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Samuel R. Delany – The Einstein Intersection

Title: The Einstein Intersection
Author: Samuel R. Delany
Year: 1967

It’s pretty difficult to be interested in science fiction without having heard about Samuel R. Delany, but apart from a few short stories, this is the first time I read his fiction. The Einstein Intersection was mentioned in Eric S. Rabkin’s lecture series about science fiction and was on my wish list for a long while until somebody gave it to me (my grandparents, I think). My impressions of the book are somewhat scattered, but I’ll do my best to make some sense out of them.

The Einstein Intersection is a story on at least two levels. On the surface, it’s a story about Lobey, one of the creatures who have come to inhabit Earth after mankind has gone, living in the ruins both in a literal and a figurative sense. Lobey’s sweet heart Friza, a mute and very special girl, is killed by the mysterious Kid Death, and he sets out retrieve and revenge her. On a deeper level, it’s a story about myths (especially the myth of Oedipus), but I’m not very well versed in this area and thus have some problems understanding all the references.

The foreword, written by Neil Gaiman, praises Delany to the hills, which of course also increased my own expectations. Gaiman says he has read the book three times: as a young boy, as a teenager and as an adult. I’m afraid I’m still in the teenager stage, because even though I can understand most of the obvious references, I fail to see much of the greatness Gaiman talks about in his foreword. in my opinion, this is a decent piece of fiction set in a moderately interesting setting, no more, no less. However, I do have the nagging feeling that this is due to ignorance and note because of a fault of the author’s. Perhaps I shall have to read the Einstein Intersection again later in my life, but for now, three snails will have to do.

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