the sexy thing about samuel r. delany
April 2, 2019
The worlds that Samuel R. Delany writes are expansive, the attention to detail and the rivetting way he collapses your logic to insert a better, more provocative logic and world in its place is masterful. But it was Delany on sex that changed my own world: Time Square Red, Time Square Blue is a book of two essays that compliment one in another with a mission to explore and normalize sexual habits usually moralized as bad in the mainstream.
In Time Square Red, Time Square Blue he also offer the idea that public sex — sex that happened in the theaters and stores of the old Time Square in New York City, before it was the theme park it is today — was a rare place for people of different classes to meet, intersect, and potentially, share resources and information. The idea becomes even more compelling when I meditate on how stratified American culture continues to be where seperation and priviatization are noramlized, and the spaces that classes can intermix are quickly shrinking. Delany’s Bread and Wine: An Erotic Tale of New York shares a similar tone where through art and storytelling, Delany forces you to hold both his sexuality, his relationship with New York City and his sexual and romantic partner along with a severe critique on capitalism, homelessness and how class influences destiny.
This is to say Samuel R. Delany — science fiction writing, Black, gay, and mature — shifted and helped evolve the way I both engage my sexuality, private parts, public spaces, and making sense of it in the world and on the page. He often refers to himself as sex radical, which he is, but I mostly refer to him as the Black gay man in society that taught through example how to bring your whole world, both respectable and vulgar, to your audience — even if it is a little nasty.
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