978-0-8398-2329-2 / 0839823290

Jewels of Aptor (The Gregg Press science fiction series)

by Delany, Samuel R.

Publisher:Gregg Press



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About the book:

The very talented Samuel R. Delany was only 20 when his first SF novel The Jewels of Aptor appeared in 1962--or rather, two-thirds of it appeared from a US publisher which cut the text savagely. Here's the full version of a story crammed with poetry, colour and action.

Delany's stylish narrative serves up a mass of familiar science-fantasy props with a flair that makes them seem fresh. Long after nuclear holocaust, the rebuilding has got as far as wooden sailing ships. Mysterious fragments of old technology remain. Deadly radioactive zones spawn mutants and monsters with odd talents. "Good" and "evil" religions clash, even though the litanies of bright goddess Argo and dark god Hamaare are very nearly the same. Serving Argo, our heroes sail from civilized Leptar to the loathed, feared island of Aptor to seek the last of Hama's three mind-amplifying Jewels, weapons ultimately too dreadful to use.

Despite some youthful clumsiness, the flash and dazzle of the storytelling established Delany as a writer to watch. He goes beyond the usual homilies about misuse of power to examine distortion of religious feeling, and how a genuinely transcendent insight (as experienced by the worst villain here) can twist into evil. The living incarnation of Hama is not as expected, while devout Argo-worshippers may also be monstrous shapeshifters: "The nature of the Goddess is change ..."

The Jewels of Aptor is thoughtful, exciting, occasionally comic, and promises remarkable things to follow. Delany has amply fulfilled that promise. --David Langford

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