Item description for Tales of Neveryon by Samuel R. Delany...
Overview Five inter-connected stories set in a mythical past focus on the experiences of the slave Gorgik
Publishers Description In his four-volume series Return to Neveryeon, Hugo and Nebula award-winner Samuel R. Delany appropriated the conceits of sword-and-sorcery fantasy to explore his characteristic themes of language, power, gender, and the nature of civilization. Wesleyan University Press has reissued the long-unavailable Neveryeonvolumes in trade paperback.
The eleven stories, novellas, and novels in Return to Neveryeon's four volumes chronicle a long-ago land on civilization's brink, perhaps in Asia or Africa, or even on the Mediterranean. Taken slave in childhood, Gorgik gains his freedom, leads a slave revolt, and becomes a minister of state, finally abolishing slavery. Ironically, however, he is sexually aroused by the iron slave collars of servitude. Does this contaminate his mission -- or intensify it? Presumably elaborated from an ancient text of unknown geographical origin, the stories are sunk in translators' and commentators' introductions and appendices, forming a richly comic frame.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 8.5" Weight: 0.7 lbs.
Release Date Oct 31, 1993
ISBN 081956270X ISBN13 9780819562708
Availability 0 units.
More About Samuel R. Delany
Author of The Einstein Intersection, Nova, and Dhalgren.
Samuel R. Delany currently resides in the state of New York.
Reviews - What do customers think about Tales of Neveryon?
The most lyrically beautiful prose I've ever read. Sep 25, 2006
I read "Tales of Neveryon" on the airplane. I hate flying, I get nauseous, yet reading this book turned it into a delight. I don't remember another time when I savored the words so much (Storm Constantine comes close in "Wraeththu"). I usually like action & plot, scifi, space opera, and epic fantasy, and I don't like stories, so this was a surprise. I don't know how, or what it is about it, but it was simply pleasurable to read. Here's a random paragraph:
"What a glorious and useless thing to know, she thought, yet recognizing that every joy she ever felt before had mere been some fragment of the pattern sensed dim and distant, which now, in plurality, was too great for laughter - it hardly allowed for breath, much less awe! What she had sensed, she reallized as the words she could not hold awy any longer finally moved in, was that the world in which images occurred was opaque, complete, and closed, though what gave it its weight and meaning was that this was not true of the space of examples, samples, symbols, models, expressions, reasons, representations and the rest - yet that everything and anything could be an image of everything and anything - the true of the false, the imaginary of the real, the useful of the useless, the helpful of the hurtful - was what gave such strength to the particular types of images that went by all those other names; that it was the organized coherence of them all which made distinguishing them possible."
The sentences are long, the paragraphs can go on for several pages, but the language just flows...
Also, make sure to read the Appendix, it's a crucial part of the book. It talks about discovering ancient tablet and deciphering the language, uncovering the story that inspired the collection of these tales.
This book is what made me a Delany fan. I wasn't crazy about "Babel-17" or "Nova," it's amazing how different his writing styles are. I'm yet to make another attempt to conquer "Dhalgren." But I loved "The Einstein Intersection" - it has the same musical, magical, haunting quality to it as "Tales of Neveryon."
Just writing this review and quoting the book left me a little breathless, made me want to read it again, and get the rest of Neveryon books! (As soon as I get a job...)
Read the Series--Understand the Book Jun 23, 2004
Before anyone indulges in the luxury of on-line criticism, one should at least know (and respect) the correct spelling of the authors name. Samuel R. Delany (like the literal French for "of the New York", abbreviated), by his own admission, wrote Tales of Neveryon partly in repsonse to his own consumption of the Conan stories by Robert E. Howard, and Fritz Liebers (occasionally in collaboration with L. Sprague deCamp) Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser fantasy/fiction swords/sorcery stories. The French critics epigraphs which open the stories display SRDs depth of knowledge of literary criticism, although those critics and analysts of literature and society may no longer be popular. SRD also demonstrates his knowledge of archeology, ethnology, mathematics, physics, astronomy, and seamanship to a degree in all of the four (actually five, including Triton) books that are explicity about Neveryon, which itself is an intriguing "pun" or translation of a supposedly factual (it is, sadly, not) lost text or codex from repositories in Istanbul, Turkey (from which, only in 1906, the original proof by Archimedes for the volume and the area of the sphere were found in palimpsest form).
