The state of Black sci fi, week 6: Samuel Delaney

I read Delaney’s trilogy, “The Fall of the Towers,” in the first omnibus edition, which was published in 1970. I was twenty-two years old, and I still remember the cover, which you can view in the Wikipedia article on the book here I found the novel both completely entrancing and completely confusing, a not uncommon state, I suspect, for readers of Delaney’s early work. The epic plot, the three races of man – men like modern-day humans, futuristic, telepathic forest giants and the small neanderthal-like race, hooked me from the start. The extravagant language, which I did not completely follow, swept me away, as did the multiple voices in which the story is told and the sweep of the plot. It impressed with the myriad possibilities the future may hold in a way that no work before or since has quite managed to do.

I have read a fair amount of Delaney, including his autobiography, “The Motion of Light in Water,” which I highly recommend, and a number of less confusing science fiction novels. But this work has a special place both in my heart and in my imagination.
Check out the other members of this Online Black History Month Event:

Check out my awesome fellow members of this Online Black History Month Event:

Winston Blakely, Artist/Writer– Fine Arts/Comic Book artist, having a career spanning 20 years, whose achievements have included working for Valiant Comics and Rich Buckler’s Visage Studios. He is also the creator of Little Miss Strange, the world’s first black alien sorceress and the all- genre anthology entitled – Immortal Fantasy. Both graphic albums are available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other online book store outlets. Visit him:

L. M. Davis, Author–began her love affair with fantasy in the second grade. Her first novel, Interlopers: A Shifters Novel, was released in 2010, and the follow-up Posers: A Shifters Novel will be released this spring. For more information visit her blog or her website
Milton Davis, Author – Milton Davis is owner/publisher of MVmedia, LLC . As an author he specializes in science fiction and fantasy and is the author of Meji Book One, Meji Book Two and Changa’s Safari. Visit him: and

Ja Ja (DjaDja) N Medjay , Author
—DjaDja Medjay is the author of The Renpet Sci-Fi Series. Shiatsu Practitioner. Holistic AfroFuturistic Rising in Excellence. Transmissions from The Future Earth can be found at: or on Facebook – or on Twitter –!/Khonsugo .

Margaret Fieland, Author– lives and writes in the suburbs west of Boston, MA
with her partner and five dogs. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines is available from Her book, “Relocated,” will be available from MuseItUp Publishing in July, 2012. The Angry Little Boy,” will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2013. You may visit her website,

Valjeanne Jeffers, Author — is an editor and the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend and Immortal III: Stealer of Souls. Her fourth and fifth novels: Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch: Clockwork will be released this spring. Visit her at: and

Thaddeus Howze, Author-
- is a veteran of the Information Technology and Communications industry with over twenty-six years of experience. His expertise is in re-engineering IT environments using process-oriented management techniques. In English, that means he studies the needs of his clients and configures their offices to optimize the use of information technology in their environment. Visit him: or

Alicia McCalla, Author—writes for both young adults and adults with her brand of multicultural science fiction, urban fantasy, and futurism. Her debut novel, Breaking Free will be available February 1, 2012. The Breaking Free theme song created by Asante McCalla is available for immediate download on itunes and Amazon. Visit her at:

Carole McDonnell, Author
–She writes Christian, speculative fiction, and multicultural stories. Her first novel is Wind Follower. Her short fiction has appeared in many anthologies and have been collected in an ebook, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction. Visit Carole: or

Balogun Ojetade, Author—of the bestselling “Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within” (non-fiction), “Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman” (Steampunk) and the feature film, “A Single Link”. Visit him:

Rasheedah Phillips, Author–is the creator of The AfroFuturist Affair in Philly. She plans to debut her first spec/sci-fic novel Recurrence Plot in Spring 2012. You may catch her ruminating from time to time on her blog,

Nicole Sconiers, Author-is also a screenwriter living in the sunny jungle of L.A. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and she recently published Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage. Visit her:

Jarvis Sheffield, M.Ed. is owner & operator of, & Visit him:

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4 Responses to The state of Black sci fi, week 6: Samuel Delaney

  1. Nicole says:

    “The epic plot, the three races of man – men like modern-day humans, futuristic, telepathic forest giants and the small neanderthal-like race, hooked me from the start. The extravagant language, which I did not completely follow, swept me away …”

    Sounds like an intriguing book, Margaret. I haven’t read any Samuel Delany yet, but I’ll have to remedy that after your enthusiastic critique of his writing. I tend to have little patience for confusing plots and dense language, but he’s been cited too much by other members of the blog hop for me to keep putting off his work.
    Nicole recently posted..The State of Black Sci-Fi 2012: My Tribute to Afrofuturist Betye Saar

  2. L. M. Davis says:

    I have read a bit of Delaney’s work, and you are right–he is dense. Based on what I have read, though, Delaney is a master world-builder. Even in his short stories, he creates these utterly foreign worlds that draw the reader in completely and that are absolutely compelling. He is definitely on my “read-more-of-this-guy/gal” list.

  3. Alicia McCalla says:

    Margaret, I thought I was the only one who didn’t get Delaney right away. I tried to read him in my twenties and was completely lost. Maybe I’ll try to pick him up again. That added 20 years should help. LOL! Thanks for your post this week.
    Alicia McCalla recently posted..The State of Black SciFi 2012: My Tribute to Octavia Butler

  4. Valjeanne Jeffers says:

    Great post Margaret! Samuel Delaney is indeed one of the most respected, and imaginative, SF writers of color.

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