Beautiful Souls: Takes One to Know One

In September, I continued further in my dark ecology reading of Trouble on Triton and explored how Bron exemplifies the Beautiful Soul, the subject position figured in Ecology Without Nature. Bron’s consummerist attitude is refined to the point that he is alienated from every conceivable subject position. He refuses to be a type of consumer in a society that demands consumption. His predicament, though, is not unique. As Delany explains in an interview, the second appendix to the novel suggests Bron’s dilemma has a political side that is not obvious in a narrative told from his point of view. (Concordia University)

The second appendix concerns Ashima Slade, a character referred to in the novel but who doesn’t actually participate in the narrative. Slade turns out to be something of Bron’s doppelganger: also from Mars, also with a scar above his eye, also involved with metalogics, and also undergoes a sex change operation. These are striking similarities, and while Bron lives a frustrated life of mediocrity, Slade seems to have lived a frustrated life of intellectual […]