BooksOfTheMoon

Empire Star

By Samuel R. Delany

Rating: 4 stars

Comet Jo is a teenager on an single-produce asteroid who dreams of the stars. When an organic spaceship bearing a special jewel crashes near him, he’s entrusted with a message that must reach the Empire Star to free a slave race upon whom interstellar civilisation depends, and his journey to a wider universe begins.

I felt this book to be quite disjointed in places but about half-way through realised that this was because of a somewhat unreliable narrator. That and the somewhat Ouroboros-nature of the story make it difficult to keep track of what’s going on at times, but it’s worth it. There’s a strong coming-of-age story here, and the central idea that modes of thinking are ‘plex’ (as in simplex, complex and multiplex) and that these can be learned, is good. Jo starts off as a simplex kid, with narrow ‘small-town’ horizons, but by the end, his thinking has widened and becoming multiplex, enabling him to analyse more complicated situations. This is a very short book, at just over 100 pages, but it packs a lot of ideas into that space. Enjoyable stuff.

Book details

ISBN: 9780553234251
Publisher: Bantam Books, Inc.
Year of publication: 1966

Nova

By Samuel R. Delany

Rating: 4 stars

Lorq von Ray is captain of a starship and scion of one of the richest families in the galaxy. He gathers a motley crew to help him pilot his ship into a nova to claim Illyrion: the most valuable energy source known to man.

This was a great book with some very wide-ranging themes, although primarily obsession. Lorq is obsessed with Illyrion and goaded on by a feud with a rival family. The crew of the ship also form interesting characters and provide the backdrop to the star-spanning feud of the principal character. The universe of the novel is set out in detail with throwaway references and little mollycoddling to start with, although some exposition late helps fill in the gaps to making a fascinating universe. Definitely recommended.

Book details

ISBN: 9780375706707
Publisher: Vintage
Year of publication: 1968

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