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I do recommend reading sf classics at the same time as you work your way through this year's Hugo shortlist. It's a good yardstick for checking what's changed in the field and what hasn't. This is quite a long book, which ends without an ending, promising a second half of the story which has never appeared (and now that we are thirty years on probably shouldn't); there's lush and intense description, innovative use of pronouns (as in this year's top nominee Ancillary Justice, slavery, brain damage and a fair bit of bloke-on-bloke sex. The far future environment is rather reminiscent of the Culture, though of course the inspiration if any must be the other way round. Not a super fun read, but glad to have absorbed it and let it sink in.

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gareth_rees
Jun. 9th, 2014 05:33 pm (UTC)
This is one of my favourite novels, one that I've read half a dozen times. It's a study of the arbitrariness of the sign and the plurality of meanings. Things that we take for granted as being pan-cultural, like the number of cardinal directions on a compass, or the meaning and composition of a family, or the difference between an informal breakfast and a formal dinner, or what might be involved in hunting a dragon, Delany deconstructs here, to show us our parochialism.

Edited at 2014-06-09 05:34 pm (UTC)
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