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Booklog: Triton by Samuel R Delany

Triton is set in a future in which humanity has spread to various moons and planets in the solar system. On the moon Triton, people have a lot of freedoms that we don't have on present-day Earth, for example, they can wear whatever they please or nothing at all; they can change their bodies and their sexual/affectional orientation in whatever way they please; they can live in families, in co-ops (which accommodate a variety of orientations), or both; they can work or not; they can live in a neighborhood with laws or one that is deliberately zoned to be without laws.

Kind of like if you took Burning Man and put it on a moon of Neptune, I guess.

On this world lives a man named Bron, who meets a woman named the Spike. The story is told from Bron's point of view. There's some space travel and war but at least on this reading I didn't feel like that was particularly the point of the story, except to get the characters into some different settings to interact with. Maybe I missed something.

I loved reading about the sexual/gender/sartorial fluidity of the society. I was especially impressed by how the character of Bron is developed (or not, as the case may be) and revealed through his relationships. On the one hand Bron is kind of maddening because he is so clueless. On the other hand I am impressed because I rarely come across male authors who can do such a good job writing about the particular kind of cluelessness than Bron has. So I kept on reading about this maddening character mainly to see what Delany would do with him next. That meant I never really got sucked into the story, and I kind of like getting sucked into a story, so I would say this isn't an example of my most favorite kind of novel. But I still found it fascinating.

There are characters of color in the novel and it seemed to me that Delany mostly wasn't writing about race issues per se, but more imagining a world where color still exists but isn't a cause for conflict. I might be overlooking some stuff though.

The novel ends kind of abruptly.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 30th, 2009 07:19 am (UTC)
The novel ends kind of abruptly.

I don't think he *ends* his novels. He just gets ... done with them.
(Deleted comment)
May. 30th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
Really? Wow. I'd love to hear more.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 1st, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
That's really interesting.

As a teenager, I identified as straight, although it was an "I'm so not feminine, so why am I straight?" sort of straight*. But when I read books with poly/queer themes, those ways of living seemed normal to me.

I suspect that some kind of self-definitional process happened but it must have been a lot less conscious than yours was.

*(I started identifying as bisexual in my mid-20s).
Jun. 1st, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)
Burning Man! I'd never thought of it that way, but oh it is perfect.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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