The best part about Samuel Delany's Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand is the immense amount of detail he puts into his world. In the introductory passage about Rat Korga, the amount of back-story in the world is simply incredible. At first, the novel merely hints at interesting events, polar research stations, and the q-plague. But when Korga is bought illegally and hooked up to General Information, the amount of work Delany has put into his world really shows. Korga is soon asked what the four largest geosectors on the world are. He answers perfectly, with four names that actually sound like they fit into the world he is on. Next, the four smallest. And yet again, Korga answers with names that fit into the world. "Hebel-E" is my favorite, because it suggests something behind that strange hyphenated E at the end of the word. The four names weren't merely random made up words; they seem to have some though behind them. That really helps Delany's world come to life. Next come the books that Korga reads. He reads over 50 books, and to most authors that would be enough to say. Delany on the other hand names almost all of them, and names that seem to make sense for the planet they live on. Two are named a variant of sand, one after wind. Each of the books has some sort of blurb given about it as Korga assimilates its text. Here the sheer though Delany puts into his back story is amazing. Not only does each novel fully realize itself, it also makes references to other authors and novels that Korga read, in a way that doesn't seem contrived. When these books that Korga read fit together, they bring forth a life on the world that seems far stronger than that seen through the rat so far. Delany is a master at giving hints of back-story, which fit in well with the story and keep the work entertaining. Later on, he uses GI and Vondramach to do the same thing, fill in holes of information with interesting tidbits. In the process he creates a very vibrant world.
Detail in Delany's world
By amphiskios - Posted on 12 March 2008 - 9:27am.