Babel-17 & Empire Star
Book of the Month:
“Babel-17 & Empire Star” by Samuel R. Delany
Hello everyone – Good to see you all on Sunday to talk about “Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018”. There were strong feelings about favorites and least favorites but, overall, the book was another winner. The stories selected look at the world from unexpected and new perspectives but, for the most part, still manage to stay grounded. I’ll be writing back in here with some favorite stories soon (I left my book at home this morning).
We are due for some classic science fiction so have decided to look into the writings of Samuel Delany. Probably best known for “Dhalgren”, the dense, 800 pg monolith of sci fi, Delany’s work generally revolves around mythology, memory, language, sexuality, and perception. He also wrote one of the more disputed short stories from last month’s collection. So we decided to see what he’s all about.
The focus of our attention for this month is the novella “Empire Star”. Unfortunately this story of planets and aliens is out of print, but lucky us! “Empire Star” IS INCLUDED IN MOST PUBLICATIONS OF “Babel-17” BEGINNING WITH THE 2002 EDITION. So as a bonus, we also get the 1967 Nebula Award winning “Babel-17”.
Both “Empire Star” and “Babel-17” exist in the same universe and are reflective of Delany’s use of poetic language and use of stories within stories. Jo Walton in a review of “Empire Star” for TOR, says they love the story because it has “a fast-moving story and lots of lovely scenery and fascinating philosophical depth.” We’re in! Just be sure to check your editions before you buy them, we’d hate to have you miss out on either one of these stories. Below are a couple of reliable links to get yours:
REGARDING AUDIOBOOK: The Audible audiobook of “Babel-17” does not include “Empire Star”