10 Reasons Why Everyone Should Read Samuel R. Delany

Most of these boil down to “because he’s AWESOME,” but if you need more convincing, read on.

1. The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America named him their 2013 Grand Master.

This puts him in the company of writers like Ray Bradbury (1989 Grand Master) and Ursula K. Le Guin (2003 Grand Master).

2. He’s won two Hugo Awards and four Nebula Awards.

Fun fact: He didn’t even know he’d won his first Nebula Award for Babel-17 until the reception!

3. His eleventh novel, Dhalgren, is one of the bestselling science fiction novels of all time.

More than one million copies sold!

4. Junot Díaz considers Delany his favorite New Yorker.

Díaz told Time Out that he considers Delany “an extraordinary individual man. He’s also the coolest, funniest motherfucker in the world.” Dhalgren also gets a shoutout in Díaz’s bestseller This Is How You Lose Her.

5. He taught Octavia E. Butler.

Yeah. THE Octavia E. Butler. She was twenty-three years old when she attended the Clarion Science Fiction Workshop where Delany was teaching, and he called brilliance right then and there.

6. Despite dropping out of college after one semester, he’s been a professor at several universities.

Since 1988, he’s taught at several colleges, including the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University at Buffalo, and Temple University (currently). #genius #winning #revolutionary #boss #beatingthesystem

7. He briefly wrote for Wonder Woman.

Back when Wonder Woman was in a karate gi instead of her American flag get-up and the series had some social bite.

8. Neil Gaiman is a fan.

From the journal of the author of American Gods and The Sandman: “Writing as well as Chip Delany is a fine thing to aim for.” They’re on a nickname basis!

9. His work is versatile and cross-genre.

Dhalgren can be read with equal validity as science fiction, magical realism, metafiction, or some combination thereof. Novels aside, Delany also writes memoirs, literary criticism, and essays on sexuality and society.

10. He has an awesome beard.

Because imagined futures and outsider narratives get even better when you picture Santa Claus as the author.

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