those of sexual nature he finds that the women who he wants to love him are not the ones who love him in return He pursues women who are not interested in him projecting his ideal submissive woman onto them despite it being at odds with their actual personalities He is ultimately one of the most self centered narrators I ve come across His truth is the truth and he can and will misrepresent actual occurrences in order to support it Bron meets a theatrical artist known publicly as The Spike I would have loved to read a book from her perspective She is in fact interesting than Bron in every single way and it s uite a shame that Bron himself is entirely oblivious to this fact He views himself as better than her wanting her to give up her lifestyle and dreams to come live with him and do what He never stops to think about that because her life after it wouldn t matter to him His happiness and his ability to possess her is the only thing important to him and he is aggressively jealous towards anyone and anything that stands between him and his prize In Bron Delany personifies the nightmare of every woman who has ever had a man place her on a pedestal with an uncanny degree of understanding almost certainly drawing on his own experiences as a ueer black man in the 70s Delany understands what power entitlement and discrimination looks like Bron is terrifying No he narrowed his eyes at Miriamne who was a step ahead she said the Spike was just her friend Like me and Lawrence he thought Then the sudden uestioning Does she feel about the Spike the way Lawrence is always saying he feels about His eyes narrowed further at the gray caped shoulders ahead I ll kill her he thought I ll make her sorry she ever heard of metalogics Miriamne staggering drunk in the co op corridor grasping at the Spike caught in her arms falling down soused on the corridor floor He thought I ll Miriamne glanced back You re looking preoccupied again Huh he said Oh I guess I am He smiled I will kill her I ll kill her in some slow and lingering way that will hurt amazingly and unbelievably and continuously and will seem to have no source and take years In his journey to find fulfillment and satisfaction Bron has passed through many different social sects organizations and living situations On Triton many of these groups can become uite interesting and their creeds may involve self mutilation self imposed restraints or deal with ceremonies or mannerisms that someone today would find horrifying Bron at one point joined a group called the Mumblers who panhandle in the street with their eyes blinded either with a blindfold or by keeping them shut no mutilation for these folks at least while chanting mumbles He was hoping to find a group he could meld himself into but failed to make that connection Men like Bron are the ones who are easiest prey for the alt right groups of our current political ecosystem Men who are aimless educated but self centered and entitled They don t have a support network that fulfills their need to be better than others and so they find themselves drawn into a group that tells them that they are better because of their gender or race If Triton had not so assiduously stamped out such groups Bron almost certainly would have been a part of one As it is he is fortunate enough to have a support group even if he doesn t listen to them or appreciate them It s not enough for him to have peers and friends He needs to have someone who he can feel is beneath him and under his power and control And than that he wants it to be a woman who will be both submissive while also being motherly He expects a woman to sacrifice their own wants and dreams their own emotional needs in favor of his own When he tries to force The Spike into this role she pushes back because she understands its futility and his fundamental inability to become a fully independent human being What s the difference between that and emotionally injured Emotionally crippled Emotionally atrophied Maybe it isn t your fault Maybe you weren t cuddled enough as a baby Maybe you simply never had people around to set an example of how to care Maybe because you uote feel you love me unuote you feel I should take you on as a case I m not going to Because there are other people some of whom I love and some of whom I don t who need help too and when I give it it seems to accomplish something the results of which I can see Disclaimer obviously not all men I hate that I have to add this but I know that I do If you re a considerate and kind individual you re obviously not the person this book is addressed at This book is aimed at the subset of white men who are like Bron and think it s okay to only ever talk about themselves and lecture about logic at young highly educated black women Although entitlement and privilege affect people than just white men they are a particularly privileged group wherein these issues are pervasive and encouraged in a way that is much less common in other demographics Historically they are the ones who have held power in Western civilization and this has lasting conseuences If you re aware of your privilege and do your best to use it well and to help others who face roadblocks you don t congrats you re not Bron Let me tell you a secret There is a difference between men and women a little tiny one that I m afraid has probably made most of your adult life miserable and will probably continue to make it so till you die The difference is simply that women have only really been treated by that bizarre Durkheimian abstraction society as human beings for the last oh say sixty five years and then really only on the moons whereas men have had the luxury of such treatment for the last four thousand The result of this historical anomaly is simply that on a statistical basis women are just a little less willing to put up with certain kinds of shit than men simply because the concept of a certain kind of shit free Universe is in that eually bizarre Jungian abstraction the female collective unconscious too new and too precious This book has grown on me and as I ve thought about it When I first set it down my initial impression was that I d wanted of the world and of the characters I found interesting despite understand that the point of the book was that Bron himself was too wrapped up in his own onanistic world to ever look outwards I felt a little dissatisfied I still do wish we d gotten to see of Triton its various political maneuverings and the war that sat as a backdrop to the book yet the social aspects hit closer and closer to home the I think about them Although some portions of the novel most certainly did not age well including some of the language surrounding race be prepared for slurs the underlying horror of white male entitlement remains a part of the fabric of our culture and is relevant than ever before If you enjoyed this review please consider reading others like it on my blog Black Forest Basilisks

