WARNING: This post deals seriously with child sexual abuse in science fiction and extensively quotes from the work of a science fiction author who endorses, and is believed to have engaged in, criminally abusive sexual behavior. Not for the faint of heart; contains vulgarities, obscenities, and descriptions of extremely deviant and disgusting behavior. This is a grim, but factual description of the depravity that is celebrated in the science fiction world.
Q: Upon leaving office in 2013, When asked “What was the best part of holding this office for as long as you did?”
A: As for the best things: Well, I’m not gonna lie, it’s awesome to have picked Grand Masters.
-John Scalzi’s Presidential Exit Interview at the SFWA, 2013
That same year, when Scalzi’s successor to the presidency used his very first selection for the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award on Samuel R. Delany, Scalzi broke his self-imposed “SFWA post-presidential silence” to write: “This is an award both well chosen and well deserved.”
Samuel R. Delany has been praised in the science fiction community for decades. He is also the author of Hogg, a pornographic novel that features three male characters named Cocksucker, Hogg, and Denny.
John W. Campbell and World Fantasy Award-winning Jo Walton wrote for Tor.com: “I could write a considered post about Delany’s significance to the field, but I’m just too enthusiastic about his work to do it in a properly calm way. I find his pornography very difficult to read, but I think his essays are wonderful. Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders uses techniques of pornography and becomes science fiction in a way that isn’t like anything else, and while it isn’t easy to read I feel it’s worthwhile for fans of his work to keep persevering.”
Keep persevering, fans, through long passages like this:
“They call me Hogg because a hog lives dirty. I don’t wash none. And when I get hungry, I eat my own snot. I been wearin’ these clothes since winter. I don’t even take my dick out my pants to piss most times, unless it’s in some cunt’s face. Or all over a cocksucker like you. What I usually do is park the truck in the sun with the light comin’ in and piss my pants up somethin’ terrible.” The truck turned another corner; he dropped one hand from the carpeted wheel between his legs, hefted his meat around some – but I couldn’t tell if he was doing it or thinking about it. “Yeah, boy, all that nice hot stuff, running down my leg, and squirmin’ my ass around in it…I got worms, boy – had ’em ever since I was a kid. But I won’t get rid of ’em cause I like the way they make my asshole itch. I gotta drink a lot of beer and eat a lot of pizza pies and French fried potatoes to keep a gut like this and all them little fuckers fed. I got a hairy ass and it sure cakes up crusty. But I just don’t believe in wipin’ when I got a freaky little son of a bitch like you to eat it out for me. Now, how do you like that?”
Walton: “As a new writer Delany was a revelation. He’s gay and African-American and this intersectionality of experience gives his work dimensions that genre SF hadn’t seen before, and hasn’t seen enough of since. Delany’s worlds are notable for their complexity and solidity, their attention to class and sex and economics and gender and identity. Yet these things are always essential to the story of the characters—and it’s the characters and the world that shaped them that are memorable. Delany’s ability to evoke worlds from words is almost unrivaled.”
“From the split helmet, in its wet, wrinkled collar, glittering yellow arched away, splashed the dashboard. Hogg’s head was back against the seat. His eyes were closed. He was taking great, gasping breaths. Piss ran along the dashboard’s underside, dripping–onto Hogg’s knee, onto Denny’s. Denny ran his hand down his stained pants leg to where it was wetting, then put his fingers in his mouth.
Piss dripped the dashboard onto my back.
I opened my mouth and moved it into his hot water. It broke, warm, on my face.”
Cat Rambo, President of the SFWA:
“Delany is amazing. Moments in his writing blow me away, make me stop and marvel how he’s constructed them. He awes me with his virtuosity and courage in writing.” – Cat Rambo, current President of the SFWA
Let’s look at that virtuosity and courage. As they serve accessory to Denny’s brutal, hours-long spree of mass murder, Hogg chats with him and provides the younger boy’s sexual services to him:
“I kept on killin’ ’em…But i didn’t come you know? It hurt…But it didn’t make me shoot…”
Hogg grinned at me. “Go on, cocksucker. Take it out.” He took his hand away.
Denny’s fell back on his thigh like a muddy claw.
I turned on the seat and pulled open Denny’s fly.
It looked awful. It was all swollen, and a funny color, even in the half-dark. When I took it out, it was stiff, but not like a hard-on. It was just leathery; it wobbled on his groin. The head was bulged up around the nail so there wasn’t any space left. The foreskin was stretched tight and didn’t move at all…
I took his balls out too. They were very hot. His cock was almost chilly.
I opened my mouth and bent.
“It may be that Delany’s interest in expressing sexual matters in his work was always there, but that he couldn’t get away with publishing it, in an A-list trade book, much before Dhalgren, just as Heinlein’s interest in sex was clearly always there, but he couldn’t get away with putting much of it into his books before the publishing environment had changed (and perhaps until he’d become enough of a bestselling author that he could refuse to cut it from the text and get away with it). People don’t remember how prudish a field SF was.”
“Denny’s cock tasted cold and salty. Denny moved his hands to my hair, jerkily, shifted his buttocks on the seat, lifted them a little. The bent nail clicked my back teeth, I reached under his ass with one hand and found Hogg’s already kneeding a scrawny buttock that seemed like it had too much bone in it.”
“Nicest person in the world.”
Rich Horton, editor and fan, lionized Delany at an author forum: “I’ve never met Delany (having only come to conventions somewhat late, and even now only to Midwest conventions), but just reading him he seems like about the nicest person in the world.”
“Come on,” Hogg said. Get up boy. I’m gonna beat you across the butt. Then I’m gonna fuck you. Then I’m gonna beat your butt some more.”
“All right–” Denny tried to stand without pulling out my face.
…Hogg’s buckle clinked. The belt hissed from its loops.
I took Denny’s cock to the clotted hair.
Hogg grunted. “Here you go, motherfucker!”
Crack! and Denny swayed. “Shit!” he whispered.
Rachel Swirsky (whose fictionalized commentary on racial prejudice and violence earned her a Hugo Award nomination) on Delany’s Grand Master prize:
“As someone who got to support Steven Gould in his choice of Delany, I’d like to start off by saying, “Yay!”
“I used to suck off a sad-looking thirteen-year-old spic named Pedro, who wore his dad’s baggy pants I don’t think he ever changed…
Squatting, I’d nose between the brass teeth to smell his sweat. He would push penis, both testicles, and the two little fingers of his left hand into my mouth. Holding his thin hips, I troweled my tongue inside his foreskin till, leaning and grunting, he would spurt his greasy juice and, quickly limp, a tablespoon of urine.”
“Then he got his fifteen-year-old sister, Maria, made her lie on her back, pulled her new skirt up, her stained panties down, and wedged his chin between her thighs, blinking his eyes over her cunt hair. “Look at her.” (There was powdery gray on his head; I’d already done him once that morning.)”
Later, Maria’s father finds her in rape room, and joins in.
“Maria’s hands kept moving on, under, and around her father’s shoulders but you couldn’t really tell if she was trying to push him off, but was scared to, or hold him on, but was scared of that too…her bent knees sagged and recovered at his sides as he began to hunch and grunt.”
While this is happening, the 11-year old narrator is beaten by a spectator:
“I got down on the floor and caught the bruised head of his cock in my mouth and five fists in the face, before rat realized I was trying to suck him. When I took it all the way to the red crotch hairs sticking through the zipper, he nearly lost his balance.
“Oh, shit…!” he whispered, squatting, his knuckles on the floor. “Look at daddy fuck on his little spic bitch!” Seven more thrusts spilled Rat’s load.
A final note on the text: lest you think the satanic Hogg finds redemption, retribution or any other consequences for his life and career as a ‘rapist for hire’ and molester, he does not. The murder conspiracy gets away with it, presumably to continue, unreflecting, on sheer scatological abuse.
The introduction to the novel makes it clear that the reader is intended to have sympathy and understanding for the “monster” Hogg and his gang of rapists (although, none, apparently, for the “willing” child victims.) This is a fundamental principle of the advocates, and it is an idea that has been mainstreamed in such prominent media as Salon. It is the point of the spear – the cruel idea that separates those who would defend civilization, and those who would destroy it.
Hogg is only one of Delany’s sadistically abusive ‘pornographic’ novels.
Delany has made it clear that he fundamentally believes that sex between adults and children is not necessarily harmful, that even prisons are where pedophiles are outnumbered 9 to 1 by “horny teenagers.” When Will Shetterly began his dialog with Delany, it was no doubt a gentleman’s attempt to give Delany the space he needed to clarify or repudiate his old quotes in favor of NAMBLA. Shetterly posed good questions, and Delany answered them honestly (see also supplement 1 to this series. But no journalist had ever asked him these things before: it fell on the SF community to do the follow-up, and only Shetterly stepped forward.
He missed a question though, and that’s no crime. It was a casual conversation borne out of curiosity. What is borderline criminal is that no one else – not in SF journalism, academia or fandom has ever bothered to ask the obvious. Delany’s extreme stance should have, at some point in his career, certainly within the last twenty years, inspired a single, simple question.
So I’ll ask it here, to Samuel Delany: “You assert there is no harm in a mutual sexual relationship between an adult and a child, so have you ever had sexual relations, as an adult, with an individual under the age of 18?”