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Trouble on Triton

An Ambiguous Heterotopia

Samuel R. Delany

Publication Year: 1996

In a story as exciting as any science fiction adventure written, Samuel R. Delany's 1976 SF novel, originally published as Triton, takes us on a tour of a utopian society at war with . . . our own Earth! High wit in this future comedy of manners allows Delany to question gender roles and sexual expectations at a level that, 20 years after it was written, still make it a coruscating portrait of "the happily reasonable man," Bron Helstrom -- an immigrant to the embattled world of Triton, whose troubles become more and more complex, till there is nothing left for him to do but become a woman. Against a background of high adventure, this minuet of a novel dances from the farthest limits of the solar system to Earth's own Outer Mongolia. Alternately funny and moving, it is a wide-ranging tale in which character after character turns out not to be what he -- or she -- seems.

Published by: Wesleyan University Press


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pp. 1-7


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pp. vii

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On Delany the Magician: A Foreword

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pp. ix-xii

"I feel the science-fictional enterprise is richer than the enterprise of mundane fiction. It is richer through its extended repertoire of sentences, its consequent greater range of possible incident, and through its more varied field of rhetorical and syntagmic organization. ...

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1. Der Satz

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pp. 1-20

He had been living at the men's co-op (Serpent's House) six months now. This one had been working out well. So, at four o'clock, as he strolled from the hegemony lobby onto the crowded Plaza of Light (thirty-seventh day of the fifteenth paramonth of the second yearN, announced the lights around the Plaza ...

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2. Solvable Games

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pp. 21-44

"What I mean," Bron said, as the case's wooden back, inlaid with ivory and walnut, clacked to the common-room's baize table, "is, how are you even supposed to know if you like something like that. . . ?" He gazed over the board: within the teak rim, in three dimensions, the landscape spread, mountains to the left, ocean to the right. ...

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3. Avoiding Kangaroos

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pp. 45-116

Audri, the boss he did like, put a hand on each of the cubicle's doorjambs and, standing at all sorts of Audri-like angles, said (with an expression he didn't like at all): "This is Miriamne—Bron, do something with her," then left. ...

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4. La Geste d'Helstrom

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pp. 117-134

The energy (and vividness) remained all the way to work, till, by three o'clock (he'd skipped lunch), when he was going over the Day Star's preprogram specifications yet again, it hit him: P would have to intersect (ess than half of Not-P (as well as pieces of Q, R, and S, while cleaving T); ...

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5. Idylls in Outer Mongolia

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pp. 135-184

They pushed through into a cement stairwell. He protested once and got a shove for it; they hurried him up. The walls and steps and banisters were grimed to an extent for which neither youth on Mars nor maturity on Triton had prepared him. More apprehensive each flight, he kept thinking: Earth is an old world . . . an old, old world. ...

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6. Objective Knowledge

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pp. 185-234

Nevertheless, in the eating place near the town square, they spent a good half hour over breakfast; the single digger also eating there engaged them in a particularly inane conversation: "They're always telling on the news about all those hundreds of political parties you have on each satellite, out where you guys are from." ...

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7. Tiresias Descending

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pp. 235-278

Her first minutes back at work, Bron was very nervous. She had considered the all-black outfit. But no, that would only be delaying things. The previous afternoon, she and Lawrence had gone to Lawrence's(!) design-rental house and spent an amusing two hours during which Lawrence had had the house make up ...

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Appendix A: From The Triton Journal

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pp. 279-290

"You know," Sam said pensively, "that explanation of mine this evening—about the gravity business?" They stood in the warm semidark of the co-op's dining room. "If that were translated into some twentieth-century language, it would come out complete gobbledygook. ...

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Appendix B: Ashima Slade and the Harbin-Y Lectures

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pp. 291-312

Just over a year ago, at Lux on lapetus, five million people died. To single out one death among that five million as more tragic than another would be monumental presumption. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780819571953
Print-ISBN-13: 9780819562982

Page Count: 326
Publication Year: 1996