“The problem isn't to learn to love humanity, but to learn to love those members of it who happen to be at hand.”  —Dhalgren

"Endings to be useful must be  inconclusive." — The Einstein Intersection

Samuel Delany quotes
  • Samuel Delany in New York in 2016.Photo Credit: Houari B./Flickr (CC)

"How we treat our invalids—our mad, our physically or mentally compromised family members—does tell you something about who we are politically, historically, culturally."  —The Paris Review interview

“Historically it's a very new, not to mention vulgar, idea that the spectator's experience should be identical to, or even have anything to do with, the artist's. That idea comes from an over-industrialized society which has learned to distrust magic.” —Dhalgren

Samuel Delany quotes Octavia Butler Avery Brooks
  • Actor Avery Brooks (L.) and Samuel R. Delany (R.) at a tribute to Delany's friend and former student Octavia Butler.Photo Credit: Houari B./Flickr (CC)

"Sometimes you want to say things, and you're missing an idea to make them with, and missing a word to make the idea with. In the beginning was the word. That's how somebody tried to explain it once. Until something is named, it doesn't exist." —Babel-17

"Science fiction isn’t just thinking about the world out there. It’s also thinking about how that world might be—a particularly important exercise for those who are oppressed, because if they’re going to change the world we live in, they—and all of us—have to be able to think about a world that works differently." — The Paris Review interview

Samuel Delany quotes New York State Writers Hall of Fame
  • Samuel Delany was inducted June, 2016, into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame along with Maya Angelou, Stephen Sondheim, Roger Angell, Roz Chast, Jean Craighead George, Grace Paley, and Don Marquis. Pictured here with editor Betsy Mitchell. Photo Credit: Betsy Mitchell

"I was a young black man, light-skinned enough so that four out of five people who met me, of whatever race, assumed I was white ... I was a homosexual who now knew he could function heterosexually. And I was a young writer whose early attempts had already gotten him a handful of prizes ... So, I thought, you are neither black nor white. You are neither male nor female. And you are that most ambiguous of citizens, the writer." —The Motion of Light in Water

"I'm a gay man who came through the AIDs epidemic. The notion that being genteel about intimacy ... That kills people. That kills people. And I just did not want to be complicit in murder." —Strand Bookstore discussion

"Desire isn’t appeased by its object, only irritated into something more than desire that can join with the stars to inform the chaotic heavens with sense." — Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand