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Encyclopedia > Nova (novel)
Nova

Cover of first edition (hardcover)
Author Samuel R. Delany
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Science fiction novel
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date 1968
Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
Pages 279 pp
ISBN NA
 

Nova (1968) is a science fiction novel by Samuel R. Delany. Nominally space opera, it explores the politics and culture of a future where cyborg technology is universal, yet major decisions can involve using tarot cards. It has strong mythological overtones, relating both to the Grail Quest and to Jason's Argonautica for the golden fleece. Nova was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1969. It is listed by David Pringle as one of the 100 best science-fiction novels written since World War II. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Samuel Ray Delany, Jr. ... In political geography and international politics, a country is a political division of a geographical entity, a sovereign territory, most commonly associated with the notions of state or nation and government. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Some notable science fiction novels, in alphabetical order by title: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke 334 by Thomas M. Disch An Age by Brian Aldiss The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton The Atrocity Exhibition by J.G. Ballard... A publisher is a person or entity which engages in the act of publishing. ... Doubleday is one of the largest book publishing companies in the world. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... ISBN-13 represented as EAN-13 bar code (in this case ISBN 978-3-16-148410-0) The International Standard Book Number, ISBN, is a unique[1] commercial book identifier barcode. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Samuel Ray Delany, Jr. ... Classic pulp space opera cover, with the usual cliché elements. ... A cyborg is a cybernetic organism (i. ... Visconti-Sforza tarot deck - The Devil card is a XX Century remake of the card missing from the original XV Century Deck The tarot is a set of cards featuring 21 trump cards and a special card called The Fool, in addition to the usual suit (face and pip) cards... For historical artifacts associated with the cup of the Last Supper, see Holy Chalice. ... The Argonautica (Greek: ) is a Greek epic poem written by Apollonius Rhodius in the 3rd century BC. The only surviving Hellenistic epic, the Argonautica tells the myth of the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts to retrieve the Golden Fleece from the mythical land of Colchis. ... The Hugo Awards are given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works. ... For the Stargate SG-1 episode, see 1969 (Stargate SG-1). ... David Pringle (born 1950) was a Scottish science fiction editor. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000...


After completing Nova at the age of 25, Delany's published output stopped for several years -- though his writing continued. The first draft of Tides of Lust (author's title, Equinox) was completed in September of 1968 (and first published in 1973). Hogg was completed in June of 1969 (though the novel itself would remain unpublished until 1995). With the publication of his next major novel, Dhalgren (1975), however, his style had moved on in experimental directions notably different from that of his earlier work. Equinox is a 1973 novel by Samuel R. Delany, and is Delanys first published foray into explicitly sexual material. ... Hogg is a pornographic novel written by Samuel R. Delany. ... Dhalgren is a science fiction novel by Samuel R. Delany. ...

Contents

Synopsis

By the year 3172, political power in the galaxy is split between two factions: the older Earth-based Draco and the historically younger Pleiades Federation. Both have interests in the even newer Outer Colonies, where mines produce trace amounts of the prized power source Illyrion, the superheavy material essential to starship travel and terraforming planets. Fictional chemical substances are compounds or minerals that exist only in works of fiction (usually fantasy or science fiction). ... In chemistry, transuranium elements (also known as transuranic elements) are the chemical elements with atomic numbers greater than 92, the atomic number of uranium. ... Artists conception of a terraformed Mars in four stages of development. ...


Caught in a feud between aristocratic and economically powerful families, a scarred and obsessed captain from the Pleiades, Lorq von Ray, recruits a disparate crew of misfits to aid him in the race with his arch-enemy, Prince Red from Draco's Red Shift Ltd., to gain economic leadership by securing a vastly greater amount of Illyrion directly from the heart of a stellar nova. In doing so, von Ray will shift the balance of power of the existing galactic order, which will bring about the downfall of the Red family as well as end Earth's dominance over interstellar politics. Artists conception of a white dwarf star accreting hydrogen from a larger companion A nova (pl. ... Balance of power in international relations is a central concept in realist theory. ... This article is about Earth as a planet. ...


A central metaphor of the novel, as its title indicates, is a nova: the destructive implosion/explosion of an entire sun that, paradoxically, while it destroys most of a solar system, also creates new elements. In the book, at the eruption of a nova, not only do the laws of physics break down, but so do the laws of politics and psychology. This idea permeates the entire plot and storyline. Look up metaphor in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. ... Psychology (from Greek: ψυχή, psukhÄ“, spirit, soul; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is both an academic and applied discipline involving the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. ...


The characters follow a quest plot line, in which they visit several worlds to gain information necessary to achieve their goal, all the while pursued by the Red family. This article is about the word, for other meanings see Quest (disambiguation) A quest is a journey towards a goal with great meaning and is used in mythology and literature as a plot device. ...


Although the novel does not indulge the literary experimentation found in Delany's later books, it maintains a high level of innovation. Some chapters end or begin in mid-sentence. Also, the point of view regularly shifts between Lorq, Katin, and the Mouse. Each page in the book carries a header that gives the year and location of the scene on the page itself (e.g., "Draco, Earth, Paris, 3162"). This is useful because of the flashbacks in the long journey around the galaxy. In literature and storytelling, a point of view is the related experience of the narrator — not that of the author. ...


