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Silent Interviews

On Language, Race, Sex, Science Fiction, and Some Comics--A Collection of Written Interviews

Samuel R. Delany

Publication Year: 1994

Samuel R. Delany, whose theoretically sophisticated science fiction and fantasy has won him a broad audience among academics and fans of postmodernist fiction, offers insights into and explorations of his own experience as writer, critic, theorist, and gay black man in his new collection of written interviews, a form he describes as a type of "guided essay." Gathered from sources as diverse as Diacritics and Comics Journal, these interviews reveal the broad range of his thought and interests.

Published by: Wesleyan University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Introduction:Reading and the Written Interview

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pp. 1-18

The alley was cradled wall to wall with white, which, out on the street, three days' traffic had beat down to gray batting. Curb and cobbles were edged with ice, and a January rain battered the frozen scabs into an aluminum crush...

Part 1

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1. The Semiology of Silence:The Science Fiction Studies Interview

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pp. 21-58

Samuel R. Delany: I begin, a sentence lover. I'm forever delighted, then delighted all over, at the things sentences can trip and trick you into saying, into seeing. I'm astonished—just plain tickled!—at the sharp turns and tiny tremors they can whip your thoughts across...

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2. Toto, We're Back!The Cottonwood Review Interview

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pp. 59-82

Samuel R. Delany: Let me begin with a theoretical precept that will probably color any answer I give, even to your simplest questions: There are some today who would argue that there is no such thing as "experience"—lived experience, as it is sometimes called...

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3. Refractions of Empire:The Comics Journal Interview

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pp. 83-126

Dennis O'Neil: How would you compare Empire to your novels? Are there any essential differences in themes, characters, obsessions... ? Samuel R. Delany: Well, obsessions are such that you don't get away from them. They'll probably be all too apparent. Still, I'm more aware of the differences between written and visual media...

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4. Sword & Sorcery, S/M, andthe Economics of Inadequation:The Camera Obscura Interview

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pp. 127-163

Return to Neveryon (your series of tales and novels set in the imaginary land of prehistoric—or marginally historic—Neveryon) foregrounds a transformation from a barter economy to a money economy, a transformation you've suggested is a common theme of the sword-and-sorcery subgenre. In these tales the marketplace becomes...

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5. Some Real Mothers...:The SF Eye Interview

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pp. 164-185

Takayuki Tatsumi: Let me begin with a brief introduction. Last autumn [1986] it was very exciting to watch you teach science fiction— especially the cyberpunk writers—at Cornell University, where you were a senior fellow at Cornell's Society for the Humanities...

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6. Science Fiction and Criticism:The Diacritics Interview

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pp. 186-215

Takayuki Tatsumi: Let me begin by expressing my congratulations on your receiving this year's Pilgrim Award at the last SFRA (Science Fiction Research Association) conference. In 1984, you seem to have been quite prolific. You finished a novel...

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7. Sex, Race, and Science Fiction:The Callaloo Interview

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pp. 216-230

Robert F. Reed-Pharr: Sex and sexuality are recurring themes in all of your later works. I wonder what meaning, what insights, you believe it's possible to glean from an examination of sexuality, particularly that of the sexual "minorities," the homosexual, the sadomasochist...

Part II

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1. The Kenneth James Interview

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pp. 233-249

Kenneth James: The relation of the artist to his society is a recurring theme in nearly all of your novels. The central characters of your stories are, almost without exception, artists of some kind. In SF the protagonists are often scientists: logical, analytical types. What interests you in the artist's creative and emotional responses to the world?...

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2. The Susan Grossman Interview

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pp. 250-268

Samuel R. Delany: For years now various people have said that, in my various critical articles, I've tended toward promiscuous autobiographizing. In criticism, I've always been generous with personal anecdotes about the incidents that led me to what some critics are comfortable...

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3. The K. Leslie Steiner Interview

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pp. 269-286

K. Leslie Steiner: Your book Silent Interviews, due out shortly from Wesleyan University Press, collects a shy dozen, major, meaty interviews, that have appeared in publications as diverse as Diacritics and the Comics Journal. But, looking through my Delany files...


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pp. 287-312


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pp. 313-327

E-ISBN-13: 9780819571922
Print-ISBN-13: 9780819552761

Page Count: 334
Publication Year: 1994

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Subject Headings

  • Delany, Samuel R. -- Interviews.
  • Authors, American -- 20th century -- Interviews
  • Science fiction -- Authorship.
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