Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Einstein Intersection by Samuel Delany

I already feel like I've failed Samuel Delany by even thinking about how to write this review. Here's the problem. The Einstein Intersection is incredible. I want to buy everyone I know a copy and tell everyone I know to read this book. I know that this book is about being different. And discovering what being "different" means and becoming comfortable with that. With the quest for finding meaning in that. It's about that journey. It's about mythology. It's about our ties, our connections and how others can help us along that journey in finding ourselves while we think the journey may be about something else entirely. I know all this. But at the same time, I feel that this book is so much more than that and I can't do it justice :( What I can tell you is that I plan on reading everything that Delany has written after reading this book. In Neil Gaiman's introduction to this book, he says he first read this as a child. I wish I would've first read this as a child. I find that there are books that I go back and read now that seem "difficult" that seemed quite easy to me as a child. There's something about the world that starts to cloud our minds, complicate our minds as we grow....that we can't accept a story for what it is. Or maybe it's the opposite. That we finally understand and face what we didn't know we had to face as a child. Either way, I wish I read this as a child like Mr. Gaiman had. On it's surface, this is a work of speculative fiction. But don't let that shy you away from it if you think "oh, I don't like sci-fi". Let this be the novel that shows you that the word "genre" does not have to limit your enjoyment of a novel. It's set in the future where a different race of people have taken over our planet. Humans have long left earth and this new race now lives in the shell we left behind. The use the term "lo" for males, "la" for females and "le" for those beings who are neither as a prefix to their names. Lo Lobey is our main character and when his friend dies and he goes in search for her, we find that he is really on a search to find his true self. He finds that the world is more than his village. There are others like him. Others who are "different", more different than him. There are people who reject the terms Lo, Le and La for gender. As I said before, it's a novel (a short novel) that's so important to the issues going on today despite the fact that it was first published in the 60s. The edition that I have has a wonderful introduction by Neil Gaiman that explains the importance and beauty of the novel (without spoilers) much better than I ever could. It also has author notes throughout the book direct from Delany's personal journals that record his thoughts as he was writing the book and I enjoyed reading those just as much as I enjoyed the book itself. I wish I could convey how much I really enjoyed this book. What it all meant to me. I feel like it was a true epic packed into a short 150 or so pages. There was so much written in between the lines and I don't know that I even fully grasped it all. It's one that certainly deserves a reread or two. But I'm glad that I finally gave this one an initial read. It's one that's been on my list for awhile now!

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