Characters

  • Lorq von Ray. Lorq is the scion of the wealthy von Ray family, the most powerful clan in the Pleiades Federation. Originally a carefree playboy, Lorq is drawn into his family's feud with the Reds and, as a result, becomes obsessed with finding Illyrion. When Prince Red attacks him at a fabulously opulent party in Paris, he scars Lorq's face badly; but Lorq refuses to remove the scarring and as a result carries an air of menace.
As the book unfolds, Lorq learns that his family was founded by pirates, who killed members of the Red family in previous generations in order to keep the Pleiades free of Earth-based corporations, although Lorq's ancestors did so with the support of the Pleiades' citizens. The Reds, however, still carry a grudge.
Although Lorq von Ray is described as looking between forty-five and fifty years old, according to the dates in the book he is barely thirty. This may have been a mathematical mistake on Delany's part: in the book's first edition there are several such errors, such as the numbering of the centuries: the year 1850 is in the middle of the nineteenth century, not the eighteenth. The year 2375 is in the middle of the twenty-forth century, not the twenty-third. But these mistakes have been corrected in more recent editions. A possible explanation for Lorq's age is the Mouse's speculation that Lorq is "aged, not old"; the disparity in Lorq's age and appearance is so wide, however, the Mouse's theory is sometimes hard to hold onto.
  • The Mouse. This is the nickname for Pontichos Provechi, a young Gypsy from Earth, who, by age 18, has led an extremely varied life, and is just beginning to work in a starship navigation crew, but who also entertains people by creating illusions and music with his "sensory syrinx" (a sound, scent, and hologram projector).
  • Katin Crawford. Katin is an intellectual from Earth's moon, who received a liberal arts education at Harvard University and who has worked till now at a series of unfulfilling clerical positions. Katin is a loner. His passion is to explore various moons across the Solar System. He also aspires to write a novel, for which he constantly records notes, although the form is obsolete by the time Nova takes place. The word "novel" is, incidentally, etymologically related to the word "nova." Both come from the Latin novum, which means "something new." Sometimes Katin annoys his colleagues by going off on long lectures on any number of topics; in this capacity, he is sometimes comic, even while acting as the novel's expository voice.
  • Sebastian and Tyÿ. This wandering, working couple consists of Sebastian, a powerful-looking man who is nonetheless gentle--he keeps a number of unusual pets with him, his "flapping black gillies"--and his companion, Tyÿ, a quiet mysterious woman and tarot-card reader. Like many of Delany's characters, Sebastian is racially mixed: Although he has Asian features, his hair is naturally blond. Both are from the Pleiades; both consider it an honor to work for the von Ray family.
  • Lynceos and Idas. These twin brothers are black, but one is an albino. Eventually we learn they are two members of a set of triplets. Having been born and grown up in the Outer Colonies, all three brothers had a tendency to use drugs and make mischief. As a result of one of their pranks, they ended in a type of indentured servitude and were forced to work in the colonies' Illyrion mines. (Such arrangements are common at that time to "recruit" workers for the mines.) The two talk in tandem. Jokingly Katin calls them a pair of "glorified salt and pepper shakers." Their names come from the twins who were among the crew of Jason's quest for the fleece. Lynceos means lynx-like, i.e., sharp-eyed. Idas suggests someone from the pleasant fields of Mt. Ida.
  • Prince Red. The scion of the Earth-based Red family, Prince was born with only one arm. In place of the other, he wears an artificial limb, which has unnatural strength. Its grip can compress sand into quartz crystals, which he throws as if they were bullets. A troublemaker from birth (in his youth, he was forced constantly to shift schools because of discipline problems), he detests Lorq for numerous reasons, some of which he is not consciously aware.
Because of the power his artificial arm gives him, Prince can become extremely violent if anyone so much as mentions his deformity. As a little boy he sprains Lorq's mother's wrist when, innocently, she asks for his hand to take him home when he has gotten into mischief after dark with the other children.
  • Ruby Red. Prince's younger sister, Ruby, is a quiet-spoken woman, who appears to be completely under Prince's control. As an adolescent, Lorq falls in love with her, but she rebuffs him because of their families' hostile histories.
Prince appears to have an unhealthy attachment to his sister--which, often, she seems to reciprocate. While their father, Aaron, is still alive at the time of the novel and in charge of the Red's vast industrial holdings, Prince and Ruby are the most visible members of the Red clan.
  • Dan. An Australian whom Lorq first meets while the Australian is hitchhiking, Dan is the first to suggest to Lorq how a nova might be a source for Illyrion. Unfortunately, by the beginning of the novel, an accident on the first mission has damaged his senses and probably his sanity. He kills himself soon into the book, and most of his appearances take place in flashbacks.

The book's third chapter (of seven) is basically a long flashback that shows Lorq and Prince's childhoods and the political background against which the story takes place. Lorq first meets Prince and Ruby when they are all youngsters, during an attempt by their parents to end the feud between the families. The meeting ends, however, in disaster and embarrassment, and the fundamentally cruel natures of both Prince and his father Aaron--as well as the senior von Ray's innate love of violence--become clear. City flag City coat of arms Motto: Fluctuat nec mergitur (Latin: Tossed by the waves, she does not sink) The Eiffel Tower in Paris, as seen from the esplanade du Trocadéro. ... Pirates may refer to: A group of people committing any of these activities: Piracy at sea or on a river/lake. ... A corporation (usually known in the United Kingdom and Ireland as a company) is a legal entity (distinct from a natural person) that often has similar rights in law to those of a Civil law systems may refer to corporations as moral persons; they may also go by the name... Languages Romani, languages of native region Religions Christianity, Islam Related ethnic groups South Asians (Desi) The Roma (singular Rom; sometimes Rroma, Rrom) or Romanies are an ethnic group living in many communities all over the world. ... Pan pipes (also known as the panflute or the syrinx or quills) is an ancient musical instrument based on the principle of the stopped pipe, consisting usually of ten or more pipes of gradually increasing length. ... This article is about the photographic technique. ... Apparent magnitude: up to -12. ... In the history of education, the seven liberal arts comprise two groups of studies, the trivium and the quadrivium. ... Harvard University (incorporated as The President and Fellows of Harvard College) is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and a member of the Ivy League. ... Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. ... Major features of the Solar System (not to scale; from left to right): Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, the asteroid belt, the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth and its Moon, and Mars. ... A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative, typically in prose. ... This article deals primarily or exclusively with the definition of Asian in English-speaking countries, mainly referring to immigrants or descendants of immigrants living therein. ... An Indentured servant is an unfree labourer under contract to work (for a specified amount of time) for another person, often without any pay, but in exchange for accommodation, food, other essentials and/or free passage to a new country. ... Quartz (from German Quarz[1]) is the second most common mineral in the Earths continental crust. ... In literature and film, a flashback (also called analepsis) takes the narrative back in time from the point the story has reached, to recount events that happened before and give the back-story. ...


