Of Solids and Surds Notes for Noël Sturgeon, Marilyn Hacker, Josh Lukin, Mia Wolff, Bill Stribling, and Bob White Samuel R Delany

Why I Write
Publication date:
09 Nov 2021
Yale University Press
168 pages: 178 x 121mm
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In the fourth volume in the Why I Write series, the iconic Samuel Delany remembers fifty years of writing and shaping the world of speculative fiction

Science fiction dwells mostly in the realm of possibility, where mysteries proliferate nevertheless, meaning is never static, and “time and history have convinced us that things are not as they seem.” So too does all language, argues Samuel Delany, in his vigorous justification for the writing life.
Chronicling his struggle with dyslexia, the evolution of his gay and black identity during the AIDS crisis, and his experiences and relationships through five decades as a writer of fiction and nonfiction, Delany is a longtime observer of language’s inner workings. For Delany, the reasons to write are inextricably linked with the habits of reading. Like the number of galaxies in the multiverse, the possibilities are endless; but in the last analysis, we write to discover our own worlds in the worlds of others—and to promote an illusion of their sharing.

Samuel R. Delany is an award-winning novelist and critic who taught literature and creative writing at the University of Massachusetts, Temple University, and the State University of New York. He lives in Philadelphia, PA.

“Delany’s prismatic output is among the most significant, immense and innovative in American letters.”—Jordy Rosenberg, New York Times