Speculating Queerer Worlds

Alexis Lothian

Science fictions never present the future, only “a significant distortion of the present,” as Delany wrote in 1984. But they also distort the present of anyone reading at any time, even the text’s own future. The contours of Dhalgren’s disintegrating city belong to the wake of 1960s countercultures and social movements, to a sexual and racial moment whose history uninformed new generations of readers will learn as they read, even if they fail to recognize it. Sexual pleasure in Delany’s work links the past and present and lets a different future feel possible, even when it takes place within structuring limitations.

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