Motifs

Nova has a number of character motifs in common with Delany's later literary and literary-pornographic works: the Mouse, a damaged artist who wears one shoe as does the Kid in the later Dhalgren; Katin, an intellectual and writer who attempts to record the events around him; the twins Lynceos and Idas, one black, the other albino; and Dan, a barefoot derelict, with a rope holding up his pants. Dhalgren is a science fiction novel by Samuel R. Delany. ...


The novel, storyline, and themes of Nova are multilayered and complex, and lend themselves to numerous interpretations. As one critic wrote at the time of the book's publiucation:

Here are (at least some of) the ways you can read Nova: As fast-action far-flung interstellar adventure; as archetypal mystical/mythical allegory (in which the Tarot and the Grail both figure prominently); as modern myth told in the SF idiom . . . The reader observes, recollects, or participates in a range of personal human experience including violent pain and disfigurement, sensory deprivation and overoad, man-machine communion, the drug experience, the creative experience – and interpersonal relationships which include incest and assassination, father-son, leader-follower, human-pet, and lots more.’’ (Judith Merrill, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction).

Judith Merril (January 21, 1923, New York, New York - September 12, 1997, Canada) was an North American science fiction author and anthologist. ... F&SF April 1971, special Poul Anderson issue. ...

Space Opera

Nova takes place in a standard space opera setting with many of the features and tropes peculiar to the genre. Conscientiously the novel emulates many earlier and popular science fiction works. Classic pulp space opera cover, with the usual cliché elements. ...


Delany makes an offhand reference to Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy (a random planet is named "Trantor"). Additionally, in one scene, a character has a false tooth with poison hidden in it, a classical trope from many espionage stories, which Frank Herbert's Dune had employed three years before. Isaac Asimov (January 2?, 1920?[1] – April 6, 1992), IPA: , originally Исаак Озимов but now transcribed into Russian as Айзек Азимов) was a Russian-born American Jewish author and professor of biochemistry, a highly successful and exceptionally prolific writer best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Trantor is a fictional planet in Isaac Asimovs Foundation series and Empire series of science fiction novels. ... A humans visible teeth. ... The skull and crossbones symbol (Jolly Roger) traditionally used to label a poisonous substance. ... Frank Patrick Herbert (October 8, 1920 – February 11, 1986) was a critically acclaimed and commercially successful American science fiction author. ... Dune is a science fiction novel written by Frank Herbert and published in 1965. ...


There is also a strong similarity in names between the scientist, Ashton Clark, who, in Nova, has invented the cyborg plugs and sockets centuries before, which pervade the novel, and the name of the fantasy and science fiction writer from the 'thirties and 'forties, Clark Ashton Smith. Clark Ashton Smith (January 13, 1893-August 14, 1961) was a poet, sculptor, painter and author of fantasy, horror and science fiction short stories. ...


Prince’s ability to squeeze sand into glass and quartz fragments strongly parallels the power of many action heroes (most notably Superman), and the idea of aristocratic families feuding in space is found in numerous other space opera novels. The character of Katin is partially written to resemble the classic "bore" in science fiction literature—a character who constantly gives lectures and explanations to describe the universe of the book. However, in Nova, Katin is constantly ridiculed for filling this role and on occasion is used for comic relief. Superman is a fictional character and comic book superhero , originally created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian artist Joe Shuster and published by DC Comics. ...


In keeping with this sort of game-playing, in a scene that takes place in a vast museum, the Alkane, in the city of Phoenix on the planet Vorpis, at one point Lorq and Katin hurry through the "FitzGerald Salon," clearly based on the actual "Rubens Salon" in the Louvre Museum in Paris—after the "Mona Lisa" and the "Raft of the Medusa," probably the Louvre's most impressive holdings.


The artist Russell FitzGerald was a good friend of Delany's and did a number of book and magazine covers for him (including the cover for the first edition of Nova and the cover for the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction edition of "We, in Some Strange Power's Employ, Move on a Rigorous Line" [1968]) and the three covers for the English paperback edition of the three volumes of Delany's Fall of the Towers trilogy. He is thanked at the beginning of Nova, along with their mutual friend, the poet Helen Adam, for helping with "Grail and Tarot lore." FitzGerald had a basement studio on East 2nd Street in New York City's East Village, modeled after a similar studio used by the Victorian artist and illustrator Aubrey Beardsley and known to FitzGerald's friends as "the Black Studio." There FitzGerald worked on a series of large canvases similar in size to the ones by Rubens that line the walls of the Rubens Salon. Delany often visited the Black Studio and even worked there on Nova in his notebook, while FitzGerald worked on his great hyperreal paintings, the two of them drinking white wine together.


The museum lamp in Nova that allows paintings to be viewed under the same order of light in which they were created grew out of their studio conversations. Eventually FitzGerald did an entire tarot deck, which his friends referred to as "the Nova tarot." FitzGerald and "the Black Studio" are the model for the character "Proctor" and his studio—and the art objects contained in it—in Delany's novel Equinox (1973). For many years Delany hoped that a FitzGerald painting called Götterdämarung, which he'd painted over the same months as Delany wrote Nova, would eventually make a color cover for the novel. Alas, it never happened. Those interested in FitzGerald's colorful bisexual life can learn more about him in the biography of the San Francisco poet Jack Spicer, Poet Be Like God (Weslyan University Press; Hanover: 1998), by Lewis Ellingham and Kevin Killian. By the time FitzGerald and his wife and family left New York for Vancouver, B.C., the building housing the Black Studio had been taken over by the New York chapter of the Hells Angels (with whom FitsGerald was on good terms), who stayed on there for many years afterward.


