Delany, Samuel R. “The Atheist in the Attic”, PM Press, 2018.
“The Atheist in the Attic” appears for the first time in book form for the first time. It is a narrative that is filled with suspense while at the same time giving us a vivid historical narrative that recreates the top-secret meeting between the mathematical genius Leibniz and the philosopher Spinoza. Both were caught between the horrors of the cannibalistic Dutch Rampjaar and the brilliant “big bang” of the Enlightenment. This is a meditation on class and ethnic antipathies in the overlapping territories of poetry and philosophy. Multiple readings add much more to this.
Included is Delany’s “Racism and Science Fiction”, an essay written in 1998 that combines scholarly research and personal experience in the unique true story of the first major African-American author in the genre. The essay combines anecdote and analysis in a well-measured, original, and historically insightful look at black authorship and reception in science fiction and its progenitors.
Finally there is an original interview between Delany and the editor of the Outspoken Authors series, Terry Bisson. The interview is a bit unfocused but gives a good overview of Delany’s recent and major engagements, projects, etc. and looks at biographical inaccuracies.