In Dhalgren, Delany shares with us a vision of the imaginary city of Bellona, where technology fails and the superstructure has abandoned the infrastructure. Instead of trying to capture the collapsed utopianism of the 60s, Delany envisioned a paradigm where destabilizing forces were exciting and useful to those willing to open themselves up to the experience. The lives of those who stayed behind out of arrogance or stubbornness are miserable. They violently attempt to maintain their capitalistic existence in a flexible unreality often functioning in direct opposition to the values and standards they cherish. But the angel-haired hipsters and other mad men find Bellona a festival of opportunity and under Delany’s pen they get to explore and gain. What is built around us shapes us and it should be the reverse.

Lonely Christopher
Bryce Wilner

Lonely Christopher, “The Splendor and Misery of Bodies, of Cities: Place and Samuel R. Delany,” Haus Red Vol. 2 (New York: Literaturhaus, 2019), pp. 44–51.