The Tarot and the Grail

Within the future society, reading the Tarot is considered both scientific and accurate. The Mouse is actually ridiculed as old-fashioned and uneducated for his skepticism about such things.


Much of the story revolves around a tarot reading Tyÿ gives Lorq at the beginning of the second mission, in which she rather successfully predicts the stakes and outcome. For example, The Tower appears, indicating that a powerful family (presumably the Reds or Von Rays) will fall, and the large amount of pentacles indicates wealth. Prince and Ruby are represented by the King of Swords and the Queen of Swords, respectively. An anomaly in the reading, however, occurs when Tyÿ drops The Sun—which Lorq considered to represent a nova—and the Mouse pockets it, thus making it impossible for Tyÿ's reading to include this card.


Smaller Tarot readings dot the rest of the novel. As a young child, Lorq receives a reading indicating a death in his family: within a month, his Uncle Morgan is assassinated. Likewise, Lorq's Aunt Cyana (Morgan's widow) has Lorq choose a single Tarot card for insight: it is The Hanged Man, reversed, indicating that Lorq will succeed in his quest, but at a very high price. A widow is a woman whose spouse has died. ...


Delany makes it clear that the Tarot should not be used for outright prediction. As Katin tells the highly skeptical Mouse: "[T]he cards don't actually predict anything. They simply propagate an educated commentary on present situations[.]" (Nova, 112). "[Tarot cards] only become superstitious when they are abused, employed to direct rather than guide and suggest." (Nova, 113) But, as the plot develops, sometimes it's difficult to distinguish clearly between useful "guiding" and abusive (superstitious) "directing."


The story of scarred Captain von Ray's obsessive quest for a nova with his crew of outcasts recalls Melville's tale of wounded Captain Ahab's search for the white whale in Moby-Dick. (At its publication in 1968, Time Magazine reviewer Roger Sale wrote, "[Nova] reads like Moby-Dick at a strobe-light show.") In Nova, the events are interpreted by Katin as a quest for the Holy Grail, with Illyrion playing the part of the Grail. As in the Grail story, there is a failed attempt to gain it, and someone must make a major self sacrifice (in Nova, his sanity and senses) in order to succeed. Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. ... Moby-Dick book cover Moby-Dick - the official title of the first edition - is a novel by Herman Melville. ... (Clockwise from upper left) Time magazine covers from May 7, 1945; July 25, 1969; December 31, 1999; September 14, 2001; and April 21, 2003. ... For historical artifacts associated with the cup of the Last Supper, see Holy Chalice. ...


Katin is constantly trying to find a plot for his novel, and finally decides to use Lorq's adventures with Prince and Ruby—immediately noticing the correspondences with the Grail archetype. By the end of the novel, it becomes clear that Nova is the book Katin will eventually write.


Creativity, Art, Change, and Stagnation

Although the novel takes place in the 32nd century, the society within it is described as highly stagnant, even taking into account the spread of interstellar travel and cyborging. Often, however, the book suggests that those minor characters who repeatedly make this judgment are simply looking for symptoms of change and vitality in the wrong parts of society—a theme Nova shares with Alfred Bester's Stars My Destination. Alfred Bester (December 18, 1913 - September 30, 1987) was a science fiction author and the winner of the first Hugo Award in 1953 for his novel The Demolished Man. ...


Cyana Von Ray Morgan, who is Lorq’s aunt and a curator at humanity’s largest museum, remarks that one-fourth of the displays at her museum are devoted to the Twentieth Century. She justifies this by saying that, despite all the progress made by mankind, the Twentieth Century encompasses the greatest change in mankind's situation: "At the beginning of that amazing century, mankind was many societies living on one world; at its end, it was basically what we are now: an informatively unified society that lived on several worlds." (Nova, 156) A curator of a cultural heritage institution (e. ... The Louvre Museum in Paris, one of the largest and most famous museums in the world. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s The 20th century lasted from 1901 to 2000 in the Gregorian calendar (often from (1900 to 1999 in common usage). ...


In short, within the fictional future of Nova, humanity began to colonize space by the end of the Twentieth Century. A few centuries later, and cyborg implants were invented. The combination of increasingly cheaper Illyrion (the fuel of starships) and universally-adaptable implants has created, by the time of the novel, a highly-mobile and transient work force and population. The workforce is the labour pool in employment. ...


However, this mobile population has an apparent drawback. In a pseudo-intellectual argument raised throughout the novel, characters make reference to a "lack of cultural solidarity" (a concept that vaguely resembles the idea of cultural capital). Because the population is constantly on the move, there is no shared culture, nor has there been any successful attempts to create new broad-based artistic and cultural movements since the end of the Twentieth Century. Cultural capital (le capital culturel) is a sociological term used by Pierre Bourdieu. ...


Characters make frequent references—possibly even a disprortionate number—to 20th century culture: at Prince’s party in Paris (which takes place in the year 3162), a group of entertainers start performing a song by The Mamas and the Papas. Katin makes an offhand remark that indicates the board game Monopoly (which was invented during the early 20th century) is still in existence, and has even been adapted to the future society. When he needs to name a "Renaissance Man," Katin mentions Bertrand Russell, despite the passage of more than a millennium since Russell died. The Mamas & the Papas were a leading vocal group of the 1960s, and one of the few American groups to maintain widespread success during the British Invasion, along with The Beach Boys. ... A board game is a game played with counters or pieces that are placed on, removed from, or moved across a board (a premarked surface, usually specific to that game). ... This article is about the board game. ... Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS, (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970), was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, advocate for social reform, and pacifist. ...


In Cyana Morgan's museum, in addition to the predominance of Twentieth Century-based exhibits, within a hall of paintings, Katin notices that many of the works share the same subjects—and, in many cases, the same names—even though the tags clearly indicate the paintings were created centuries apart, and on different planets. The most famous art collection in the museum is actually a forgery of an existing set works, and the forgeries are considered more popular and valuable than the originals. Forgery is the process of making or adapting objects or documents (see false document), with the intention to deceive. ...