Samuel R. Delany Õ 3 read

In a story as exciting as any science fiction adventure written Samuel R Delany's SF novel originally published as Triton takes us on a tour of a utopian society at war with our own Earth High wit in this future comedy of manners allows Delany to uestion gender roles and sexua. I suspect I m not clever enough for it but you know I hear Dhalgren is very clever but similar to this I remembered while reading it I thought pockets of its description and arguments were interesting and highly original but the rest was bland and I m always in a state of perpetual unease about who s going to sleep with whom and what I m supposed to think of it even although I m not engaged in the lives of any of the characters perhaps the underlying structure of either book is fascinating and rich and genius and masterful but I don t care to dig deep in frozen soilAnd I don t know if this counts as narrow mindedness but I like men not women and I don t consider any kind of future where everyone s asking everyone to frick then everyone fricking each other and then they both change gender and frick again that sounds like an identity seeking nightmare to me than a utopia It took thirteen year old me so much effort to get to the point where he was able to identify as gay that now twice the age I m fairly sure I don t have the energy to identify or even to try anything else I m married anyways so fuck Delany call me traditional Even fictionally it s exhausting to keep track of I m seeing and that my perception of what is a novel and what isn t is much limited than I expected I think this is a response to reading the beautiful crafts that can come from writing like a tennis player with the net taut rather than have it sagging and letting all kinds of balls get past and long obliue philosophical discussions that only happen to take place on other planets or moons for reasons unclear neither seems to me to be a novel nor really sci fiStill Delany is capable of greatness and when I m feeling adventurous I ll return to his intellectuo ethno sexual ballpits again


10 thoughts on “Triton author Samuel R. Delany

  1. says:

    Everyone talks about how this is a political or cultural or social exploration novel and that's all true but what fascinates me about it is how incredibly PSYCHOLOGICAL it is The cultural and social stuff is pretty simple Samuel Delany has created here an honest to goodness utopia a world in which everyone can essentially be anyone they want to be You're a woman who wants to be a male homosexual? No problem There's a co

  2. says:

    Trouble on Triton is supposed to inhabit a utopian heterotopic future when Earth is no longer the only hospitable planet where personal expression has evolved through a widened acceptance of differing sexualities and gender takes on radical new perspectives I appreciated the gender exploration but found it extremely hard to sympathize with the protagonist Bron Helstrom As a teenager Bron was a legal male prostitute but well into adulthood h

  3. says:

    I suspect I'm not clever enough for it but you know I hear Dhalgren is very clever but similar to this I remembered while reading it I thought pockets of its description and arguments were interesting and highly

  4. says:

    Delany is one of my favourite writers but it has taken me a long time to get round to reading this one In fact Triton has been on my bookshelves since 1993 I think I was intimidated by the appendix on metalogic It looks like a 'difficult' novel but that's really an illusion It's a beautifully written complex but totally accessible and engaging workThe main character Bron Helstrom is simultaneously likeable a

  5. says:

    It’s been almost five weeks since I did this so let’s hope my skills haven’t atrophied too much My student teaching practicum was awesome but it left me little time for reading and no time for reviewing Now I need to catch up So

  6. says:

    In some ways Triton is as much about science fiction as it is about social and political modelsThe infodump or exposition is a vital part of the SF genre; it helps ground us in the imagined world of the story at hand and to contextualise those uniuely science fictional sentences Delany is so fond of formations like Heinlein's 'th

  7. says:

    i'm not sure how i feel about this at all the main character is absolutely UNBEARABLE but he is supposed to be it's the book's whole point but he really is so utterly unlikeable and horrifying that reading this book was a slog the entire way th

  8. says:

    Triton is one of those books that lingers in the penumbra at the edges of my understanding like a jungle cat stalking prey carefully choosing th

  9. says:

    This review and others can be read on my blog Black Forest Basilisks Triton also published under Trouble on Triton An Ambiguous Heterotopia by Samuel R Delany is one hell of a trip and surprisingly relevant to modern day discourse on gender and sex Originally written as a response to Le Guin’s The Dispossessed An Ambigu

  10. says:

    sppoilerzzzI feel very weird about this book I love a lot of it but in the end it felt just too terrible to spen