Friday, June 24, 2016

Follow Friday - 261 Was Kathrine Switzer's Bib Number When She Became the First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon

It's Friday again, and this means it's time for Follow Friday. There has been a slight change to the format, as now there are two Follow Friday hosts blogs and a single Follow Friday Featured Blogger each week. To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow both of the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts (Parajunkee and Alison Can Read) and any one else you want to follow on the list.
  2. Follow the Featured Blogger of the week - Mikayla's Bookshelf.
  3. Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments.
  5. Follow, follow, follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "Hi".
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the love . . . and the followers.
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If you're new to the Follow Friday Hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
And now for the Follow Friday Question: Name one or more standalone books that you wish was a series.

I'm going to pick a book that was originally supposed to have a sequel, but which still does not. Stars in My Pocket, Like Grains of Sand by Samuel R. Delany was originally published in 1984. When it was published, Delany intended to follow it up with a book titled The Splendor and Misery of Bodies, of Cities, but this sequel remains unfinished, and sadly will probably never be completed. I hold out some small hope, because Delany is still alive and a miracle might happen that motivates him to complete this long-unfinished work, but the reality is that he has shown no interest in it in decades.

Despite this, I keep hoping because Stars in My Pocket, Like Grains of Sand is a brilliant work of science fiction. Set in a distant future in which humanity has spread out over thousands of star systems dominated by two loose alliances - the permissive Sygn, and the conservative Family. These two alliances exist to try to prevent the phenomenon of "cultural fugue", a destructive cycle in which runaway social and technological complexity combine into a force that results in the complete annihilation of entire planetary populations.

The book centers on a relationship between "Rat" Korga, a tall social malcontent who has undergone an extreme medical procedure called "radical anxiety termination" and is the only known survivor of a planet that has undergone cultural fugue, and Marq Dyeth, an industrial diplomat who lives on a planet humanity shares with the three-gendered evelm. The two are determined to be a perfect match by the WEB and Rat is equipped with a device that overcomes his near total lobotomization and sent to meet Marq. Much of the meat of the book surrounds their very short relationship, and uses this to explore the sexual dynamics, cultural implications, and political relations of this distant and alien, but still very human society that Delany conceived.

The book does have an ending and so is more or less able to stand alone, but as one might expect for a book that was originally conceived of as a diptych, that ending is somewhat ambiguous and vaguely unsatisfying. The personal and professional conditions under which Delany wrote Stars in My Pocket, Like Grains of Sand are long gone, and are extremely unlikely to ever be replicated, so we will likely never see the promised conclusion to this two-part series. I can only hope that there is an alternate reality out there somewhere in which The Splendor and Misery of Bodies, of Cities was written, and that maybe circumstances will turn in such a way that a copy from this alternate reality will wind up in my hands someday.

Subsequent Follow Friday: The Poet Philemon Died in 262 B.C.

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