The Jewel-Hinged Jaw: Notes on the Language of Science Fiction (Revised)

Samuel R. Delany (Author) Matthew Cheney (Other)
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Samuel R. Delany's The Jewel-Hinged Jaw appeared originally in 1977, and is now long out of print and hard to find. The impact of its demonstration that science fiction was a special language, rather than just gadgets and green-skinned aliens, began reverberations still felt in science fiction criticism. This edition includes two new essays, one written at the time and one written about those times, as well as an introduction by writer and teacher Matthew Cheney, placing Delany's work in historical context. Close textual analyses of Thomas M. Disch, Ursula K. Le Guin, Roger Zelazny, and Joanna Russ read as brilliantly today as when they first appeared. Essays such as "About 5,750 Words" and "To Read The Dispossessed" first made the book a classic; they assure it will remain one.

Product Details

Wesleyan University Press
Publish Date
July 01, 2009
6.0 X 0.8 X 8.9 inches | 0.9 pounds
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About the Author

Winner of both Hugo and Nebula awards, SAMUEL R. DELANY is a novelist and critic, who currently teaches English and creative writing at Temple University. His critical work has won him the Pilgrim Award for science fiction scholarship. MATTHEW CHENEY is a columnist for Strange Horizons and writes regularly about many topics at his weblog, The Mumpsimus.


"Delany's first work of non-fiction, The Jewel Hinged Jaw: Notes on the Language of Science Fiction, remains a benchmark of sf criticism thirty-three years after its initial publication in 1977. ... Extensively revised and reissued in 2009, JHJ has become even sronger, containing twelve essays in ten chapters and two appendixes."--Isiah Lavender, Science Fiction Studies

"I re-read The Jewel-Hinged Jaw every year as a source of guidance, as a measure of what all criticism and literature should aspire to be, and as a challenge for those of us who want to write."--Junot Díaz, Pulitzer