Samuel R. “Chip” Delany

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Known for his novels and his nonfiction essays, Delany – currently a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, though he has taught elsewhere – is an acclaimed science fiction author with a host of titles and awards to his name, including: four Nebula Awards; two Hugo Awards; two Lambda Awards; induction into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame; and the title of SFWA Grand Master, which, at the time of this writing, he shares with only twenty-nine other luminaries. His decades of writing have produced a curriculum vitae too extensive to be easily summarized: he has created everything from a graphic novel memoir of how he met his formerly-homeless partner, to twin essays on the changing sexual and class dynamics of Times Square, to a more conventionally speculative fiction look at the nature of power and slavery, all to popular and critical acclaim.

For Delany, sex is an integral part of storytelling, and one he wants no part in censoring. His walk stands by his talk: one book, Hogg, was unable to locate a publisher for nearly thirty years due to its sexual content. (Michael Hemmingson, writing for The Review of Contemporary Fiction, describes Hogg thusly: “Narrated by an eleven-year-old nameless boy who starts off as a prostitute and later hooks up with putrescent, murderous Hogg in a weekend of sexual lechery, scatological waywardness, and Vikingesque ‘raping and pillaging,’ the book would undoubtedly offend many readers.”) Delany’s view – informed by living through the early years of the AIDS epidemic, as well as his own identity as a gay man – is that sexual ignorance can be lethal, and suppressing it in his own work would be doing a disservice to his readers.

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