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The Einstein Intersection by Samuel R.…

The Einstein Intersection (1967)

by Samuel R. Delany

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,140227,179 (3.34)26
  1. 10
    The Ballad of Beta-2 by Samuel R. Delany (raizel)
    raizel: both books look at how history becomes myth. The Ballad of Beta-2 is simpler and easier to read.
  2. 10
    Black Orpheus [1959 film] by Marcel Camus (alaskayo)
    alaskayo: Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's a movie and this is a book site, but Delany fans should definitely watch the Camus film that inspired his Einstein Intersection.

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» See also 26 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
I added this to my 'to read' list a long time ago as I'm trying to get through all of the older Hugo winners and I've read other Delaney. Unfortunately, while this may be a classic, its a strange one. It takes place in some sort of post-human (possibly post Apocalyptic) Earth where supposedly an alien race has come to live on an Earth with no humans. The aliens seem to suffer from mutations, some of which are viable, some are not. There is a whole new form of personal pronouns which seem to correspond to him, her and a third option. In addition, the aliens seem to be ranked both by their lack of mutations and by the strength of their mutations. When one of the aliens with a peculiar psychic talent (that 'he'? is not aware of) goes from the country to the city, he finds that city folk reject the categorization of people by both gender and mutation/ability - city folks just do NOT discuss differences. Along the way the young alien is also questing to bring back to life his 'girlfriend'? who died, killed by a monster from an old human ruin. The 'journey of discovery' plot for the young alien is not tremendously original and in places is extremely confusing as he seems to confront death and in fact another alien 'Kid Death' in several different ways. Perhaps this whole book is Delaney's way of envisioning a future with no gender or other distinctions. I may not be taking enough prescription medicine to understand this book fully, it really didn't make a lot of sense. ( )
  Karlstar | Jul 23, 2017 |
Interesting. And confusing. The ambiguity is strong here. ( )
1 vote Jon_Hansen | Apr 9, 2017 |
Lobey is a herder in a small village. Although they live a simple life, they live atop the ruins of a maze of tunnels filled with abandoned computers. Further, it seems that radiation and limited genetic diversity create so many mutations that the villagers hardly look human. Still, it's a quiet life. He and his childhood friend, Friza, are finally becoming romantic with each other when she apruptly, inexplicably, dies. Unwilling to accept her death, Lobey ventures outside his village and finds that the rest of the world is far stranger than he imagined. He hires on as a dragon-herder and makes his way to the city, where he discovers that Friza was murdered, and that it may be possible to bring her back to life.

The writing is good, but I kept getting sidetracked in my confusion over what exactly was happening. For instance, Lobey creates music with his knife (?) which has holes in it for this purpose (?) which he plays with his feet and fingers (?). Too often, trying to picture what was going on overtook my appreciation of the story itself. And the story is wonderful, and something I've never read before. Lobey's tale is a harsh adventure because of the pressures of societal expectation and assumption--they're trying so hard to be human that any difference is shameful and avoided. And not only is Lobey himself different, but he's seeking a way to tell the tale of Orpheus in a different, not-so-human way. To get Friza back, he has to challenge the archetypes and mythology that his world uses to maintain themselves, and create a new ending. It's pretty fabulous--but also, I'm sad to say, deeply confused me.

(If anyone can explain what Green-Eyes was doing in the comments, I would deeply appreciate it. All I got was that he was a sort of new Christ-y figure? IDK! ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
I like stories that use or retell myths. Some chapters start with the author's journal; I found his notes helpful in explaining connections that I did not see on my own.


about myths, modern and ancient and their basis in fact and how they evolve:
".... You remember the legend of the Beatles? You remember the Beatle Ringo left his love even though she treated him tender. He was the one Beatle who did not sing, so the earliest forms of the legend go. After a hard day's night he and the rest of the Beatles were torn apart by screaming girls, and he and the other Beatles returned, finally at one, with the great rock and the great roll... Well, that myth is a version of a much older story that is not so well known. There are no 45's or 33's from the time of this older story. There are only a few written versions, and reading is rapidly losing its interest for the young. In the older story Ringo was called Orpheus. He too was torn apart by screaming girls. But the details are different. He lost his love---in this version Eurydice---and she went straight to the great rock and the great roll., where Orpheus had to to to get her back. He went singing, for in this version Orpheus was the greatest singer, instead of the silent one. In myths things always turn into their opposites as one version supersedes the next." [pp. 17-18]

a typical poetic description, which had immediate resonance when the book was written and people still burned their leaves, but not so much now, showing that even stories about the far future can become dated:
I passed some leaves, blown here by what wind, that his hooves had ignited. They writhed with worms of fire, glowing about my toes. And for a moment the darkness was filled with autumn. [p. 32]

an explanation of the title of the book and why most people still don't seem to know about Goedel and his proof that we can never know everything:
"... Einstein defined the extent of the rational. Goedel stuck a pin into the irrational and fixed it to the wall of the universe so that it held still long enough for people to know it was there.... The visible effects of Einstein's theory leaped up on a convex curve, its production huge in the first century after its discovery, then leveling off. The production of Goedel's law crept up on a concave curve, microscopic at first, then leaping to equal the Einsteinian curve, cross it, outstrip it...." [p. 128]

why it's OK to say "huh?" when finishing a story:
Endings to be useful must be inconclusive.
Author's Journal/Istanbul, March 1966 ( )
1 vote raizel | Oct 28, 2015 |
It was interesting and well written, but quite often I found myself wondering what the hell was going on. I feel like Delany actually intended on that reaction though. I did enjoy the read, but I'm not entirely sure what it is that I read or what actually happened. ( )
1 vote sffstorm | Jun 9, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Delany, Samuel R.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dahlblom, GunillaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elson, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaughan, JackCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mayo, FrankCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Polanis, JacquesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tüzünsoy, ArdanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zebrowski, GeorgeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It darkles, (tinct, tint) all this our funanimal world. James Joyce/Finnegans Wake
I do not say, however, that every delusion or wandering of the mind should be called madness. Erasmus of Rotterdam/In Praise of Folly
for DON WOLLHEIM a responsible man in all meanings to and for what is within and JACK GUAGHAN for what is without
First words
In meiner Machete läuft ein hohler, mit Löchern durchsetzter Zylinder vom Heft bis zur Spitze.
There is a hollow, holey cylinder running from hilt to point in my machete. When I blow across the mouthpiece in the handle, I make music with my blade.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0819563366, Paperback)

The Einstein Intersection won the Nebula Award for best science fiction novel of 1967. The surface story tells of the problems a member of an alien race, Lo Lobey, has assimilating the mythology of earth, where his kind have settled among the leftover artifacts of humanity. The deeper tale concerns, however, the way those who are "different" must deal with the dominant cultural ideology. The tale follows Lobey's mythic quest for his lost love, Friza. In luminous and hallucinated language, it explores what new myths might emerge from the detritus of the human world as those who are "different" try to seize history and the day.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:59 -0400)

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