A main interest of the book—unusual for a science fiction novel—is the two approaches to art characterized by the Mouse and Katin. In playing on his sensory syrynx, the Mouse is spontaneous, improvisatory, highly personal and immediately emotional. While he uses whatever material is around him as the basis for his art, the Mouse's creations on his syrinx are, however beautiful, ephemeral and disposable. In Nietzsche's terms, he is a Dionysian artist. Katin on the other hand is (again in Nietzsche's terms) an Apollonian artist. He is deeply intellectual, highly theoretical, largely impersonal, and concerned with the richness and complexity of the statement his artwork will make in terms of history. The irony of his approach is that, for all the hundreds of thousands of words he has dictated into his recorder about his theory of what the novel should be and do, he is still looking for a subject—a story—that is important enough in historical terms to stand up under all his theorizing. Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882 Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 - August 25, 1900) was a highly influential German philosopher. ... The Birth of Tragedy (Die Geburt der Tragödie aus dem Geiste der Musik, 1872) is a 19th Century work of philosophy by Friedrich Nietzsche. ... The definition of an artist is wide-ranging and covers a broad spectrum of activities to do with creating art, practising the arts and/or demonstrating an art. ... The Birth of Tragedy (Die Geburt der Tragödie aus dem Geiste der Musik, 1872) is a 19th Century work of philosophy by Friedrich Nietzsche. ...


When the Mouse's approach gets out of control, as the novel dramatizes in one climactic sequence, the instruments of art become murderous weapons. When Katin's approach gets out of hand, the result is paralysis and silence.


The conclusion the Mouse arrives at to Katin's problem—and for the reader appreciating the book on this level, it should be no surprise—is that Lorq's quest itself, which will revise the power structure of the entire galaxy, is the historically proper subject for Katin's novel, at the same time that Katin realizes he must learn how to employ some of the Mouse's immediacy, spontaneity, and energy. It does not hurt that, by the end of Nova, Lorq's quest has achieved the shape of a classical tragedy: Lorq has had to sacrifice his senses in the same way that Dan—at the start of the book—has already lost his; and in the way that the Mouse has been so afraid might happen to him. In many ways the novel is about perception itself—its value, its pleasures, the information it allows us to access, the sense it allows us to make of the rich and colorful social universe.


The novel refers repeatedly to a historic "Vega Republic," presumably among the worlds circling the star Vega, which flourished several centuries prior to the novel’s beginning. At one point, apparently, the Republic staged an uprising and attempted to declare both political and cultural autonomy from Earth. During those years the Vegans created a new and different style in furniture, fabrics, and architecture. Many of their artists, musicians, and writers produced highly distinctive work that, in later years, caught the imagination of intellectuals in both Draco and the Pleiades. Before Nova begins, however, the Vega Republic uprising was violently suppressed, and Katin claims that the ability to identify remnants of Vegan culture has become nothing but an intellectual "parlor game." Vega (α Lyr / α Lyrae / Alpha Lyrae) is the brightest star in the constellation Lyra, the fifth brightest star in the sky and the second brightest star in the Northern celestial hemisphere, after Arcturus. ... An artist is someone who employs creative talent to produce works of art. ... A musician is a person who plays or composes music. ... Though anyone who creates a written work may be called a writer, the term is usually reserved for those who write creatively or professionally, or those who have written in many different forms. ...


As the quest continues, soon Lorq drops the rationalizations for the Red/Von Ray vendetta, except for the fact that his actions, for better or worse, will produce a major cultural shift in humanity, even though nobody can tell what that change will be, or if it will be a positive or negative one.


Race

The story's main character, Lorq, is black. His father is of Norwegian descent, and his Earth-born mother is a black African from Senegal.


The residents of the Pleiades Federation (and the Outer Colonies) overall are an extremely mixed racial population. In addition to appearances, characters from the Pleiades sometimes have names that indicate a mixed racial heritage. For example, one of Lorq's childhood friends is named “Yorgos Satsumi,” which contains a clearly Japanese last name, but a first name that is decidedly Greek. This article is about race as an intraspecies classification. ...


This is in sharp contrast to the Earth-centered Draco society, where the leaders tend to be uniformly Caucasian. Individuals from Earth also tend to have extremely "WASPish" names. For example, a character named "Brian" is eventually revealed (at least, in the 2002 edition) to have the full name "Brian Anthony Sanders." Moreover, according to the Mouse, Earth still has problems with racism: he recalls seeing Gypsies lynched when he was younger. This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Suborder Apocrita See text for explanation. ... Racism is a belief or concept that inherent differences between people (such as those upon which the concept of race is based) determine cultural or individual achievement, and may involve the idea that ones own race is superior. ... Lynching is murder (mostly by hanging) conceived by its perpetrators as extra-legal execution. ...


Ironically, although this racial diversity is considered one of the novel's most innovative features, at the time of its first publication (1968), the inclusion of minority characters proved to be a liability due to the racism inherent in American culture at the time (see Publishing Status below). Year 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the 1968 Gregorian calendar. ...


Man and Machine, Deprivation and Alienation

The society of Nova is in a pre-revolutionary state. Economic tensions have caused the feud between the "new money" von Ray family and the "old money" Red family, both of whom have a large stake in intergalactic transportation. Shortly before the novel's events (within the lifetime of Lorq's father), the Pleiades region achieved political autonomy from Earth/Draco, and is now an independent federation. At the time of the novel, citizens of the Outer Colonies are beginning to support the idea of independence as well. Revolutionary, when used as a noun, is a person who either advocates or actively engages in some kind of revolution. ... Economics (deriving from the Greek words οίκω [okos], house, and νέμω [nemo], rules hence household management) is the social science that studies the allocation of scarce resources to satisfy unlimited wants. ...


In a passage in Chapter Three, the elder Von Ray interprets the tensions in terms of social class, with each major galactic region representing one of the three traditional social classes: Social class refers to the hierarchical distinctions between individuals or groups in societies or cultures. ...

