They Fly at Ciron

Samuel R. Delany, Author
Samuel R. Delany, Author Incunabula $29.75 (171p) ISBN 978-0-9633637-0-1
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
Hardcover - 978-0-312-85775-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 256 pages - 978-0-8125-4317-9
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Nebula and Hugo winner Delany's latest novel expands on a short story he wrote in 1962, which his friend James Sallis ``reworked'' in 1969. In a prefatory note, Delany acknowledges Sallis's critical assistance but explains that none of Sallis's additions have been retained. It's not as stunning as Dhalgren , et al., nor as complex as the Neveryon fantasies, but it's enjoyable and stimulating nonetheless. Here, the peaceful village of Ciron faces conquest and domination by the army of Myetra, led by a cruel prince. A village youth, Rahm, encounters a Myetran advance scout, Lt. Kire, in the forest, and the Cironian's innocence confirms the already doubting Kire in his disgust for Myetran violence. Still, the Myetrans subdue Ciron, killing many and enslaving the rest. Rahm escapes and befriends one of the fearsome Winged Ones, humanoids with batlike wings. Meanwhile, led by the young village garbage collector and an itinerant singer, the Cironians resist where they can, as Kire struggles with his conscience and tries to ease the Cironians' burden. Delany invigorates a traditional fantasy plot and stylistic elements with his sensitivity and evocative language--the characters, even the Myetran soldiers, are portrayed with depth and sympathy. (Nov.)
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