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La Ballade de Bêta-2, suivi de Empire…
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La Ballade de Bêta-2, suivi de Empire Star (original 1965; edição 1997)

por Samuel R. (Ray)Delany (Autor), Eric Chedaille (Traduction)

Séries: Empire Star

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1215171,875 (3.67)2
Título:La Ballade de Bêta-2, suivi de Empire Star
Autores:Samuel R. (Ray)Delany (Autor)
Outros autores:Eric Chedaille (Traduction)
Informação:LGF - Livre de Poche (1997), 190 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca

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The Ballad of Beta 2 and Empire Star (Ace Two-in-1) por Samuel R. Delany (1965)

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I’m pretty sure I first read this on a family holiday in Paris in the early 1980s. I have a memory of buying Delany’s collection, Driftglass (the Panther/Granada paperback edition), from an English-language bookshop in Paris, chiefly because I’d taken the 1977 Sphere paperback of The Ballad of Beta-2 & Empire Star with me to read during the holiday. While both ‘The Ballad of Beta-2’ and ‘Empire Star’ had stayed with me during the nearly forty years since, ‘Empire Star’ more than ‘The Ballad of Beta-2’, it must be said, I’d never bothered to reread them. Until now. And this despite being a big fan of Delany’s fiction and non-fiction. True, some of his output is hugely dated. But some of his output is brilliant precisely because it is dated. The two novellas here have aged extremely well, and while the clever Moebius-strip narrative of ‘Empire Star’ I’d remembered pretty much accurately over the last four decades, I’d forgotten how good was ‘The Ballad of Beta-2’. An anthropology student is sent to study the eponymous song, the only original piece of art created by the Star Folk, the degenerate survivors of a convoy of generation starships, who were beaten to the rest of the galaxy by progress. The story behind the song is pretty much handed to the student on a plate, but it’s an interesting story, and not at all what the reader would have expected. ‘Empire Star’ has a simple plot: Comet Jo, a plyasil farmhand in a “simplex” asteroid-based community finds a crystallised Tritovian and is told to take it to Empire Star to deliver a message. And that’s what he does. Along the way he meets people who have previously interacted with him at different points in their lives, and learns about the Lll, the only enslaved people in the galaxy and the galaxy’s greatest builders, and the war fought over them and their emancipation. I’ve long considered ‘Empire Star’ one of my favourite novellas – I reread it early this century, I seem to remember – and on this reread, my admiration of it remains undiminished. Read both of these novellas, they’re worth it. But definitely read ‘Empire Star’. ( )
  iansales | Jul 5, 2020 |
Definitely a game of two halves. The Ballad of Beta-2 is a serious and haunting story of interstellar travel by generation ships, told in flashback. Empire Star, on the other hand, is an attempt at multiplex story telling which to a simplex reader will probably seem like a slightly self-indulgent stream-of-consciousness fable that doesn't quite work as science fiction, or really even as fiction. But I'm sure when it was first published in the 1960s it was daring and experimental. ( )
  SFF1928-1973 | Jun 26, 2017 |
This book contains two of Delany’s short novels. Both have the mark of cliché. But those taints do not detract (well, don’t detract that much) from the overall quality.

The first novel, The Ballad of Beta-2, is the tale of a historian being forced to explore an area of space history he really doesn’t have that much interest in. And that is the touch that feels contrived. It is almost a painful trope to bring in the historian so he can explain what is going on to the reader. But read past it. The story of exploring what happened to the only ships that ever had to travel through real space, why some disappeared, and why the people who made it aren’t what they appear to be, is engrossing. And it is Delany exploring what it means to be human and what it means to be god-like.

The next novel, Empire Star, has an interesting cliché at the beginning. Our main character, Comet Jo, is described as catlike. A few other strange affectations are introduced. And then they aren’t used any more. Again, ignore that. The story that eventually unfolds, how Comet Jo is led to take a message to the Empire Star is, again, a perfect taste of Delany as past and future become entwined, people become people we don’t expect them to be, and the final solution is far from clear.

I have described minor quibbles with both these novels – the quibbles that can be found to have occurred in anyone’s work. However, those will disappear from your consciousness as the resulting stories engross and entertain. ( )
  figre | Jul 31, 2011 |
The Ballad of Beta-2:
While the love story of Captain and Alien Monster is the central theme of this book, look for the sidelines where the difficulties of imposing genetic purity on a small breeding stock are handled, and the costs of such in inhumanity. Also look to the great portrayal of the executioner - these flesh this book into more than a clever bug-eyed monster tale.
Empire Star:
Wow... what's not to say? A cleverly wrapped time-travel story, with parallel worlds to boot - but there is more than just that. Look to Samuel's treatment of the Lll, which suffer as did Delany for their history of being slaves. His irony of the war to free the Lll requiring Lll slaves to fix the damage done says a lot about his feelings as being a black man. Even as Lump ( a huge self-aware computer) his character can not get away from having been Lll, and sensitive to the comments about the Lll.

As far as a waypost, keep track as time goes by what your feelings about Lll, NyTyLee, Comet Jo, the Princess and the Crystallized Tritovian are. As a teenager I felt closest to Comet Jo, but today I feel more like NyTyLee, the doomed poet. In a few years... probably the Princess.
  AtrixWolfe | Dec 27, 2007 |
does it bother anyone but me that Muels Aronlyde is not quite an anagram of samuel r. delany?
  giant_bug | Jun 7, 2006 |
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