Delaney: Let me change one word

26 Jul

The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth by Roger Zelazny has been described as ‘…all speed and adventure…’ by Theodore Sturgeon, and indeed it is one of the most exciting adventure tales s-f has produced. Let me change one word in every grammatical unit of every sentence, replacing it with a word that ‘…means more or less the same thing …’ and I can diminish the excite­ment by half and expunge every trace of wit. Let me change one word and add one word, and I can make it so dull as to be practically unreadable. Yet a paragraph by paragraph synopsis of the ‘content’ will be the same.”

– Samuel R. Delaney, The Jewel-Hinged Jaw: Notes on the Language of Science Fiction


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