Reading Delany's Fiction and Criticism

Please print out a copy of Samuel Delany's short story “Time Considered as a Helix of Precious Stones” (1969) and his 1968 essay “About 5,750 Words” (1968)  Please read both texts from start to finish.  Then, briefly write about your response to each in your reading journal.  Afterward, please read both again, this time taking notes and attending to the story's elements as a fictional text (plot, character, setting, narrative perspective, figurative language, themes) more carefully, its relationships to various issues related to science fiction as a genre and to some recurring elements or properties of science fiction texts, and in what ways specific elements of this story may relate to Delany's essay about the writing and study of fiction.   Afterward, please write some more about each story and the essay, what you now understand about them, and questions that you have about them.

Finally, please post three paragraphs in response to this post BY MIDNIGHT, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, the first briefly summarizing Delany's story and describing it in terms of its elements as a fictional text, the second briefly summarizing Delany's essay, the third explaining what you found most interesting about each text and how the two texts may relate to one another.  [Please note: if it is easier to write about each text separately, feel free to use the third paragraph to write about Delany's story and add a fourth for the essay]  Finally, feel free to post one to three questions that you have about the texts.

Though not required, please feel free to post links that you may have consulted in the process of reading the stories and why you found them helpful.  What is required is that you read the two texts carefully, write about them in your reading journal, and think about them in the context of our class discussions, Russ's "The Second Inquisition," Pohl's "Day Million," Philip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale,” our discussions about that story, the issues and topics raised in the “Introduction” to the Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction and the collection of responses gathered in “Why Do You Read Science Fiction.”  We will be discussing the storiy and essay and your responses to both in our next class session.

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