Delany wrote this brainfood with humanistic background in 1965. So, there are clumsy computers, 33′ and 45′ records, there are Beatles, Bob Dylan references etc. But the archaic touch doesn’t matter at all – the concepts are important, and probably won over the Nebula Award and nearly made the Hugo.
This isn’t for readers who don’t know Orpheus and Eurydice. Even for those with the necessary background, it’s more fun having a wikipedia nearby to search all the catchwords. So, it will be a slow read and second read might bring even new dimensions of insights – though I won’t re-read it. References to Einstein’s and Gödel’s theorems are a little bit explained but you have to figure out connections by yourself.
There is space and time travel and all is interleaved with Delany’s travel log in the mediteranean sea.
Delany writes in an advanced literaric prose which doesn’t provide easy answers, clear plotlines and trivial characters. It’s simply a little bit more complex than your usual bread and butter SF.
And it is a novella with less than 150 pages where newer authors would take a couple of hundred pages to bring the same message over.
Recommended for readers who are up to a challenge.