  • The Draco Empire, centered on Earth, was the earliest area to be colonized. As such, this colonization was largely controlled and subsidized by large governments and corporations from Earth (most notably, Red Shift Ltd.). Because of this, Draco is largely controlled by the upper class, which retains strong cultural and economic ties to Earth.
  • The Pleiades Federation was founded, according to Lorq's father, by a "comparatively middle class" movement, primarily individuals and small businesses that wished to cut ties from Earth and maintain their independence. The main reason for this was that, although the region as a whole was far from Draco, its many habitable planets are located relatively close to each other, resulting in much cheaper transportation costs. The citizens were so dedicated to keeping out Earth influence that they hired Lorq's great-great grandfather (the founder of the Von Ray clan) to kill any representative of Earth-based megacorporations who tried to stake a claim. As a result, the Pleiades remained distant from Draco, and eventually declared independence without much Earth-based interference.
  • The Outer Colonies were colonized solely because of the prospects of Illyrion mining, as the worlds within the region are not particularly hospitable to human habitation. Because of this, large companies subsidized the migration of mine workers to the region, often using trickery, dubious legal measures, and false promises. As a result, the Outer Colonies are almost entirely populated by working class and lower class individuals who had few other prospects.

One thing all characters have in common is their cyborging. Individuals who cannot or will not accept these implants are effectively removed from society. The Mouse, for instance, mentions that his people (the Gypsies) refused the implants and, as a result, were treated with intolerance and even killed on Earth. Upper class refers to the group of people at the top of a social hierarchy. ... The middle class (or middle classes) comprises a social group once defined by exception as an intermediate social class between the nobility and the peasantry. ... Chuquicamata, the largest open pit copper mine in the world, Chile. ... The term working class is used to denote a social class. ... A social class is, at its most basic, a group of people that have similar social status. ...


Prince’s anger over his artificial arm, while irrational on the surface, is eventually hypothesized to have been caused by its affect on his ability to cyborg. Generally, a person has a total of five implants, two of which are located in the wrists. Since Prince was born with only one arm, he cannot fully connect himself with a machine.


Although the society seems on the edge of a revolution (or some other unspecified major change), the future of the novel is optimistic. As Katin reveals in one of his expository monologues, the problem of labor alienation has been overcome through the use of technology: practically all humans have cyborg socket implants that allow them to interface directly with the machines they use. These sockets are highly adaptable. Characters plug them into everything from small vacuum cleaners to the navigational systems of starships. By directly interfacing with the machines, workers are able to identify with their work, and the result is greater psychological wellbeing and less labor alienation. Marxs theory of alienation (Entfremdung in German), as expressed in the writings of young Karl Marx, refers to the separation of things that naturally belong together, or to antagonism between things that are properly in harmony. ...


Sex and Incest

Nova was written prior to Delany's turn to sexuality as a major focus of his work. [1] Nevertheless, the novel suggests several sexual subtexts. In the same way that a homoerotic current informs the relationship Melville describes between Captain Ahab and the cabin boy Pip in Moby-Dick, a similar undercurrent vibrates through the scenes between Captain von Ray and the Mouse. Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. ... Moby-Dick book cover Moby-Dick - the official title of the first edition - is a novel by Herman Melville. ...


Throughout the novel, the intelligent and beautiful Ruby remains both loyal and subservient to her brother, Prince, even to the extent of going against her own feelings. Their relationship strongly suggests an incestuous nature. Prince refuses to allow her to interact with Lorq. In turn, Ruby maintains a close emotional attachment to Prince, one that, in a suggestive scene near the novel’s end, proves disastrous. Incest among humans is sexual activity between close family members. ...


Assassination, Pain, and Violence

In Nova, a culturally iconic political assassination has taken place. The advanced technology at the time allowed millions of people throughout the universe to experience the sensations and emotions of the victim (Secretary Morgan, the leader of the Pleiades Federation) as he died — and, directly afterwards, the emotions of his widow (and Lorq Von Ray’s aunt), Cyana Von Ray Morgan. The murder was brutal: Morgan was publicly garroted at his second inaguration, and almost decapitated. Although the assassination was eventually revealed to be the work of a single man, ("Underwood"), for a period of time afterwards, many popular conspiracy theories were developed. To deal with her grief—and that of Pleiades citizens—Cyana Morgan adopted an extremely stoic posture and slowly retreated from the public eye. It has been suggested that Selective assassination be merged into this article or section. ... A widow is a woman whose spouse has died. ... Decapitated are a technical death metal band from Poland; their style places them towards the more extreme and technical side of that genre. ... A conspiracy theory is a theory that defies common historical or current understanding of events, under the claim that those events are the result of manipulations by two or more individuals or various secretive powers or conspiracies. ... It has been suggested that Anticipatory Grief be merged into this article or section. ... Stoicism is a school of philosophy commonly associated with such Greek philosophers as Zeno of Citium, Cleanthes, or Chrysippus and with such later Romans as Cicero, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus. ...


This death is clearly a dramatic rewriting of the "televised" assassination of John F. Kennedy, which had taken place only five years before Nova was published. Cyana Von Ray Morgan, the widow, strongly resembles Jackie Kennedy (at least, at the time of the novel's publication) in her response, her appearance, and her interest in art. John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), also referred to as John F. Kennedy, Kennedy, John Kennedy, Jack Kennedy, or JFK, was the thirty-fifth President of the United States. ... First official White House portrait. ...


Lorq, Prince, and Ruby—all heirs of wealthy clans who grew up in luxury—live what Lorq refers to as "meaningless" lives, indulging in sex, expensive hobbies (i.e., space-yacht racing), and partying. Lorq's transformation begins when his face is mangled by Prince's artificial hand. Later in the novel, both Lorq and the Mouse attack Prince and Ruby, causing them great pain. As the novel nears completion, Ruby remarks that, prior to that event, neither she nor her brother had a true concept of what pain was really like; none of them truly fathomed the importance of their actions and the feud until they were personally hit by it.


