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Nova by Samuel R. Delany
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Nova (original 1968; edition 1969)

by Samuel R. Delany

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1,983386,846 (3.62)46
A quest for a priceless element--and revenge--fuels this far-future interstellar adventure that "reads like Moby-Dick at a strobe-light show" (Time).  In 3172, the universe is divided between three political units: the stars and worlds of Draco, with Earth as its power center; the Pleiades Federation, on whose capital world, New Ark, lives the incredibly wealthy Von Ray family, descended from well-heeled merchants whose ancestors made their fortune as pirates; and the Outer Colonies, where, in their underwater mines, tiny quantities of the fabulously valuable Illyrion have been discovered. Lorq Von Ray was a playboy and young space-yacht-racing captain who, at a party at Earth's Paris, clashed with Draco's Prince Red. This sets Lorq on a demonic quest, through which he hopes to find vengeance. When a star goes nova and implodes, in the seething stellar wreckage for a few days--even hours--lie tons of Illyrion, the element that makes interstellar travel possible. To help him secure the priceless fuel, Lorq recruits a gypsy musician, a would-be novelist, and some other ragtag misfits. But an even more dangerous fuel than Illyrion is revenge . . . This ebook features an illustrated biography of Samuel R. Delany including rare images from his early career. … (more)
Member:KellyinSD
Title:Nova
Authors:Samuel R. Delany
Info:New York : Bantam book, 1969
Collections:Paperback SF/F/H
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Nova by Samuel R. Delany (1968)

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» See also 46 mentions

English (35)  Croatian (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
It's pathetic, I know. Samuel R. Delany was, at one time, in my pantheon of 3 favorite SF writers: the other 2 being J. G. Ballard & Philip K. Dick. &, yeah, he's still in that pantheon except that it's expanded to include the Strugatsky Brothers, Stanislav Lem, & 'James Tiptree' (Alice B. Sheldon). &, yet, I've listed a slew of bks by him that I've read & I don't remember a single thing about them. Hence, no reviews. My excuse, as usual, is that I read this stuff at least 20 yrs ago, At least I can remember my girlfriends from back then. "Nova" is probably the 1st of his bks where I felt like he was "in his stride", where his no-doubt-substantial life experience was beginning to manifest itself in a greater richness of characters & social detail than previously - his earlier novels having been precocious but maybe just a little bit too much of-the-genre & a little-too-little original. ( )
  tENTATIVELY | Apr 3, 2022 |
More Energy Than a Nova

Lorq Von Ray is a man on a quest, driven by his desire to defeat his nemesis Prince Red, wrest away the primacy of the Draco system, Earth and its immediate colonies, controlled by the Red family, and establish the supremacy of the Pleiades Federation, Lorq’s home system. With worlds separated by light years, the principal industry is transportation, both the building of ships, controlled by the Red family, and the mining of fuel, a major Von Ray business, to propel them. The fuel is Illyrion, a precious substance because only small quantities can be extracted by mining it in the Outer Colonies. However, at the moment a star goes nova, tons of the stuff are created. Lorq has tried before to capture Illyrion and failed, but discovered that he can pilot straight through a nova and scoop of vast amounts of the stuff, seven tons to be exact, and thereby accomplish his twin goals. His quest and the various adventures it entails comprise the overarching narrative of the novel. And as a rip-roaring adventure novel, it in itself is a great yarn. In addition, though, Samuel R. Delany, who wrote this at age 25, jams quite a bit of sharp and witty observations on life grounded in the mundanity of good old Earth of 1968, not to mention current times. And it’s these layers that add immensely to the novel’s enjoyment.

Science fiction readers like to see authors create substantial worlds, both as backdrops to the action and as places removed the confines of this world. Delany’s worlds span light years in our galaxy, with some, like the planet Vorpis, at once alien, inhospitable, beautiful, and testament to human ingenuity. Those weaned on the likes of Star Trek and Star Wars like characters to traverse vast distances in the blink of an eye, and Delany doesn’t disappoint. Too, many want their protagonists larger than life, stronger, wittier, prettier, and humbly flawed. Here Delany provides a host of fatally flawed characters, like Prince Red, blind with revenge, Ruby Red, magnetically beautiful but unalterably attached to Red, and Lorq, who can’t see beyond an ambition that could destroy him. This, combined with the idea of power, how to get it, how to hold onto it, should satisfy a majority of readers.

Delany notches things up by expanding on other subjects very much on the minds of humans stuck here on Earth for the foreseeable future. In Delany’s distant future, race and nationality are still dividers, as crew member Mouse’s origin story reveals, not to mention the contrasted appearances of twins Lynceos and Idas. Too, Caucasians predominate in the Draco sphere, while both Pleiades and the Outer Colonies feature a racial mix, as Lorq himself exemplifies. Like our world of today, where we find ourselves not only attached to devices that determine to an increasing degree whether or not we will be successful, in Delany’s world, human and machine fuse via plug-in sockets that make flesh and metal one, and employment and acceptance accrue to those who accept this merging. Delany also ventures into philosophy as it involves creativity, with Mouse an accomplished musician able to conjure moods and worlds on his syrynx that incorporates a sort of hologram projector driven more by spontaneity vs. fellow crew member Katin, highly educated, given to long expositions on a variety of topics, and obsessed to the point of inaction by intellectualizing and planning the novel he wishes to write.

