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18 Aug 2004
Babel-17 - Samuel R. Delaney - Gollancz 2004
* * * *
There are, in essence, two types of SF writer - the tale tellers and the stylists. The tale tellers are those who describe extremely odd things in clear, simple straightforward prose. Their model is the story told around the camp fire, or perhaps the scientific paper. To them, writing is a craft rather than an art. Philip K. Dick and Ursula Le Guin are perhaps the greatest exemplars of this approach, but all the early SF writers - Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein - fall into this category.

The stylists, on the other hand, believe in being gorgeous. For them, exotic, glittering environments require exotic, glittering prose to match. Most of the cyberpunk brigade, William Gibson foremost among them, are in this group, but one could also include Gene Wolfe (at least in his Book of the New Sun days) and latterly Jon Courtenay Grimwood and John Clute, whose book "Appleseed" is an almost unreadable example of sophisticated prose. But the original stylist, the granddaddy of them all, is Samuel R. Delaney.
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