On finishing a Delany novel

Finally finished Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand, after seventeen years. And I have to say, there’s a certain amount of melancholy about it as well as the euphoria of just having finished reading a brilliant novel.

Euphoria: Stars is such a good book. Like Marq Dyeth, the narrator of half the work, it overflows with so many words that you almost miss what’s really happening. The strange love story at its heart is ultimately wrenching even though it’s foreign to everything I have ever experienced or felt. And the portrayal of both the cruel doomed world of Rhyonon and the almost as cruel but more beautiful world of the Dyeths and the evelmi. And the brilliant, tossed off insights: Dyeth’s connection to “General Information” is so exactly like what a conversation becomes when both participants are armed with Google that it’s only incidentally astonishing that G.I. is also called “The Web.” Written in 1984, folks.

Melancholy: Delany projected a larger work from this book, but the second book in the diptych (promised on an early page to be called The Splendor and Misery of Bodies, of Cities) was never written, leaving the hinted-at destiny of Rat Korga and Marq Dyeth unfinished, unwritten.