In short, then, Delany’s Nova can be read on a variety of levels, from fast-paced space opera to exploration of societal issues to metaphysics, enough to satisfy all types of sci-fi readers, as well as those who only occasionally read the genre.
( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
More Energy Than a Nova

Lorq Von Ray is a man on a quest, driven by his desire to defeat his nemesis Prince Red, wrest away the primacy of the Draco system, Earth and its immediate colonies, controlled by the Red family, and establish the supremacy of the Pleiades Federation, Lorq’s home system. With worlds separated by light years, the principal industry is transportation, both the building of ships, controlled by the Red family, and the mining of fuel, a major Von Ray business, to propel them. The fuel is Illyrion, a precious substance because only small quantities can be extracted by mining it in the Outer Colonies. However, at the moment a star goes nova, tons of the stuff are created. Lorq has tried before to capture Illyrion and failed, but discovered that he can pilot straight through a nova and scoop of vast amounts of the stuff, seven tons to be exact, and thereby accomplish his twin goals. His quest and the various adventures it entails comprise the overarching narrative of the novel. And as a rip-roaring adventure novel, it in itself is a great yarn. In addition, though, Samuel R. Delany, who wrote this at age 25, jams quite a bit of sharp and witty observations on life grounded in the mundanity of good old Earth of 1968, not to mention current times. And it’s these layers that add immensely to the novel’s enjoyment.

Science fiction readers like to see authors create substantial worlds, both as backdrops to the action and as places removed the confines of this world. Delany’s worlds span light years in our galaxy, with some, like the planet Vorpis, at once alien, inhospitable, beautiful, and testament to human ingenuity. Those weaned on the likes of Star Trek and Star Wars like characters to traverse vast distances in the blink of an eye, and Delany doesn’t disappoint. Too, many want their protagonists larger than life, stronger, wittier, prettier, and humbly flawed. Here Delany provides a host of fatally flawed characters, like Prince Red, blind with revenge, Ruby Red, magnetically beautiful but unalterably attached to Red, and Lorq, who can’t see beyond an ambition that could destroy him. This, combined with the idea of power, how to get it, how to hold onto it, should satisfy a majority of readers.

Delany notches things up by expanding on other subjects very much on the minds of humans stuck here on Earth for the foreseeable future. In Delany’s distant future, race and nationality are still dividers, as crew member Mouse’s origin story reveals, not to mention the contrasted appearances of twins Lynceos and Idas. Too, Caucasians predominate in the Draco sphere, while both Pleiades and the Outer Colonies feature a racial mix, as Lorq himself exemplifies. Like our world of today, where we find ourselves not only attached to devices that determine to an increasing degree whether or not we will be successful, in Delany’s world, human and machine fuse via plug-in sockets that make flesh and metal one, and employment and acceptance accrue to those who accept this merging. Delany also ventures into philosophy as it involves creativity, with Mouse an accomplished musician able to conjure moods and worlds on his syrynx that incorporates a sort of hologram projector driven more by spontaneity vs. fellow crew member Katin, highly educated, given to long expositions on a variety of topics, and obsessed to the point of inaction by intellectualizing and planning the novel he wishes to write.

In short, then, Delany’s Nova can be read on a variety of levels, from fast-paced space opera to exploration of societal issues to metaphysics, enough to satisfy all types of sci-fi readers, as well as those who only occasionally read the genre.
( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
Delany, Samuel R. Nova. 1968. Open Road Media, 2014.
Nova is the novel that ends the first phase of Delany’s career. After this short, but well-detailed space opera, he turned to novels focusing on alternative sexuality and to writing Dhalgren, a long, difficult postapocalyptic novel with aspirations well beyond the limits of genre fiction. Nova describes a universe in which humanity is divided into two competing corporate stellar empires. The plot involves the competitive quest of the two empirical scions to obtain a rare substance created near an imploding star. It is a quest linked to the myth of the grail and involves regions of space where a Tarot deck predicts better than the ship’s computer. The characters are an odd lot who differ in race, sexual orientation and experience, culture, and social class. The most striking feature of the novel, though, is not its characters or its plot but its prose style. It is poetic and psychedelic. After all, it was published the same year LSD was made illegal. For a more modern reference, I read one review that compared it to the music of Queen. There is one scene describing a celebration that reminded me of Mardi Gras, set to the music of Pink Floyd. Read it yourself and come up with your own description. 4 stars. ( )
  Tom-e | Aug 5, 2021 |
My dear friend Jason Huntington (cognomen here on goodreads) recommended I read this. It was the second Delany book he ordered me to read, I never read the first but this one immediately captured me. It's a wonderful book and I highly recommend it. ( )
  wickenden | Mar 8, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Delany, Samuel R.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fitzgerald, RussellJacket Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, EddieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, AnthonyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Bernard and Iva Kay
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"Hey, Mouse! Play us something," one of the mechanics called from the bar.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the novel alone, not a novel omnibus.
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A quest for a priceless element--and revenge--fuels this far-future interstellar adventure that "reads like Moby-Dick at a strobe-light show" (Time).  In 3172, the universe is divided between three political units: the stars and worlds of Draco, with Earth as its power center; the Pleiades Federation, on whose capital world, New Ark, lives the incredibly wealthy Von Ray family, descended from well-heeled merchants whose ancestors made their fortune as pirates; and the Outer Colonies, where, in their underwater mines, tiny quantities of the fabulously valuable Illyrion have been discovered. Lorq Von Ray was a playboy and young space-yacht-racing captain who, at a party at Earth's Paris, clashed with Draco's Prince Red. This sets Lorq on a demonic quest, through which he hopes to find vengeance. When a star goes nova and implodes, in the seething stellar wreckage for a few days--even hours--lie tons of Illyrion, the element that makes interstellar travel possible. To help him secure the priceless fuel, Lorq recruits a gypsy musician, a would-be novelist, and some other ragtag misfits. But an even more dangerous fuel than Illyrion is revenge . . . This ebook features an illustrated biography of Samuel R. Delany including rare images from his early career. 

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