Samuel R. Delany’s Aye and Gomorrah was one of the more unusual short stories I’ve read this semester. I wasn’t exactly enamored of it, but it was nice to see something completely different. The world the author created, in which astronauts are neutered to prevent the affects of radiation that would eventually cause the birth of mutants was unsettling. It wasn’t the kind the story that really made me stop and think or changed the way I looked at the world, but about halfway through reading I realized that I no longer wanted to be a part of the world that was being described. I normally try to empathies as much as I can with the main character when I read novels and short stories, but with Aye and Gamorrah, I had to step back a little.
I’d imagine this was the authors’ intention – to show people something a little disturbing, and he definitely succeeded in that respect, although by the end, I did find myself wondering what the message of the novel was. It seemed like with all the strange Ideas and situations the author was throwing there must be some sort o underlying theme or message that he was trying to communicate. Whatever it was though was completely lost on me.
One thing that I did like, and that I felt was done very well, was the interaction between the Spacer and the Frelk when they first meet. What made it fun was that the author created a world where the power dynamic that gender creates is completely different than the one we’re used to. But he did it in such a way that rather than alienating the reader, it drew the reader in more. Even though the world was different, all of the wants, the actions, and the thought processes of the characters felt completely believable and easily relatable to everyday life.