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[[ Read ePUB ]] NovaAuthor Samuel R. Delany – Blockdiagramwiring.co

These Are At Least Some Of The Ways You Can Read NOVA As A Fast Action Farflung Interstellar Adventure As Archetypal Mystical Mythical Allegory In Which The Tarot And The Grail Both Figure Prominently As Modern Myth Told In The S F Idiom The Reader Observes, Recollects, Or Participates In A Range Of Personal Experience Including Violent Pain And Disfigurement, Sensory Deprivation And Overload, Man Machine Communion, The Drug Experience, The Creative Experience And Inter Personal Relationships Which Include Incest And Assassination, Father Son, Leader Follower, Human Pet, And Lots The Balance Of Galactic Power In The St Century Revolves Around Illyrion, The Most Precious Energy Source In The Universe The Varied And Exotic Crew Who Sign Up With Captain Lorq Van Ray Know Their Mission Is Dangerous, And They Soon Learn That They Are Involved In A Deadly Race With The Charismatic But Vicious Leader Of An Opposing Space Federation But They Have No Idea Of Lorq S Secret Obsession To Gather Illyrion At The Source By Flying Through The Very Heart Of An Imploding Star


10 thoughts on “Nova

  1. says:

    flawed but heroic space captain, on a mission that is part vengeance and part noble quest, assembles a disparate crew to fly through a nova this is Samuel R Delany so that synopsis just barely scratches the surface I m going to copy paste a post regarding this book that I just made in a group I moderate hopefully the pasted post will eventually turn out to be notes for an actual review, but who knows, I m whimsical and lazy Delany s prose reminds me of a couple musicians I like, John Cage and John Zorn Cage because they both create strange, shimmering beauty out of disparate parts that I wouldn t expect to find beautiful Zorn because I usually have no idea what is going to come next, what one part will turn into, and what that will turn into next the music analogy occurred to me fairly early because the futuristic music that the highly endearing character Mouse creates is central to the story.is there hard science in this book I am not a science guy, not remotely, and a lot of what Delany was describing flew right over my head so much so that I couldn t tell if it was actual science or if it was Delany using science in a fantastical way.one of the things I often notice when reading science fiction from earlier eras is how much these authors can pack into such a short number of pages just a bit over 200 pages and yet Delany successfully develops multiple characters, an entire future society, a revenge narrative, and much else in those pages very, very impressive such a small package but so much within.loved the use of tarot cards I think the only other science fiction I ve read that had such heavy use was Piers Anthony s Tarot series and now I m a little embarrassed that I ve mentioned Piers Anthony but he had some good novels I m a bit shaky on the Grail Quest within this novel it appears central but at the same time its use was somewhat obscure to me I have to think on that a little bit, maybe do some research.one of the things I like about New Wave science fiction authors is just how literary they can get I have no problem with straightforward genre prose but I just really, really love the artistry of experimental writers who don t handhold readers from point A to B and who treat their prose with a combination of playfulness and seriousness, like it s a fun challenge for them to write what they intend to be a fun challenge to read reading Delany and others of his ilk is the opposite of a passive experience it is the kind of a writing that hits many different parts of me at different times and in different ways exciting prose


  2. says:

    NOVA Queen sings Ahhh Ahhhh Reading this, I could not help thinking about the 1980 Mike Hodges film Flash Gordon starring Max von Sydow and Sam Jones Many critics and reviewers have used the term space opera to label and describe Samuel Delaney s imaginative Hugo nominated 1968 science fiction novel, and I think I will join those ranks.Wikipedia defines space opera as follows Space opera is a sub genre of science fiction that often emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in outer space, usually involving conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, weapons, and other technology.I call Nova a space opera because of the dramatic, chamber like setting of a science fiction story While Delaney explains his science well and his novel contains all of the usual elements of the genre, it is similar to John Ford s 1962 film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance in that all or most of the action takes place in a closed setting, as if on a theater stage.Comparing the novel to Flash Gordon and affixing the space opera label on the work may lead some readers to assign the novel to the campy or pulpy lower ranks of sci fi mediocrity This is far from the case Delaney has crafted an adventure of far future cultural and socio economic complexity and all wound together with a refreshingly original literary talent It is readily clear that the author, a green but educated 25 at the time of submission, has a creative ability that generations of writers to be would give an artificial limb to possess.Delaney s science is cutting edge as well, and he anticipates the cyberpunk sub genre than a decade early while blending together a rich topography of classical, mythological and mystical constituents.A must read for a true science fiction fan.


  3. says:

    Nova A New Wave Grail Quest space opera from the 1960sOriginally posted at Fantasy LiteratureNova is Samuel Chip Delany s 1968 space opera with mythic Grail Quest overtones It is packed with different themes, subtexts, allegorical and cultural references, and literary experiments, and the young author just 25 years old is clearly a very talented, intelligent, and passionate writer.But I didn t enjoy it, sadly While I thought Babel 17 was a very fast paced, vivid and engaging space opera that centered on language and identity, this book felt very turgid and forced Why, you ask Well, the author was determined to mold the story along the lines of a Grail Quest, Moby Dick, and Jason and the Argonauts, with the goal being a race to retrieve the super material Illyrion from the heart of a recently exploded nova, in order to swing the balance of power in the universe between feuding aristocratic families So events in the story have to conform to this format, and none of the actions of the characters rang true to me.Obsession, greed, revenge, vying for supremacy I can understand those emotions But the actions of the characters, both the principals and supporting cast, don t seem to make much sense If this rag tag group of misfits was really determined to retrieve this material, why the heck did Delany structure the story the way he did The first 10 15% of the book has Captain Lorq Von Ray gathering together his crew, and then for the next 50% of the book there is an overlong flashback of Lorq s childhood and encounters with the rival Red family and his nemesis Prince Red and his beautiful but submissive sister.It s good to build the backstory for why the characters have such animosity for each other, but this section goes on far too long There is also a detailed side story about a young gypsy musician named Mouse, a windbag intellectual named Katin who wants to try the long lost art of writing a novel, a drawn out episode involving Tarot cards and how scientific they are, and a seemingly aimless pit stop on a planet that results in a major confrontation that ends inconclusively By the time the mission to find the nova gets underway, we re already 70% through the book Finally in the last 10% of the book the long awaited encounter with the nova develops into a thoroughly unbelievable standoff between the main characters This part made no sense to me whatsoever.Though the writing quality and language are consistently strong like Babel 17, I feel like this was wasted since the story s pacing was so interminable and the mythic undertones just didn t resonate with me I ve always felt that realistic character motivations and world building are far appealing than stories that try hard to be symbolic and archetypal Even within the book this dynamic is debated between the impulsive, emotional Mouse and the dry, intellectual Katin Unfortunately, it seems that Katin has had a greater influence on the story than Mouse, and I never trust a book where a character is writing a novel that doesn t yet have a subject You can see where that is headed a mile away.There are certainly some fascinating cyborg aspects of the book that have clearly been influential on the Cyberpunk movement, since characters have implants plugs that allow them to directly interface with sockets and operate all types of machinery Neuromancer, anyone Even in Babel 17, I liked the fact that there was a huge databank of stored personalities that could be revived as discorporates But as should be clear now, though Delany can spin off lots of neat SF ideas, his real interests lie much in the literary direction Speaking of which, his 1968 Hugo Award winner The Einstein Intersection is probably the most overtly allegorical of all his books, but at least it is short, which cannot be said of his massive and reportedly unreadable magnum opus Dhalgren.


  4. says:

    Finished a reread of Samuel R Delany s Nova for my reading group I ll post a longer review later, but for nowNova is considered by some critics as the last of Delany s early period, lesser novels I think it is the first of his masterpieces insofar as he fully embraces what will become a trademark in the next several Dhalgren, Trouble On Triton, and all the Neveryon books, ending with Stars In My Pocket Like Grains Of Sand, namely the full use of metafiction Many mainstream literary novelists employed it in roughly the same time period Barth, Pynchon, Gaddis, Fowles, even Vonnegut, and certain Atwood, Murdoch, Peircy, and Lessing but one rarely encountered it in science fiction Certainly it was never used to such effect until much later In Nova we find it s first full deployment.On the surface, this is a space opera style adventure, a feud between two great families across the galaxy, high politics and finance, and a race for a treasure It has all the classic tropes an independently owned starship, a motley crew, wild and vividly described planets, and at times nail biting pacing but it also steps back from itself to comment on what is happening in terms of history and myth, mostly via the character of Katin, a or less aimless young man with an immense store of academic training and a finely honed sense of process who has been taking notes for years on a novel he intends to write, which in this far flung time is a lost art He joins the crew of the Roc almost by accident and quickly becomes invested in their quest as much for the relationships he makes among the varied members of the crew as for all the resonances he sees in the captain s self imposed quest It is a grail quest, it is a hunt for a white whale, it is spy craft, and it is fate all rolled into one mission to an exploding star Delany offers up the points of mythic resonance throughout for anyone who cares to find out , tying the adventure to literary and cultural archetypes spanning millennia.This raises the novel well above the level of simple adventure Hints as to the nature of the crew who is Jason, who is Argos, who is Medea, who is Ahab are sprinkled throughout.As well, this book gives us a foretaste of the kind of evocative language Delany will hone in the next several novels.As metafiction, Delany s novels are master classes on how science fiction is constructed and why the subtext connects so strongly to what on the surface appears to be a mere entertainment He is as interested in how culture works as in what his characters go through Nothing in a Delany novel happens in isolation from all of history and myth.


  5. says:

    For those of you unfamiliar with Delany, let me explain to you what it s like reading one of his novels And Delany is a clever PLUS, so I think there should be way raving about him than there is I don t quite hear enough Here s the blurb they give you The balance of galactic power in the 31st century revolves around Illyrion, the most precious energy source in the universe The varied and exotic crew who sign up with Captain Lorq van Ray know their mission is dangerous, and they soon learn that they are involved in a deadly race with the charismatic but vicious leader of an opposing space federation But they have no idea of Lorq s secret obsession to gather Illyrion at source by flying through the very heart of an imploding star So you re like, Oh 240 pgs of ragtag interstellar fun I m in But you start to read and you re like pg 1 50 intro to characters and recruitment for dangerous race with Lorq van Ray pgs 51 220 Of course, if we consider the 25th century s extrapolation of interdimensional sociocultural hegemony, Heidegger is, in retrospect, the 20th century s most important thinker If and it goes without saying we couple this idea with Marx s Scientific Dialectics the physicochemical structure Illyrion is better understood if we conduct a thought experiment to consider the properties of a substance not yet available on the 21st century s periodic table of elements pgs 220 240 Holy fuck that van Ray guy s trying to gather Illyrion at source by flying through the very heart of an imploding star So you can see why I like it Delany delves beyond shallow novel dilettantism to make fearsome polymathic connections between disciplines And clearly his intellectual exuberance is infectious In fact, I m convinced if this novel was really written in the 31st century, you d barely have to change a goddamn thing which is a ridiculous statement to make, but such is the power of Delany s sci fi Given my little primer on Delany above, there s way too much to capture in a single reading, and that s why I m delighted to be following this one up with Dhalgren, which I WTF ed over years ago it s sci fi Ulysses But much like any WTF dense piece of showboatery Camus, Joyce, Pynchon, Gass, DFW, Gibson , the first reading is the breathless anxious Will I even get through this investment that allows for the second reading s reaping of gold.So I see this is a 2015 version of this novel And Delany s first three novels were recently reissued in a single compendium, so almost all his stuff is back in print, I believe Let SF Masterworks know they ve done the right thing and buy a paperback of this asap If indeed that does signal publishers who ever knows D Because Delany s words thrive on a printed page and you ll judge yourself less for all the flicking back and forth P


  6. says:

