Saturday, 12 September 2009
Attention Prisoners of Gravity: The Polymath, Or The Life And Opinions Of Samuel R. Delany, Gentleman
"The Polymath isn't about just [Delany's] sex life, but a good chunk of it is and it all relates to his writings. Take for example an early scene in which he is reading, to an audience, the opening paragraphs of his 1966 short story, 'Aye and Gomorrah' (which first appeared in fellow science fiction author Harlan Ellison's groundbreaking anthology, Dangerous Visions). The story begins in France in a pissoir and Delany describes this as 'an early attempt to deal, in a highly coded fashion, with homosexuality.' That it involves a public restroom invokes the obvious autobiographical element.
"This is also true for Times Square Red Times Square Blue. In this nonfiction opus, Delany argues that 'cleaning up' Times Square and turning it into Disneyland is not a good thing because, once upon a time, people from different races and classes, normally kept separate, met and interacted in the only social situation available to them and that was the porn theaters. Delany is one of the few writers alive who can explicitly describe the public sex, involving himself and others, that went on in these venues and work it into an essay about the infrastructure of cities.
"But all of his metaphors aren't carnal. The ruined and mostly abandoned city in Dhalgren (a book that is the science fiction equivalent of James Joyce's Ulysses) was inspired by the real burned out inner cities he knew from life. He explains that the reasons for making the gender of certain characters ambiguous in Stars In My Pocket Like Grains Of Sand (1984) was because he once lived in a hotel with several transsexuals and it drove him crazy, at first, when he couldn't discern the sex of some of the people in the elevator with him.
"Besides his writings, Delany also discusses his life and his family's history. His grandfather was a freed slave, a cousin was killed by the Klan, his two famous aunts (who both lived to be over 100) organized a picket line at a movie theater showing Birth Of A Nation in 1924. Chip has much to say on the subject of racism, comparing the attitudes of white students towards Paul Robeson at Columbia Law School to the skinheads who dragged James Bird Jr. to his death as he was chained to the back of their truck."
"Sexuality & Science Fiction 101" by Michael D. Klemm
"Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation has acquired the rights to The Forever War, an award-winning 1974 novel by science fiction author and MIT writing professor Joe Haldeman. The film will be directed by Ridley Scott, whose last science fiction films were Alien and Blade Runner. The producers are now searching for a writer.
"In Haldeman’s novel, a physicist is drafted into a long-fought war against an alien race, where distant battlegrounds are reached by faster-than-light travel. The battles are short, bleak affairs against an uncommunicative enemy, with frequent casualties. When he returns, the protagonist finds that the world has changed in his absence.
"Basically, The Forever War is 'all about Vietnam,' said Haldeman, a draftee who served in Vietnam’s Central Highlands in 1968. 'I didn’t sit down and make a chart or anything,' he said, 'but the [Vietnam] war was my model. The book won a Nebula Award and a Hugo Award, two of science fiction’s most coveted honors.
Prof. Haldeman’s Novel ‘Forever War’ Picked Up By 20th Century Fox Film
By Michael McGraw-Herdeg