Practically all the socially powerful characters have fundamentally violent natures, which often they try to hide or repress. Despite the elder Von Rays' attempts to end the feud, make peace with Aaron Red, and have their children become friends, the Von Rays cannot escape the fact that the family wealth and status were based on piracy and murder. Although outwardly Aaron Red appears harmless (he is described as bald, portly, and easily embarrassed) and he seems to be friends with members of the Von Ray family, events can bring out his natural violence and reveal him as an abusively indulgent father.


The novel hints at these buried emotions, when, for example, the Von Ray and Red families meet in the Outer Colonies at a reconciliatory reception. Seven-year-old Prince uses his artificial arm and its strength to kill Lorq's mother's pet bird in front of Lorq and Ruby. Later that night, the adults leave to watch the future equivalent of a cock fight, but with winged reptiles rather than roosters. The novel's violence gathers force in an unexpected eruption from Prince against Lorq at his party in Paris; much of the novel tries to explain the origins of this rage. The Cock Fight by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1847) A cockfight is a contest, held in a cockpit between two fighting cocks (roosters) trained to severely injure and/or kill one another. ...


Both rage and pain are eventually recognized by the mature characters to have been a necessary component of their lives. Lorq realizes that, without Prince's attack to 'wake him up,' he would have gone on with a carefree life; he maintains his scar as a reminder of this. The successful completion of Lorq's quest has an extremely painful outcome for Lorq personally. As well, now that the need for Illyrion mines is gone, we know, the Outer Colonies will collapse socially and economically. The Red heirs fought for the status quo; only near the end of the novel do they experience the pain that goes along with the realization of what Lorq is trying to do.


Influences

Nova is considered one of the major forerunners of the cyberpunk movement. It prefigures, for instance, cyberpunk's staple trope of human interfacing with computers via implants. Berlins Sony Center reflects the global reach of a Japanese corporation. ... In literature, a trope is a familiar and repeated symbol, meme, theme, motif, style, character or thing that permeates a particular type of literature. ...


While the New Wave of science fiction was concentrating on near-future science fiction stories and the highly subjective exploration of "inner space," in 1968, the year it was published, Nova seemed a deliberate throw-back to traditional space opera--and space opera at its grandest and most operatic. New Wave science fiction was characterised by a high degree of experimentation, both in form and in content, and a highbrow and self-consciously literary or artistic sensibility previously comparatively alien to the science fiction aesthetic. ... Year 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the 1968 Gregorian calendar. ...


While reviews in the American professional science fiction magazines, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Galaxy, by Judith Merril and A. J. Budrys, respectively, were highly praiseful, the review in the New Wave outlet, England's New Worlds, by M. John Harrison, while acknowledging the skill and energy with which it had been written, called the book a "waste of time and talent." Motto (French) God and my right Anthem No official anthem - the United Kingdom anthem God Save the Queen is commonly used England() – on the European continent() – in the United Kingdom() Capital (and largest city) London (de facto) Official languages English (de facto)1 Unified  -  by Athelstan 927 AD  Area  -  Total... Michael John Harrison (July 26, 1945, Warwickshire ), is a UK science fiction author, fantasy author and literary fiction author, who writes as M. John Harrison. // Biography and writing career Harrisons first story was published in 1966. ...


The novel has always been popular with readers, many of whom have found it, for all its social subtleties, a roller-coaster of a read; but it took a decade-and-a-half for cyberpunk writers and readers to begin praising its handling of drugs, tarot cards, and its off-hand presentation of racial variety, its narrative energy and sense of historical sweep, and finally its exploration of the relationship between politics and art--indeed, for the cyberpunk writers it soon became an iconic text. Characters like the Mouse, Lynceos, Idas, Tyÿ, Sebastian, and even Katin can be seen as hippies, with itinerant lifestyles and drugs. As well, the design and effect of the Mouse's sensory syrinx has an overall feel of an expanded 1960s light show, of the sort that had then begun to accompany traditional rock concerts. Hippies (singular hippie or sometimes hippy) were members of the 1960s counterculture movement who adopted a communal or nomadic lifestyle, renounced corporate nationalism and the Vietnam War, embraced aspects of Buddhism, Hinduism, and/or Native American religious culture, and were otherwise at odds with traditional middle class Western values. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... A light show consists of lasers which move in a programmed sequence, usually with music that is playing. ...


Writer William Gibson claimed to be greatly influenced by Delany, and his novel Neuromancer includes allusions to Nova. However, while Delany's vision of the future is optimistic, the cyberpunk movement has a distinctly dystopic outlook. Gibson's novel includes a character, Peter Riviera, introduced (like the Mouse) in Istanbul, with the same holographic projection powers (although via implants) as the Mouse in Nova; but Gibson's character is a psychopath. Likewise, Gibson includes a character who awkwardly wears only one shoe; this character (Ashpool) is an insane killer. William Ford Gibson (born March 17, 1948), Conway, South Carolina) is an American-born science fiction author who has been called the father of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction, partly due to coining the term cyberspace in 1982,[5] and partly because of the success of his first novel... For the 1988 video game, see Neuromancer (video game). ... A dystopia (or alternatively cacotopia) is a fictional society, usually portrayed as existing in a future time, when the conditions of life are extremely bad due to deprivation, oppression, or terror. ... Istanbul (Turkish: , Greek: , historically Byzantium and later Constantinople; see other names) is Turkeys most populous city, and its cultural and financial center. ... See Also: Antisocial Personality Disorder Theoretically, psychopathy is a three-faceted disorder involving interpersonal, affective and behavioral characteristics. ...


Publishing Status

Cover of 2002 paperback edition.