    Ah, classic space opera futuristic setting, oddball characters with oddball philosophies, and ships and science well beyond what we ken Unlike a good deal of space opera, Nova is not a doorstopper It is modest in length and in focus, though not in scope The cast of characters is small, but the events have large repercussion Captain Lorq von Ray certainly has much in common with Captain Ahab, and obsession is an important motif in Nova I hesitate to compare it to Moby Dick not because I think such a comparison is invalid but because I read Moby Dick once, a long time ago, and don t much remember it Instead, I m going to grab hold of that space opera vibe and run with it.First, a caveat The term space opera is so hopelessly imprecise that you might not agree with how I m using it, and that s OK Hopefully you still understand what I m saying about this form, even if you don t agree with my label for it.I have a special place in my heart for space opera above other forms of science fiction I want to attribute this in part to Dune , which was one of the earliest science fiction novels I read Two problems Firstly, Dune is of a planetary romance than a space opera Sure, it has huge spaceships that cover vast interstellar distances in the blink of an eye But as the title implies, the book is much about the planet than the space around it Secondly, and importantly, Dune is not the book that influenced my perception of space opera for all time that distinction belongs to The Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy.But this isn t a review of h2g2, and perhaps one day I ll write a review explaining why I consider it my formative space opera experience For now, let s return to Nova and Samuel R Delany s use of space opera Delany has divided humanity into a tripartite society based loosely on constellation Draco contains Earth and the richest planets in known space, and it s home to Red shift Limited, the sole manufacturer of faster than light drives and company owned by Prince Red the Pleidaes Federation is the home of operations for the rival Von Rays, and its other rich families are the new money to Draco s old finally there are the Outer Colonies, whose only attraction are the Illyrion mines, and whose population consists mostly of working class people If you read this and start thinking, class conflict, then you are on the right track.Through the expository conversations between the Mouse and Katin, Delany explains how society has changed in the 1200 years that have elapsed between his time and theirs I loved these parts of Nova, even when they seemed ancillary to the rest of the plot Katin reminds me a little of myself, dismissive of the past yet simultaneously yearning for its philosophical renaissances Katin can t quite believe that we twentieth century folk were backward enough to doubt the accuracy of Tarot he expresses his joy that the elimination of disease has made personal hygiene unnecessary Delany neglects to address the problem of smell As a student of history, he has taken the ultimate plunge of falling in love with an anachronistic literary form the novel Katin goes around making notes he has over twelve thousand of them now in preparation for his novel, which he has not yet begun for lack of a subject It s good to see that despite other changes, there will always be writers who perpetually procrastinate in their writing Despite his deferral of the task, Katin remains obsessed with the idea of writing a novel, of creating something from a dead art form And this obsession drives him forward to observe and take notes, eventually bringing him to Lorq von Ray s ship.Captain Lorq von Ray is obsessed with diving into the heart of a nova to harvest Illyrion I think Delany should have said a supernova, as they are not the same thing, but I m not sure how well 1960s astrophysics differentiated between the two, so we ll let that slide This MacGuffin substance is a group of stable transuranic elements that, for reasons never explained, are the key to faster than light travel Now, you can synthesize Illyrion, or you can mine it, but both of these operations are expensive and inefficient Lorq is convinced he can come out alive with enough Illyrion to flood the market Among other things, this would devastate Red shift Limited.Lorq s motives for upsetting the careful equilibrium between the Reds and the Von Rays become clear in a series of flashbacks, through which we see the enmity between Prince and Lorq develop At first it seems like the incidents that incur Prince s ire are the result of misunderstandings The two family patriarchs do their best to inculcate friendship between Lorq and Prince, but it doesn t take And eventually it becomes clear that Prince is psychotic While this spoils some of the tragedy for me, it adds an interesting dimension to the conflict.Although Lorq and Prince have a personal enmity, their status as essentially modern aristocrats means this affects the fate of entire societies If Lorq is successful, not only will he crush Prince s company the Illyrion mines in the Outer Colonies will be obsolete over night Millions of workers will be displaced Prince or precisely, Ruby asks Lorq how he can do such a thing, how he can damage the structure of society and create so much chaos Lorq claims it is a matter of survival, that he has to strike before Prince does But this is not a fairy tale, and Lorq is not Prince Charming, come to rescue the princess.That princess, Ruby Red, intrigues me because she s such a weak character She seems to have no will of her own, devoting herself instead to Prince and his schemes As the sister, she always had the potential to bring Lorq and Prince closer together or drive them apart Owing to Prince s psychotic tendencies, it seems inevitable that it would be the latter any time Lorq makes any kind of overture to Ruby, real or imagined, Prince goes berserk But as far as we can see, Ruby never makes an attempt at reconciliation She takes Prince s hate for Lorq and makes it her own, to the point where should would murder suicide Lorq if she had the chance Your are not the only one with secrets, Lorq Prince and I have ours When you came up out of the burning rocks, yes, I thought Prince was dead There was a hollow tooth in my jaw filled with strychnine I wanted to give you a victory kiss I would have, if Prince had not screamed.Delany never explicitly codifies the relationship between Prince and Ruby Red, so the extent of their closeness is open to interpretation I think it s significant, however, that whenever Lorq talks about the search for a nova as a race, he refers to his opponents as Prince and Ruby Red But when he talks about his enemy, his rival, the person he has to defeat, he only mentions Prince And in the end, not to spoil it, I think that having to surrender this distinction is what defeats him.For a race, it seems like Nova spends an awful lot of time dallying before finally arriving at the finish line Yet this might be an illusion caused by the brevity of the book I think the build up to the climax at the nova is the right length I just didn t expect it to end so abruptly We just get an epilogue in which we learn the fates of Lorq and the rest of his expedition Delany never deals with the larger ramifications of Lorq s plan.And unlike a lot of space opera, Nova does not involve fantastic battles between massive armadas or invasions of entire solar systems Instead, the entire book is a series of stories about individuals, each with a different obsession, whose paths converge and clash, with consequences beyond just the scope of their own lives More than that, it s a presentation of a fascinating future, burgeoning with so many good seeds of ideas that would later mature and flourish in other books, both those by Delany and by future contributors to science fiction.Alas, because of this wealth of ideas, Nova never delves into any of them with much depth Nevertheless, I think I have not covered all that Nova has to offer a reader, and I am not entirely happy with how I have discussed what I did cover True to my conception of space opera, Delany has taken an adventuresome quest and married it to an intensely personal conflict between two larger than life characters, Lorq von Ray and Prince Red The result is a gem of a novel and like most gems, this one has its share of flaws But that is OK, and I still like it all the same.


