5 Fantasy and Sci-Fi Books You Should Know if You Loved ‘Dune’

‘Dhalgren’ by Samuel R. Delaney

At almost 900 pages, Dhalgren is a bit more of an undertaking than some of the others on this list, but well worth the amount of time you need to put into it. The Kid, an aspiring poet, enters the American city of Bellona to find purpose, gifted only with an “optic chain” he wraps around his body and a bladed weapon he wears on his wrist called an orchid.

Bellona itself also suffers from a variety of sci-fi issues: it’s entirely cut off from radio, television and communication signals, time dilates and contracts in strange ways within the city, two moons appear in the sky. Given these details, you might imagine Dhalgren would be a picaresque on par with many of its contemporaries, but no. The Kid spends much of the narrative meeting Bellona’s inhabitants, writing poems in a notebook that appears to contain a diverging account of Dhalgren from the one he’s experiencing as a character, and has numerous philosophical discussions about art, life and desire.

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