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Stars in My Pocket like Grains of Sand / Samuel R. Delany [Hardcover]

Samuel R. Delany
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Toronto ; New York : Bantam Books; First Printing edition (1984)
  • ISBN-10: 0553050532
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553050530
  • ASIN: B000GLO2UC
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,069,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I wrestled with this novel more than usual. It is vividly written, a genuinely beautiful style that evokes a brilliantly conceived future world without completely explaining what is going on. If this is something you enjoy unravelling - even re-reading - this is a true masterpiece of scifi that can stand on its own as a fine novel. It is of the same caliber as Octavia Butler or Frank Herbert, in my view.

This novel plays with the reader in a number of unusual ways. First, there is the race of the protagonists: it makes a difference in the plot and meaning depending on how you picture it in your mind's eye. Second, there are so many basic plot/theme inferences that there are many different ways to connect the dots. While confusing, it is also a challenge. Third, there are many seemingly unrelated incidents, which may indeed form a whole if you can recognise the overall pattern of the tapestry. It is deliciously mysterious and fearfully evocative.

Spoiler warning. My reading of it is that there is a crisis, with the strangely destructive and apparently unknowable aliens. Into this, a learning disabled man miraculously survives a completely destroyed planet and with the help of technology assumes the charisma of an enlightened despot, which establishes a cult following of a frightened populace. But what is so amazing about this is the detail of the world as imagined, from the turtle-like nature species to the bizarre practices of an elite family (they taste rocks while hunting).

Warmly recommended.
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1.0 out of 5 stars The most annoying book I have ever read 19 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Gosh, there were many times when I felt like giving up on this tripe ( and in hindsight I wish I had !).

I have read Sci-fi all my life, and I have never come across such an empty story, written in such an unnecessarily opaque, annoying and padded style. A story riddled with made up words, concepts (such as the loss of meaning of "he" and "she"), and alternative family structures, none of which are explained or worked through satisfactorily.

Let me first of all give you a synopsis of the story: A lone survivor of an apocalyptic planet destruction is sent to another planet to meet someone who miraculously, is their sexual fantasy. After 24 hours the survivor is removed. We never get to know why ... that's it. The end.

The whole thing is ridiculously empty, and vast tracts of the book are filled with descriptions of a meal, of a hunt for dragons ( the animal itself never explained ), and of literature written by historical characters ... I would guess 60% of the book is nothing more than "filler"

On top of that, the style of writing is just pretentious, annoying opacity, for the sake of it. If you like reading paragraphs ( indeed, not even a paragraph, this is a sentence ! ) like this one below, then you will really enjoy the book. I HATED it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
66 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sequels In My Pocket Like Grains of Fairy Dust 17 Jun 2000
By neurotome - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I thought about the question for about one year, and I've come to the conclusion that "Stars" is my favorite book of all time. It has tremendous appeal as science fiction, escapism, political and gender theory, satire of modern-day cultural conflicts, and traditional character-driven fiction; and it is a 'novel' in the strict sense. So people looking for any of those things won't be disappointed.
But what I frequently hear from people whom I've persuaded to read this book is that it, somehow, caused them to open their perceptions; to feel that there were more ways of thinking, of feeling, of living than they had previously known. This is Delany's specialty; he did it first in "Dhalgren" but he does it best here, and in this respect no other author can match him. And this is a great talent and a great gift and why Delany will still be read when William Gibson has disappeared down the road that swallowed up Murray Leinster (two of my favorite SF authors, by the bye, and no offense intended.)
Naturally, when something is this good it immediately goes out-of-print. I'd recommend letting Amazon find you a copy - they found me a perfect mint condition first-edition hardcover for $31. I can't recall when I've been so happy about anything.
Oh, and the sequel. Science fiction fans around the world are awaiting it with some annoyance - he did publish the first chapter in 1997 in some academic journal (memory tells me the Journal of Contemporary Fiction, but memory could be way wrong), but it more frustrated and delimited than satiated that desire for closure to the story of Marq Dyeth, Rat Korga, Velm, Nepiy, the Thants, the Xlv, and the mysterious and sinister Web that snares them all. It's anybody's guess if he'll ever finish it, but I certainly hope he does!
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars New to Delany? Start Somewhere Else 13 Dec 2013
By alan sailer - Published on
I's like to start off by saying that I enjoy much of Delany's work, books like Nova, Dhalgren and others are among some of my favorite science fiction.

After seeing the number of highly positive reviews on this page I was excited to begin "Stars in My Pocket". But upon finishing the book I was very disappointed on every level.

The pace of the book was very, very slow with lots of very well written but ultimately uninteresting text.

The idea that your perfect erotic object is somehow magically your perfect love is just not how love/eroticism typically works. We all know a friend who is irresistibly attracted to someone who drives them crazy.

The re-re-use of the nail biting, large knuckled, veiny handed young male of dubious hygiene finally got tiresome for me.

After reading the nearly incomprehensible afterword by Delany I fear that this book was an experiment designed to please English graduates not regular science fiction readers.

If you are interested in Delany start with his short stories and go from there. He is an amazingly talented writer who went off course with this book.

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Blew My Mind and I Loved It 8 Nov 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Unknown Binding
I had no idea what I was getting into when I first read this book. It was given to me as a gift 15 years ago and I knew nothing of Delany at the time. But I had never before (and have never since) read such a richly complex and beautifully written book in my life. Few sci-fi stories manage to generate a feel deeper than a thinly veiled metaphor for the world around us. This book does. I have waited eagerly for 15 years for the sequel which never came (and as rumor has it never will). If Delany never finishes this story, it will be a terrible loss. I recommend it highly - but beware, the story goes places most of us have never gone and may not wish to go.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars imaginative architecture 5 Jun 2001
By kate pennell - Published on
Format:Unknown Binding
This is a book which gets inside your head and changes somehow the imaginative architecture of your mind. It is fascinating also on a theoretical level, social level as well as pure, joyful aesthetics. 'Stars' is also a book which shows what immense potential there is when staid, generic codes of sf are broken. I loved it, was amazed and will return to it every few years.... So like every other lover of this novel, I regret Delany's decision (?) not to write a sequel.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rewarding Complexity 24 Nov 1999
By Angela Wilhite - Published on
This book is one of few I found complex enough and satisfying enough to really hold my attention. Like a great musical work it gathers recurrent themes and variations to a stunning crescendo at the end of the first book- which left me maddened for the end of the story. I hear recurrent rumours that there is a sequel and I have been searching desperately for it for years. Delaney is a great master of literature unacknowledged by professors of lit because of his genre, and this book is the pinnacle of his career.
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