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PHOTO ESSAY

African American Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers

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Samuel R. Delany

Samuel R. Delany sits in his office at Temple University, 20 March 2009, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photograph by Michael S. Wirtz. Courtesy of Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT/Landov.

Much like Octavia Butler, Samuel "Chip" Delany (b. 1942) began writing science fiction and fantasy stories at a relatively young age. He has been incredibly prolific over the past several decades, and his novels have been honored with numerous awards, including the prestigious Nebula and Hugo Awards. His interest in writing extends to education, as well, and he has spent time as a professor of English and creative writing at a number of American universities.

Delany's work indicates an impressive diversity of interests. One of his earlier novels, the Nebula Award-winning Babel-17 (1966), explored the notion that the structure of one's language has the ability to shape one's worldview, while The Einstein Intersection (1967) focused on the significance of human mythology to future alien civilizations. In later years, Delany turned his attention to the power of writing (Dhalgren, 1975), erotica (The Tides of Lust, 1973), and the AIDS crisis (Flight from Nevèrÿon, 1985). Much of his recent work has revolved around complicated ideas of self-identification and sexuality. Delany's writing, as challenging and high-minded as it often can be, is an example of science fiction at its most inquisitive and inclusive.

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