Despite its status, reputation, and influence on science-fiction as a genre, for a dozen years after 1990 (the date of Bantam Books' final 14th printing), Nova was out of print. Hardcover copies were highly prized. Not until 2002 did Vintage Books rerelease it. Before then, students taking courses in science fiction could only read Babel-17, Delany's novel two before Nova. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Bantam Books is a major U.S. publishing house owned by Random House and is part of the Bantam Dell Publishing Group. ... Out-of-print books may be found at libraries or specialty book stores. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... Babel-17 is a science fiction novel by Samuel R. Delany in which the Sapir_Whorf Hypothesis (that language forms thought) is strongly influential. ...


Over the years before Nova appeared, Delany had already won the Nebula Award twice for best science fiction novel of the year: Babel-17 had gained the award in 1967 (in a tie for best novel of 1966 with Daniel Keyes' Flowers for Algernon, a.k.a. Charly). The Einstein Intersection won him the award the following year in 1968 (for best novel of 1967). Babel-17 is a science fiction novel by Samuel R. Delany in which the Sapir_Whorf Hypothesis (that language forms thought) is strongly influential. ... Year 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the 1966 Gregorian calendar. ... Daniel F. Keyes (born August 9, 1927 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York) is an American author best known for his award-winning short story Flowers for Algernon, a classic frequently assigned in English literature classes, and the subsequent, same-name novel. ...


While still in manuscript, Nova was submitted to John W. Campbell, famous editor of Analog Magazine, for possible serialization. Campbell rejected the novel with a letter to Delany's agent saying that, though he'd enjoyed the book, he did not feel the "science fiction readership was ready for a Negro protagonist." The cover of , volume 1, with a picture of Campbell drawn by Frank Kelly Freas John Wood Campbell, Jr. ... Negro is a racial term applied to black people. ...


It's possible, of course, that the recreational drug use in the novel (though the novel makes it clear that these drugs are legal) and the hints of incest around the villainous brother and sister, Prince and Ruby, were also on Campbell's mind. Still, in many ways Nova seems the quintessential Analog Magazine adventure, except for its cultural diversity. Astounding Stories was a seminal science fiction magazine founded in 1930. ...


Because there was no magazine serialization, however, in its first six months the novel did not get the initially wide exposure to readers that might have helped gain it a Hugo Award--though it was nominated and soon regularly referred to as "the perfect science fiction novel". In the pages of Galaxy Magazine (Analog's rival), resident critic Algis Budrys would write the following August, "Samuel R. Delany, right now, as of this book, Nova, not as of some future book or some accumulated body of work, is the best science-fiction writer in the world, at a time when competition for that status is intense. I don't see how a writer can do more than wring your heart while explaining how it works. No writer can"--heady praise for the work of a young man completed before his twenty-sixth birthday. And the hint of racism in Campbell's rejection letter is at least as strong as the hint of incest among the novel's villains. Galaxy Science Fiction magazine was the creation of noted pulp magazine editor Horace Leonard Gold, generally known as H. L. Gold. ... The Falling Torch (1959) Algis Budrys (born January 9, 1931) is an American science fiction author. ... Racism is a belief or concept that inherent differences between people (such as those upon which the concept of race is based) determine cultural or individual achievement, and may involve the idea that ones own race is superior. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ...


The Vintage edition of the novel corrects some minor mistakes in the original version. It also adds an entire passage that does not appear in any of the older published versions.


In the Vintage edition, a passage is included in which Prince Red brags about how he is responsible for the death of Brian, a character who disappears, in earlier editions, after a single chapter. In the Vintage edition, toward the end of the book Prince describes how, using his wealth and power, and for no other reason than a careless comment Brian made about Prince's arm, he slowly destroyed Brian's life, until Brian became homeless and died of exposure. Prince claims that he has killed perhaps two dozen other people in a similar manner. A homeless man pushes a cart down the street. ...


This passage significantly alters Prince's characterization. In earlier editions, the worst that could be said about Prince is that he was "spoiled" and had a violent temper. However, the added passage turns him into a remorseless murderer. The passage adds a moral component to Lorq's quest absent in the earlier versions. If Prince defeats Lorq, the most powerful man in the galaxy will be a psychopathic killer. Characterization is the process of conveying information about characters in fiction. ... A moral is a one sentence remark made at the end of many childrens stories that expresses the intended meaning, or the moral message, of the tale. ...


The above passage is in the original typescript of Nova, however. It is also in Delany's handwritten version of the novel in his notebooks from 1967. Both are in the Delany Holdings on store in the Howard Gottlieb Archives at the Mugar Memorial Library of Boston University. It was omitted before publication of the first edition, when a friend, who had read the manuscript for Delany, found it too extreme. In later years Delany decided to return it to the novel, because he felt readers needed to know what happened to Brian, after he seems to vanish from the book. The Mugar Memorial Library is the primary library for study, teaching, and research in the humanities and social sciences for Boston University. ... For similarly-named academic institutions, see Boston (disambiguation). ...


Additionally, in the first edition of Nova it is unclear whether or not Lorq's parents are still alive by the time the novel ends: When Lorq begins his quest, his mother is already dying of a degenerative disorder, but at the end he makes no mention of them, nor does he try to contact them. However, in another (much briefer) passage added in the Vintage Books edition, related to the above, Lorq has a memory that implies both of his parents and Aaron Red (as did Dan and Brian) died during the past ten years. This is in neither the original typescript nor in the notebook version, and is a true addition.


External Links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Nova (novel) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4363 words)
Nova (1968) is a science fiction novel by Samuel R. Delany.
A central metaphor of the novel, as its title indicates, is a nova: the destructive implosion/explosion of an entire sun that, paradoxically, while it destroys most of a solar system, also creates new elements.
Nova is considered one of the major forerunners of the cyberpunk movement.
Novel - definition of Novel - Labor Law Talk Dictionary (2542 words)
Novels are sometimes contrasted with romances, but the original concept is similar, hence the French word for "novel" is "roman".
It is generally agreed that the novel arose from a whole host of genres at the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth centuries in France and England.
The more experimental and “messy” novels, novels whose plots were convoluted or non-existent, of the early century, such as the scandal novels of Eliza Haywood, fell by the wayside.
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