It is a “post-transgressive” novel because it seems relatively uninterested in whether or not its bourgeois readers and critics will “conquer” their disgust. And, also, I think, because it is so invested in “fun” and “affection.” Whereas the “transgressive” novel is invested in a big “fuck you” to the world, Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders is interested in what a livable world might be, especially a world in which a Shit can thrive. (And, here, it’s striking how much easier it seems for reviewers to focus on Eric to the exclusion of Shit.)
This is a post-transgressive novel precisely because it imagines a world where Shit can thrive."
keguro at Gukira. “Benign Perversion”
I haven’t read any of Samuel Delaney's books. It's not very likely that I'll read Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders. But this review is one of the reasons I love the Internet so much. I read keguro’s earlier piece about the book after I read this and he linked to two further reviews by Lavelle Porter and Steven Shaviro and I read those too. Pre-Internet, perhaps I would have found a review of the book somewhere. What’s so different is to be able to instantly get other takes too.
Yesterday I posted a link to Clare Stestanovich's piece in The Atlantic about the online conversation between Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jonathan Chait. I came to this conversation by way of Ta-Nehisi Coates, but it's quite clear plenty of other readers had it the other way around, or found themselves in the midst of the conversation by way of Andrew Sullivan or others.
I know, I know, it’s a boring old-man’s point, but this sort of writing was much less possible pre-Internet. It’s still astonishing to me that writing like this exists.