Not a review of…

Nova by Samuel R. Delaney

Wrong hero. Too few drugs.

Oliver “Shiny” Blakemore
2 min readSep 8, 2022


This dude wants to be Jack Kerouac. This book’ll take you on a journey. Not the enlightening, transcendent rise that Delaney wants it to be, but that’s mainly due to my mistake of not taking all the drugs that would probably fill in the gaps in the narrative.

Because Delaney mastered something that more science fiction writers would do well to practice: the fine art of leaving stuff out — a difficult skill for science fiction writers.

In his case it didn’t help him, on account of what he left out was all the substances that I should have been on to keep up.

Is that praise or not? I’m not sure. You tell me.

This book wasn’t about the interstellar busker, Mouse, joining up with a pirate crew bound for the payoff of the century. Mouse then follows along with the adventure of a lifetime as the captain of the pirate ship chases down the greatest treasure in the universe: enough of his generation’s most essential energy resource to put all his corporate competitors out of business for a few generations. The nobility was heavy. It wasn’t about Mouse slowly growing into his own character over the course of the trials he participated in with the crew of pirates.

It wasn’t, but it really ought to have been.

Delaney made another mistake when he wrote this book. Instead of writing about the interesting character with an interesting background, he tried very hard to make Nova about the captain of the pirate ship. I can’t even remember the name of the captain of the pirate ship. Shows you how cool he was.

So should you read it? Sure. Why not. It was short. It was interesting. The words Delaney included were good ones in good orders. It was a pleasant diversion.