  7. says:

    Nova does not cease telling you how clever it is It does this with plenty of the goobledigook that can mar any narrative, sci fi or not First the neologisms meant to indicate that the writer really thought through his futuristic world sensory syrynx and psychorama are among the plenty These are meant to broadcast the legitimacy of his imagined world and that, yes, he took care to note that language evolves with the times Yet the dialogue and language otherwise has timeless problems stilted exposition, weirdly clunky, or just plain stale talk no matter how grandiose the stage Second are assumptions about structure that are disregarded for the sake of caprice in this case, ending the novel in the middle of a sentence in the most groaner y fashion possible It should not have been a surprise considering chapters begin and end in the middle of a conversation for no discernible motive other than to force a cliffhanger when one doesn t appear naturally But it was one of those non surprises that still yielded an oh, come on out loud from yours truly Third is the author surrogate character, the always unwelcome Katin, a neurotic soapbox of half baked truths about a half baked reality Half baked truths about the current reality are unpalatable imagine hearing fallacious arguments spouted at length about the state of existence in an already intangible other world Let s see, what else as a plot it s relatively paper thin It s, at base, a space opera as they call it And the odor of triteness that comes with the territory is pungent, indeed both the antagonist and protagonists are meant to look sympathetic not because of their actions, but because they are both marked by physical deformity The seeds of their rivalry germinate in a childhood traumatic event that defines the rest of their lives A man loves his rival s sister, or so one thinks There s even a set of twins that finish each others sentences The protagonist and his rivals are identically maniacal The book is melodramatic not just in its template, but in its weighty themes.There are ways Nova is just dangling philosophical ideas from a form as tried and true as it can get, and in the meantime uses the form to speculate about a future universe This means characters relay background information to one another at length This means the writer surrogate gets to opine at length about whatever topic fits the author s whims And sometimes it does feel like it is whatever topic The various subjects covered don t cohere all that well, even with the nova metaphor of a major self collapse leaving something behind to salvage and re build from Basically, when the book isn t shoehorning Delaney s viewpoints into every open nook and cranny, it is marching along the narrowest and thinnest of narrative arcs Moby Dick this is not I am confounded by the comparison The sad thing is those viewpoints aren t very enlightening or provocative Some just feel over confident and inapplicable There s a debate between fiction and music, music being of the moment and fiction being of the past There s a flourish about how future civilizations combat the problem of worker alienation that is fairly clever, but ultimately too romantic and hollow So, truly, Nova is an unsuccessful balancing act between high minded and unsuccessful ideas, and a broad minded and unsuccessful plot romance template Sure, The Brothers Karamazov was, in essence, a courtroom drama interspersed with Christian philosophy But it was , wasn t it It was so much That mixture of form and invention leaves one with than the sum of its parts sometimes This is something fiction and music can have in common Other times, it leaves one with less than Nova is one of those times.


