This essay focuses on Delany’s representation of sadomasochism in a canonical science fiction novel and a recent pornographic novel. I draw on Elizabeth Freeman’s analysis of sadomasochism, queer temporality, and queer history to analyze Samuel Delany’s literary masochism first in Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand and then in Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders. I argue that masochistic time in Delany describes the way the past of slavery is activated in the play of sadomasochistic performance of history, which is bound up with the anxiety of anticipation for queer futurity.


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