SRD indulges in the use of arcane terminology, as well, not in a bombastic way, but in a manner that will make you curious to research the meaning of the word. The tales, overall, are delightful, fascinating, and relevant to modern times in more ways than any individual could express. One leads into the other in a logical fashion, except perhaps the last book, alternatively titled "The Bridge of Lost Desire" or "Return to Neveryon", and all four (excluding Triton, which I have not as yet read) make a cohesive and interlocked whole experience and pleasurable, thoughtful reading.
Fantasy with a point Feb 18, 2003
If you're a big reader of fantasy, you might notice that sometimes the writers try to use their fantasy stories to make some sort of philosophical point, maybe try to comment on male/female relationships, or something equally weighty. More often than not, these come off as heavy-handed and clumsy, oversimplifying their point hideously to make sure everyone "gets it" and then hammering the same point home over the course of several books to the point of tediousness. Those type of books annoy the heck out of me. So it's nice to see someone actually doing it right with this book. Delany's fantasy world isn't strictly fantasy, per se (it has elements but is more like the world right when writing was first invented) but it's certainly not our world. So he creates this detailed world, shows it to us and then proceeds over the course of the stories in this book to make comments on our world and use the characters and situations to explore similar situations in the "real world". All of this is done without him standing up and screaming "Look! I'm being didactic!" and most of the time unless you're looking for the specific commentary, you won't even notice, that's how subtle it tends to be. Even better, Delany tends to just make his point and move, without laboring over the same idea in story after story. His ideas are different, too, than what you'd normally find in fantasy, it's not the usual "men and women don't understand each other" he looks into things like currency, the origins of feminism and the sexual nature of slavery. And even without the intellectual angle to these tales, they're entertaining in their own right, Delany's characters and settings are enormously exciting, and while there's not an overarching plot to the stories, characters do carry over from tale to tale and develop over time. And for all his examinations, Delany never forgets the most important thing about a story . . . keeping it interesting. His world is rendered with enough detail to fill several books and fortunately there were three other Neveryon books after this one. But those who think fantasy can't ever be smart should start here and see what else can be done with the genre. As fun as it is, it can't always boil down to "good versus evil."
An interesting look at humanity. Feb 9, 2003
"Tales from Neveryon" examines many facets of human existence, from gender roles to marriage (the slight hint of S&M mentioned by a previous reviewer) to the way the devlopment of the concept of money has changed us. When you read this book you get a chance to step outside of human culture. For the first time you see, objectively, the forces at work within society and within us. You see the way the past shapes the present, and the way your preconceptions shape the way you perceive the world.
This is an incredible book, well worth the time taken to read and understand its many complexities.
Enigmatic, lovely, and atypical Feb 12, 2002
Samuel Delany's Tales of Neveryon is a book which accomplishes something few ever have: it takes all of the basic elements of cliched sword & sorcery fantasy stories and weaves them into a suggestive, thought-provoking, allusive, and even haunting series of tales.
None of these stories follows any sort of traditional plot structure -- some of them have only the barest hint of plot at all. And yet they are deeply compelling, for Delany has infused so many of the situations with intellectual substructures, simultaneously evoking a carefully-imagined fantasy world, well-developed characters, and profound philosophical speculations (and aggravations) touching on everything from economics to literary theory to political and social science. None of it is heavy-handed, though, and certainly not dogmatic -- if not for some slyly suggestive epigraphs at the beginning of each tale, the deeper implications of many of the stories would be easy to miss. The tales build on each other, and by the second half of the book, if you can juggle all of the echoes in your mind, the process of accumulation makes the experience of reading all the richer.
By the end, the book feels a bit incomplete, because it has raised so many questions and introduced so many journeys that the reader is likely to hit the last page and think, "Where's the rest?" The rest is in the other books in the Neveryon series, and so though Tales of Neveryon is not complete in itself, there is a certain pleasure in knowing that the marvelous experience of reading this first book does not have to end.