The Tale of Signs and Cities—Some Informal Remarks Towards the Modular Calculus, Part Four
Sales Date: 1993-11-29
402 Pages, 5.37 x 8.50 in
A novel of myth and literacy about a long-ago land on the brink of civilization. Vol 2
In his four-volume series Return to Nevèrÿon, 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 Nevèrÿonvolumes in trade paperback.
The eleven stories, novellas, and novels in Return to Nevèrÿon'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.
"Delany continues to surprise and delight . . . [his] playfulness is the kind that involves you in the flow, forces you to see details in a larger context, yet never lets you forget that what you are reading is, after all, nothing but artifice, a series of signs."~New York Times Book Review
""Instead of dishing out the usual, tired mix of improbable magic and bloody mayhem, Delany weaves an intricate meditation on the nature of freedom and slavery, on the beguiling differences between love and lust . . . the prose has been so polished by wit and intellect that it fairly gleams.""~San Francisco Chronicle
""The tales of Nevèrÿon are postmodern sword-and-sorcery . . . Delany subverts the formulaic elements of sword-and-sorcery and around their empty husks constructs self-conscious meta-fictions about social and sexual behavior, the play of language and power, and — above all — the possibilities and limitations of narrative. Immensely sophisticated as literature . . . eminently readable and gorgeously entertaining.""~Washington Post Book World
""Delany continues to surprise and delight . . . [his] playfulness is the kind that involves you in the flow, forces you to see details in a larger context, yet never lets you forget that what you are reading is, after all, nothing but artifice, a series of signs.""~New York Times Book Review
""This is fantasy that challenges the intellect . . . semiotic sword and sorcery, a very high level of literary gamesmanship. It's as if Umberto Eco had written about Conan the Barbarian.""~USA Today
"The Nevèrÿon series is a major and unclassifiable achievement in contemporary American literature."~Fredric R. Jameson
"Delany's work exists on a kind of borderline — between theory and literary practice, between canonical and popular culture, between academic and nonacademic culture — a borderline familiar to feminist theory and cultural critique. The Nevèrÿon series is one of the most sustained meditations we have on the complex intersections of sexuality, race, and subjectivity in contemporary cultures.""~Constance Penley
"I consider Delany not only one of the most important SF writers of the present generation, but a fascinating writer in general who has invented a new style."~Umberto Eco