Aye, and Gomorrah, and other stories

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Aye, and Gomorrah
Cover from the first edition
AuthorSamuel R. Delany
CountryUnited States
GenreScience fiction, fantasy
Publication date
Media typePrint (paperback)
813/.54 21
LC ClassPS3554.E437 A6 2003

Aye, and Gomorrah, and other stories is a collection of stories by American writer Samuel R. Delany, published by Vintage Books in 2003. It is a thematically arranged collection, in the style of James Joyce’s Dubliners (1914), Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio (1919), and Willa Cather’s Youth and the Bright Medusa (1920). The book is closely based on an earlier collection, Driftglass, which first appeared in 1971. The dedication to the two books is similar: one is simply an updated version of the other, dedicating the book to Delany’s immediate family: his maternal grandmother, mother, sister, and father. Both carry identical epigraphs. The ten tales contained in Driftglass are all contained in Aye, and Gomorrah, along with five other stories ("Omegahelm", "Among the Blobs", "Tapestry", "Prismatica", "Ruins"). The stories consist of ten science fiction tales, in the order the writer wrote them, followed by five fantasies, also in chronological order.

When the first collection was put together, Delany and his editor gave serious thought to calling it Aye, and Gomorrah, instead of Driftglass. The title story had won Delany his third Nebula Award — this one for best short story of 1967, so that using it to entitle his first collection would have seemed a reasonable choice. But New American Library, the initial contractors for the book (who had licensed it to the Science Fiction Book Club for a hardcover edition that would appear four months before their Signet paperback), decided they did not want a title that pushed any of the homosexual implications in the stories. Note, nevertheless, that even Driftglass, with its suggestion of wandering, continues the theme of homelessness that the current title and the epigraph suggest. Thus, it is probably not wrong to read Aye, and Gomorrah, and other stories as an ideal version of the older Driftglass.

The unifying thematic, suggested by the epigraph, is that it is a book in which the science fiction stories are largely about the problems of people who do not live in the city of their birth—who have all come to where they are from somewhere else. The epigraph — on the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, from a speaker who clearly has great feeling for the destroyed cities — suggests that his home city has been devastated. In some of the tales, such as the opening story in both books, “The Star-Pit,” the narrator’s family and children have been destroyed in a horrific war many years before and many light years away: a war of a sort, which, in the future the story depicts, has become so common that it would seem to be a background reality gotten through for better or for worse by pretty much everyone who currently survives. And the fantasies, such as “Prismatica,” “Dog in a Fisherman’s Net,” and “Ruins” all deal with the possibilities or the wages of journeying from one's home.

Only three Delany SF stories are not included in Aye, and Gomorrah. All three are slight enough so that one can understand why Delany might not wish to preserve them: two are collaborations, one with Harlan Ellison (“The Power of the Nail,” contained in Ellison’s collection of collaborations Partners in Wonder); the other is a page-long prose poem, “The Dying Castles,” which appeared in a 1968 issue of the British SF magazine New Worlds (#200), as under the joint authorship of James Sallis, Samuel R. Delany, and Michael Moorcock. (Several times Delany has said that he has no memory of having written any part of it; and he has assumed the use of his name among the authors was a jape.) The third is a piece only slightly longer called “The Desert of Time,” which was commissioned by Omni Magazine to accompany an illustration in the late 1980s. But other than the stories that comprise his four-volume Return to Nevèrÿon series, it is fair to say that Aye and Gomorrah represents the totality of Delany’s SF and fantasy short fiction.


  • "The Star Pit"
  • "Corona"
  • "Aye, and Gomorrah…"
  • "Driftglass"
  • "We, in Some Strange Power’s Employ, Move on a Rigorous Line" (this story is written in the style of and as a homage to Roger Zelazny, who also appears in it as a character)
  • "Cage of Brass"
  • "High Weir"
  • "Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones"
  • "Omegahelm"
  • "Among the Blobs"
  • "Tapestry"
  • "Prismatica"
  • "Ruins"
  • "Dog in a Fisherman’s Net"
  • "Night and the Loves of Joe Dicostanzo"
  • Afterword: Of Doubts and Dreams


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