The Einstein Intersection
Samuel R. Delany
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The Einstein Intersection won the Nebula Award for best science fiction novel of 1967. The surface story tells of the problems a member of an alien race, Lo Lobey, has assimilating the mythology of earth, where his kind have settled among the leftover artifacts of humanity. The deeper tale concerns, however, the way those who are "different" must deal with the dominant cultural ideology. The tale follows Lobey's mythic quest for his lost love, Friza. In luminous and hallucinated language, it explores what new myths might emerge from the detritus of the human world as those who are "different" try to seize history and the day.
yawning, scratching. When I stepped into the hall the light faded. I didn't go back the way I'd come but headed forward again. There are lots of breakthroughs into the upper levels. I'd go till I saw morning and climb out. About half an hour later I see a three-foot stretch of it (morning) in the ceiling, behind black leaves, and leap for it. Good jumping power in those hams. I scrambled out on crumbling ground and tame brambles, tripped on a vine, but all in all did pretty well. Which is to
from the lake and grabbed my ankle. I tried to pull away. The Kid leaned back till his face was under water, and bubbled, You gotta do me this little favor, Spider. You have to. A leaf stuck to his arm. If you say so, Kid. He stood up in the water now, hair lank down his face, scrawny, white, and wet. I say so. Mind if I ask why ? I pushed the hair off his forehead. I wanted to see if he was real: cold fingers on my ankle; wet hair under my hand. He smiled, ingenuous as a corpse. I don't mind.
teeth. Rain streaked the dirt on his face, sleeked down his hair; he kept shaking my shoulder, desolate and furious. "What happened?" I asked. "Did I pass out. . . ?" You died! He stared at me, unbelievingly, angry, and streaming. God damn it, Lobey! Why did you have to die! You just gave up; you just decided it wasn 't worth it, and you let the heart stop and the brain blank! You died, Lobey! You died! "But I'm not dead now . . ." No. He helped me forward. The music's going on again. Come on.
among the lizards and you hail Kid Death as though you yourself have looked down his six-gun." "And where"—I was angry—"do you think Green-eye is? He's sleeping by the coals up there." I pointed up the rise. "And Kid Death—" Fire surprised us and we whirled. Behind us in flame, he stood up and smiled. As he pushed back the brim of his hat with the barrel of his gun, red hair fell. "Howdy, pardners," he snickered. Shadow from grass and rock jogged on the ground. Where flame slapped his wet skin,
I know more about this whole business than you do. Take your sword and crossbow and go down into the cave, Lobey. Go on." I sat there and thought a whole lot of things. Such as: bravery is a very stupid thing. And how surprised I was that so much fear and respect for Lo Hawk had held from my childhood. Also, how many petty things can accompany pith, moment, and enterprise—like fear, confusion, and plain annoyance. The beast roared again. I pushed the crossbow farther up my arm and settled my