Samuel Ray ‘Chip’ Delany may not have published a science fiction novel since 1993, but his four Nebula Awards and two Hugo Awards underline his status as one of the genre’s all-time greats. The first African-American author to win a major SF award, Delany’s literarily ambitious work is hugely progressive even forty years on, featuring unapologetic LGBT themes and characters, radical politics, dizzyingly complex postmodern conceits, and a unique authorial voice. His novel Babel-17, published when Delany was just 24 years old, won the 1967 Nebula Award and established Delany as an extraordinarily mature young writer. Other career highlights include the masterful Nevèrÿon fantasy cycle and the seminal novel Dhalgren (1975), often described as science fiction’s answer to Ulysses.
Delany burst onto a changing scene in the new wave of science fiction, with his politics, his race, and his sexual orientation often drawing the ire of the SF establishment, but his multifaceted, intricately brilliant work was far too good to be buried. Though it was often difficult to find before the advent of ebooks, now much of Delany’s work can be found on SF Gateway, while Dhalgren, Babel-17 and Nova are all available as SF Masterworks paperbacks.
Happy Birthday, Chip!