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Samuel Delany on Capitalism, Racism, and Science Fiction



At Public Books, John Plotz interviews science fiction titan Samuel Delany, author of dozens of beloved novels and stories, notably the groundbreaking Dhalgren (1975) and Trouble on Triton (1976). As Plotz mentions in the interview, Delany was one of the first writers to incorporate LGBTQ content into science fiction, pushing its imaginative and utopian boundaries. In the interview Delaney discusses his early formation as a writer, the literary status of science fiction, and his stylistic influences. Check out an excerpt below.

JP: … Do you think you’re writing fiction that happens to have some criticism in it, or is it that you’re writing theory in the form of a novel?

SD: That’s a good question. I usually have an argument that I want to address, although I’d like it to be an open-ended argument. In my novel Trouble on Triton, for instance, the question is, “Is this guy nuts?” Or “Is he hopeless, or is there hope?” I have my opinion, but you have to get to the last sentence of the book to figure out what my opinion is. You know, I think he’s nuts.

Image of Samuel Delany via Literary Hub.