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The Jewels of Aptor

Samuel R. Delany

Book Overview: 

Delany's first novel serves as a sort of prologue to the subsequent Captives of the Flame. Set several centuries after the Great Fire -- a nuclear holocaust -- a young woman seeks her destiny with the help of a four-armed youth.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .So unlike, that records of it were destroyed, and no mention of it is made in the histories given to school children.

"Only recently have I had a chance to learn how strange and inhuman they were. And I have good reason to believe that the forces of Aptor are congealing once more, a sluggish but huge amoeba of horror. Once fully awake, once launched, it will be irrevocable. Tendrils have reached into us for the past few years, probed, and then withdrawn before they were recognized. Sometimes they dealt catastrophic blows to the center of Leptar's government and religion. All this has been assiduously kept from the people. I have been sent to clear perhaps just one more veil from our ignorance. And if you can help me in that, you are welcome."

"What of the jewels, and of Hama?" inquired Geo. "Is he a god of Aptor under whom these forces are being marshaled? And are these jewels sacred to him in some way?"

"Both are true, and both are not true eno. . . Read More

Community Reviews

-Un gran viaje empieza con un primer paso, por muy dubitativo que sea.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción (con toques fantásticos, sin la menor duda).

Lo que nos cuenta. En un mundo que hace mucho tiempo sufrió un apocalipsis y en el que de los restos de la civilización ha comenzado a desarrollarse una nue...more

An interesting first novel, but clearly the work of an apprentice in the craft. Delany was that rare author with the brilliant idea to marry an editor, thus helping to grease the wheels for this novel written at age 19. It is not a great novel, but the willingness to jump in and grapple with phi...more

(The following review is cross-posted from my blog They Have Pulled Down Deep Heaven On Their Heads.)

To be honest, if it weren't for the fact that the 19-year-old who wrote this novel went on to become an icon of New Wave science fiction, I'm not sure the book would still be remembered. The Jewel...more

I've been reading a lot of fairly abstracted stuff lately, so it was actually totally refreshing to read something composed of pretty much straight narrative by a deft storyteller. Even at age 20, when this debut was published, Delany has a fully satisfying storytelling voice and plot-sense. And...more

-Un gran viaje empieza con un primer paso, por muy dubitativo que sea.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción (con toques fantásticos, sin la menor duda).

Lo que nos cuenta. En un mundo que hace mucho tiempo sufrió un apocalipsis y en el que de los restos de la civilización ha comenzado a desarrollarse una nue...more

-Un gran viaje empieza con un primer paso, por muy dubitativo que sea.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción (con toques fantásticos, sin la menor duda).

Lo que nos cuenta. En un mundo que hace mucho tiempo sufrió un apocalipsis y en el que de los restos de la civilización ha comenzado a desarrollarse una nue...more

Delany is one of my favourite living writers, one of my favourite writers full stop in fact. This is his first novel and was published when he was only twenty. Although it’s probably the weakest of his books, it’s still an enthralling and engaging work of fiction. I first read it when I was about...more

The novel describes a post-apocalyptic civilization a number of centuries after an atomic "big fire". The action occurs on two islands or continents, one with a dark age civilization. Leptar, where the highest technology are sailing ships and swords; the other the radioactive island Aptor populat...more

After the characters are introduced, the chapters feel very episodic - mostly self contained, but adding a little more information to the world. The last two chapters shatter this in a finale that brings all the knowledge together. With a few caveats, this would make a good sci-fi TV series.

Those...more

As his debut, this novel is not as polished or philosophical as Delany's later material. However, as a fairly straightforward quest fantasy, it's great. Even his debut shows off Delany's fantastic narrative voice, and the plot is great, albeit a tad predictable. It's definitely not a book I would...more

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