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Dhalgren (1975)

by Samuel R. Delany

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,386733,219 (3.78)183
Nebula Award Finalist: Reality has come unglued and a mad civilization takes root in Bellona, in this science fiction classic.   A young half-Native American known as the Kid has hitchhiked from Mexico to the midwestern city Bellona--only something is wrong there . . . In Bellona, the shattered city, a nameless cataclysm has left reality unhinged. Into this desperate metropolis steps the Kid, his fist wrapped in razor-sharp knives, to write, to love, to wound.   So begins Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany's masterwork, which in 1975 opened a new door for what science fiction could mean. A labyrinth of a novel, it raises questions about race, sexuality, identity, and art, but gives no easy answers, in a city that reshapes itself with each step you take . . .   This ebook features an illustrated biography of Samuel R. Delany including rare images from his early career.  … (more)
  1. 20
    Lanark by Alasdair Gray (fugitive)
    fugitive: Surreal, bizarre, pretentious, weighty, confusing. Those are good things. I think.
  2. 10
    Little, Big by John Crowley (TheSpecialistsCat)
  3. 10
    Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (thesmellofbooks)
    thesmellofbooks: A very different dystopia written by a very different African-American science fiction writer. Yet the intensity and humanity of Parable of the Sower are present as well in this much older book.
  4. 00
    Glimmering by Elizabeth Hand (kraaivrouw)
  5. 00
    Moonwise by Greer Ilene Gilman (TheSpecialistsCat)
    TheSpecialistsCat: Another uncompromising and difficult but rewarding novel nominally in the SF&F genre. Also Joycian, though in a different sense than Dhalgren.
  6. 00
    Perdido Street Station by China Miéville (aaronius)
    aaronius: Another dystopian dream-city to get lost in with weird sex and fantastic writing.
  7. 00
    House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (aaronius)
    aaronius: Similarly fragile boundaries between metaphor, reality, author and reader.
  8. 01
    Finnegans Wake by James Joyce (TomWaitsTables)
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» See also 183 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
um ..
brain has since changed shape, function slightly different than it was before.
( )
  J.Flux | Aug 13, 2022 |
What did I learn from this bk?! Probably nothing.. but it's still one the greatest SF novels I've ever read. On the back-cover of my smoke-damaged copy there's a ball-point pen created arrow pointing to the publisher's blurb. This blurb consists of 10 lines. I scratched out the 1st 9. I can barely make them out:

"THE SUN
HAS GROWN DEADLY
THE WORLD HAS GONE MAD; SOCIETY HAS
PERISHED; SAVAGERY RULES
OVER ALL. ALL THAT WAS KNOWN
IS OVER, ALL THAT WAS FAMILIAR IS
STRANGE AND TERRIBLE. TODAY
AND YESTERDAY COLLIDE WITH TOMORROW
IN THESE DYING DAYS OF EARTH;"

Those are the lines I scratched thru. You'd think they were describing "Planet of the Apes" or something. The line I left is:

"A YOUNG DRIFTER ENTERS THE CITY..."

That's more like it. This back-cover blurb tries to sensationalize a bk that's anything but. It tries to sell it as a disaster novel - but what is it really? Yeah, the sun has changed & that's a vague pretext for what's changed socially. I must've read this around 1984 (24 yrs ago) & my memory of it's pretty vague too but I do remember it as being close to a description of urban decay (or is it just urban change?) in the mid-late 20th century - in an only slightly alternate universe. There's the middle-class white family trying to hold their old world together in the face of a new society where all the support mechanisms just aren't there anymore. Like so many of Delany's novels, lawlessness prevails.. but w/ the sensitivity of an anarchist (& I have no idea whether Delany IS an anarchist) 'lawlessness' doesn't necessarily mean "savagery": it means the characters who want to keep their delicateness intact have to adapt, they have to be clever & alert. They can be KIND, they can be GENTLE, but they can't necessarily rely on an externally imposed 'order' to protect them. ( )
  tENTATIVELY | Apr 3, 2022 |
Well, that was interesting ( )
  farrhon | Oct 1, 2021 |
It's one of those so called must read novels if you're serious about your science fiction, and I decided I was finally going to tackle this monstrosity.

It has its bits of genius. Through all the meandering, the sex (and sex, and more sex) there are passages worth remembering. Dhalgren has ideas and they're big interesting ones. The city itself is awesome: there is a character that walks around the neighborhood changing Street signs and a newspaper that seems to randomly assign dates.

But it's all buried by the trudgery. Lots and lots of "balling", a word I wish to never really read again. At about three hundred I was wishing for it to wrap up. By the final third, experimental found journal bit, it was forced reading. ( )
  illmunkeys | Apr 22, 2021 |
The punkrockest setting and philosophy ever written probably. Won't add anything superficial to the scholarship around it here on GR. Read it, then we'll talk! ( )
  EugenioNegro | Mar 17, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Samuel R. Delanyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Charpentier, Annette vonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ellis, DeanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gawron, Jean MarkIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gibson, WilliamForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, Gwynethsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nati, Mauriziosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rambelli, Robertasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rudnicki, StefanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Santos, DomingoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vrana, MichelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"You have confused the true and the real."

GEORGE STANLEY/In conversation
Dedication
This book about many things
must be for many people.

Some of them are
Joseph Cox, Bill Brodecky, David Hartwell,
Liz Landry, Joseph Manfredini, Patrick Muir, 
John Herbert McDowell, Jean Sullivan, Janis Schmidt,
Charles Naylor, Ann O'Neil, Baird Searles,
Martin Last, Bob & Joan Thurston, Richard Vriali,
Susan Schweers, Judy Ratner, Oliver Shank

also
Thomas M. Disch, Judith Merril, Michael Perkins, Joanna Russ,Judith Johnson, & Marilyn Hacker
First words
to wound the autumnal city.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (4)

Nebula Award Finalist: Reality has come unglued and a mad civilization takes root in Bellona, in this science fiction classic.   A young half-Native American known as the Kid has hitchhiked from Mexico to the midwestern city Bellona--only something is wrong there . . . In Bellona, the shattered city, a nameless cataclysm has left reality unhinged. Into this desperate metropolis steps the Kid, his fist wrapped in razor-sharp knives, to write, to love, to wound.   So begins Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany's masterwork, which in 1975 opened a new door for what science fiction could mean. A labyrinth of a novel, it raises questions about race, sexuality, identity, and art, but gives no easy answers, in a city that reshapes itself with each step you take . . .   This ebook features an illustrated biography of Samuel R. Delany including rare images from his early career.  

No library descriptions found.

Book description
    DHALGREN


a protrait of a city called Bellona which has suffered a disaster so cataclysmic that the very fabric of the space-time continuum has been distorted ...
buildings burn endlessly but are not consumed,
Radio and television broadcasts cannot enter or leave the city.
the sky is sealed with thick haze.
When it clears, strange portents are seen: two moons, a grotesquely swollen sun ...
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