  8. says:

    Direct seeming in the mythic way, Nova still belies its modest page count, bursting at its seams with Delany s muscular world building prowess How could it come to an end so quickly, I thought, with how full it is growing And Delany s world Constructed with an innate faith in the ability of his readers to keep up, or perhaps simply not caring if they do Having only read Dhalgren prior to this, I wasn t sure what to expect More of the same And that I did find in certain ways How he only half sketches out some aspects in concrete terms, leaving the rest to be filled out in the reader s mind with the aid of abstract impressions I like this It scratches flint for the imagination How his outsider characters interact in unexpected ways how from strangers they grow close and support each other How he seems to relish showing us a good party How his keen class consciousness pervades the text And always his imagination glittering on the page even on the yellowed pages of this old paperback It was interesting to read this in parallel with Robert Sheckley s science fiction stories Delany s worlds, so intricately textured and fully alien, contrast sharply with those of Sheckley, whose settings evoke Earth centric roots and often read as if they are but window dressing for their creator s social commentary The two could not be farther apart in style, and yet I enjoyed both, just in different ways But comparisons to Sheckley aside, I won t rehash the storyline of Nova here, as I don t see the point If you ve read Dhalgren, you should enjoy this And if you have not, this would certainly be a good precursor to that fine novel.


  9. says:

    O poveste care se cite te u or, n ciuda pasajelor cu ordinea cuvintelor inversat O idee interesant , cea cu c l toria n interiorul novelor pentru extragerea illyrionului, p cat c este l sat cam deoparte p n spre final, pun ndu se n schimb accentul pe conflictul celor dou familii rivale care conduc practic ntreaga galaxie Ce m a nemul umit cam pu in parc a evoluat lumea din anul 1968, c nd a ap rut cartea lui Samuel R Delany, i anul 3172, c nd se petrece ac iunea Acuma, eu n eleg c autorul nu a g ndit o ca pe un hard SF doldora de specula ii tiin ifice despre ce va descoperi omenirea n 1200 de ani, dar s vin numai cu ni te racorduri montate la ncheieturile m inilor pentru a se lega de diverse componente ale navelor spa iale pentru a le face mai u or de pilotat i cu un instrument muzical n stru nic, mi se pare totu i cam pu in Are totu i un merit reprezint probabil declicul care s a produs aptesprezece ani mai t rziu, c nd William Gibson a lansat Neuromantul , duc nd la alt nivel leg tura om ma in pe care a imaginat o aici Samuel R Delany A tept Triton despre care am citit zeci de r nduri n superba Printre ceilal i a lui Jo Walton sau Dhalgren , grelele scrise de Delany Mai multe, pe FanSF


  10. says:

    Bizarre psychedelic jewel of novel that sometimes reads like prose poetry Allusions to Bester, Holy Grail, Moby Dick, tarot, City of the Dreadful Night add to the enjoyment all with interesting thoughts on film and music, the future of the novel, humanity and technology, work and other weird thoughts.This book has an especially chilling finale alleviated by the humurous last line and an unsuspected conclusion First Delaney I ve made it through but maybe this will give the urge to tackle I failed my first attempts at Dhalgren and Einstein Intersection