Aye, and Gomorrah, and other stories

Aye, and Gomorrah, and other stories

infobox Book |
name = Aye, and Gomorrah
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption = Cover from the first edition
author = Samuel R. Delaney
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = United States
language = English
series =
genre = Science fiction
publisher = Vintage
release_date = 2003
english_release_date =
media_type = Print (Paperback)
pages = 383 pp
isbn = ISBN 0-375-70671-2
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"Aye, and Gomorrah, and other stories", by Samuel R. Delany (Vintage Books, 2003) is a thematically arranged collection, in the style of James Joyce’s "Dubliners" (1914), Sherwood Anderson’s "Winesburg, Ohio" (1919), and Willa Cather’s "Youth and the Bright Medusa" (1920). Also, for all practical purposes, it is Delany’s collected science fiction and fantasy tales. The book is closely based on an earlier collection, "Driftglass", which first appeared in 1971. The dedication to the two books is similar. (One is simply an updated version of the other, dedicating the book to Delany’s immediate family: his maternal grandmother, mother, sister, and father.) Both carry identical epigraphs. The ten tales contained in "Driftglass" are all contained in "Aye, and Gomorrah", and in the same order — followed by five other stories, all of which are fantasies of one sort of another. Indeed, the stories consist of ten science fiction tales, in the order the writer wrote them, followed by five fantasies, also in chronological order.

When the first collection was put together, Delany and his editor gave serious thought to calling it "Aye, and Gomorrah", instead of "Driftglass". The eponymous title story had won Delany his third Nebula Award — this one for best short story of 1967, so that using it to entitle his first collection would have seemed a reasonable choice. But New American Library, the initial contractors for the book (who had leased it to the Science Fiction Book Club, for a hard cover edition that would appear a year before their paperback), decided they did not want a title that pushed any of the homosexual implications in the stories. Note, nevertheless, that even "Driftglass", with its suggestion of wandering, continues the theme of homelessness that the current title and the epigraph suggest. Thus, it is probably not wrong to read "Aye, and Gomorrah, and other stories" as an ideal version of the older "Driftglass".

The unifying thematic, suggested by the epigraph, is that it is a book in which the science fiction stories are largely about the problems of people who do not live in the city of their birth--who have all come to where they are from somewhere else. The epigraph — on the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, from a speaker who clearly has great feeling for the destroyed cities — suggests that his home city has been devastated. In some of the tales, such as the opening story in both books, “The Star-Pit,” the narrator’s family and children have been destroyed in a horrific war many years before and many light years away: a war of a sort, which, in the future the story depicts, has become so common that it would seem to be a background reality gotten through for better or for worse by pretty much everyone who currently survives. And the fantasies, such as “Prismatica,” “Dog in a Fisherman’s Net,” and “Ruins” all deal with the possibilities or the wages of journeying from one's home. Only three Delany SF stories are not included in "Aye, and Gomorrah". All three are slight enough so that one can understand why Delany might not wish to preserve them: two are collaborations, one with Harlan Ellison (“The Power of the Nail,” contained in Ellison’s collection of collaborations "Partners in Wonder"); the other is a page-long prose poem, “The Dying Castles,” which appeared in a 1968 issue of the British SF magazine "New Worlds" (#200), as under the joint authorship of James Sallis, Samuel R. Delany, and Michael Moorcock. (Several times Delany has said that he has no memory of having written any part of it; and he has assumed the use of his name among the authors was a jape.) The third is a piece only slightly longer called “The Desert of Time,” which was commissioned by "Omni Magazine" to accompany an illustration in the late 1980s. But other than the stories that comprise his four-volume Return to Nevèrÿon series, it is fair to say that "Aye and Gomorrah" represents the totality of Delany’s SF and fantasy short fiction.


* "The Star Pit"
* "Corona"
* "Aye, and Gomorrah..."
* "Driftglass"
* "We, in Some Strange Power’s Employ, Move on a Rigorous Line"
* "Cage of Brass"
* "High Weir"
* "Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones"
* "Omegahelm"
* "Among the Blobs"
* "Tapestry"
* "Prismatica"
* "Ruins"
* "Dog in a Fisherman’s Net"
* "Night and the Loves of Joe Dicostanzo"
* Afterword: Of Doubts and Dreams


*cite web
last = Brown
first = Charles N.
authorlink = Charles N. Brown
coauthors = William G. Contento
title = The Locus Index to Science Fiction (2003)
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.locusmag.com/index/yr2003/t14.htm#A615
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-01-03

External links

* [http://www.oneringcircus.com/ag_errata.html Errata page for Aye, and Gomorrah, approved by the author]

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