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Trouble on Triton
By Samuel R. Delany

Discussed May 2011

Buy from



  • Bron Helstrom
  • The Spike
  • Sam
  • Lawrence
  • Modular calculus, Metalogics


  • Miramne
  • Philip
  • Alfred
  • Audri
  • The Player's in Spike's troupe
  • residents in Bron's co-op


  • Triton/Tethys
  • Earth
  • Mars
  • collectives
  • Co-ops
  • corporate computer hegemonies

Discussion Questions

  1. Did you like the book? Why or why not?
  2. How did you feel about Bron Helstrom, was he sympathetic or not? If you didn't like him, does this diminish the book?
  3. Bron beings the story stating that he is 'a reasonably happy man' yet it is clear that he isn't.  

    Lawrence tells Bron that he is " ...a logical pervert, looking for a woman with a mutually compatible logical perversion. The fact is, the mutual perversion you are looking for is very, very rare - if not nonexistent. [Bron is] looking for someone who can enjoy a certain sort of logical masochism."

    What is Bron's "voice" in this book? Is Bron an outsider looking in?

  4. What do you think of the idea of a Heterotopia - were every uniqueness can be explored to its end? Was it exciting? Disturbing?

    Foucault writes, “Utopias afford consolation: although they have no real locality there is nevertheless a fantastic, untroubled region in which they are able to unfold… Heterotopias are disturbing, probably because they make it impossible to name this and that, because they shatter or tangle common names.” Foucault also writes, “brothels and colonies are two extreme forms of heterotopia…”

  5. Despite his unusual background, Bron seems to have some very strong, very traditional heterosexual male viewpoints - was this realistic, or a fictional conceit?
  6. In a world of infinite choice and specialization, Bron is tortured by not knowing what he wanted. What do you think of that?
  7. Deleany uses a plethora of pejoratives - was this disturbing? Would a heterotopia of the future use these words without their cultural baggage?
  8. ‘The War’ figures prominently in the end of the novel – was it an effective plot device? What did you think about the ‘moonies’ reaction to the war?
  9. The book jacket spoils the big event of the book, Bron's abrupt gender change - was this something you expected? Do you think as a woman Bron will find happiness?
  10. This book was written during the heyday of the sexual revolution and the emergence of women into the workplace - does it still speak to issues in our world?
  11. There are large discursions into complex theoretical discussions - philosophy, metalogics, political theory, molecular biology - this is a theme for Deleany - does it work for you? Does it enhance or diminish the fiction?
  12. This book was partially written "in dialog" with Ursula K. LeGuin's "The Disposessed, An Ambiguous Utopia" - do books written in response to other books require you to read the first?
  13. This book references many things - Delany's other works (Neveryon, Dahlgren, short stories), Voltaire's Candide - were there other references you noted?
  14. What other questions do you have?
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