Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

In many of his works, Samuel R. Delany explores the way in which preconceptions affect perceptions. How do the heroes come to realize that their perceptions may be at fault? Why might Delany consider this an important moment?

Delany’s work often uses a quest structure, in which a physically or psychically damaged protagonist attempts to find a way to reverse that damage. How does that structure work— for or against the story—in Dhalgren?

Why does Delany use a genre form, the fantasy story, in his Neveryon series? What phenomena does using it allow him to explore? What assumptions are automatically made in a fantasy story that Delany uses in the books?

In Atlantis: Three Tales, why are all three protagonists named Sam? What similarities do they possess, and how do those similarities help them reach their final conclusions?

Why, in Triton, does Delany deliberately use an antihero? What characteristics of Bron does he not want the reader to identify with? How would a traditional hero have acted differently?