Samuel R. Delany – Hogg

First written thirty-five years ago and completed days before the Stonewall riots in New York, Hogg is one of America’s most famous “unpublishable” novels. It recounts three horrifically violent days in 1969 in the life of truck driver and rapist-for-hire, Franklin Hargus. Narrated by his young accomplice, the novel portrays a descent into unimaginable depravity, a hell comprised of the filth and brutality civilization exists to forget. What transforms this nightmare into literature is Delany’s refusal, faced with our moral anxieties, to mutilate his appalling creation. Hogg’s monsters wear our faces, possessing the human complexities of intense loyalty, perverse admiration, and an integrity so pure that pity becomes betrayal. No reader can be prepared for such a story. It is a stunning achievement.


Written in the 60s, it took over 20 years (1995) until a publisher dared to release it… Hogg.

Less witness, than moment, than companion, than representative of omnipresence… Hogg.

Sexual exuberance, sexual violence – sex, rape, piss, shit, filth, humiliation… Hogg.

Page 4 – peritext:
» 1. Rapists—Fiction. 2. Sex crimes—Fiction. 3. Pedophilia—Fiction. 4. Victims of violent crimes—Fiction. 5. Children—Crimes against—Fiction. «

It’s hard to put into words what you find here. Difficult to define, what is waiting for the reader and why you’ll confront yourself with this work at all – not to mention the possible clash of the blasphemy presented here.
Blasphemy, in form of criticism.
Criticizing this divine image, this eternal idol, who does not want to believe in itself…: Human.

Hogg – Samuel Ray Delany Jr.:
libidinous terror, animalistic brute force, degrading perversion…

It’s difficult to describe this act – to reduce it to only one operation.
Reduced to the written word, you would probably speak of a child/adolescent and the world of sexual perversion. But Delany has done so much more with Hogg!
As a reader you wade through a literary degeneration which hides under its its obviousness a depth, which is less inscrutable, than apprehensible.

Hogg is neither just content nor just interpretation – Hogg is not raw, it is alive; it is art!
Paul Klee (1879 – 1940) once said, that art doesn’t reproduce what is visible, but makes it visible – and that’s exactly what Delany did here: he made it visible – he brought it, fetched it!

It’s just here… and stays…


Hell is other people.
(L’enfer, c’est les autres.)

Jean-Paul Sartre (21 June 1905 – 15 April 1980)


The others…
The hell…

That’s what’ll you find here. That’s what’s waiting here – not to be found, but because of its undeniable presence.

Franklin Hargus.


He doesn’t even gets the donation of a name, nevertheless still remains – or exactly because of that(?)- less protagonist, but representative – finally "character", not as an individual, but as an entity.
This, in the progress (development) not only stylistic, but formative element, points the direction that Delany indicates with Hogg.
Down? Not at all! We’re already down there – crawling on this mucus-wetted ground not even in, but already through the ruin.
No way you could challenge, no escort, no enticement…

It’s just here… and stays…


If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.
(Wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein.)

Friedrich Nietzsche (15. October 1844 – 25. August 1900)


Delany doesn’t deprive – he denounces from the first page on: his world, his story, his time – it takes a while to notice; "He" is the abyss, blatantly staring at my innermost, because already after the first page, I have looked into it too long.

Disfranchisement… even of the values!
Immediately I understand, that I don’t see myself confronted with an incomprehensible matter-of-course, but with a godless objectivity – yes, even more: a neutrality; a sterility in which I, as a bacterium remain without existence…

Disfranchisement… even of the existence!
No values… not valuefree, total degradation!

In this case Hogg maybe is less extreme, but close; but realistic; but trivial; like pronounced what no one should talk about…

…so it might be "extreme" after all, if it would subordinate itself in a rating.

It’s just here… and stays…


Of course it’s possible to love a human being if you don’t know them too well.

Charles Bukowski (16. August 1920 – 09. March 1994)


A contemporary witness of evolution: humanity.
Humanity… without dramatic commitment, no lyrical presentation but also not reduced; no, sober; factual – prosaic description.

Perverse, obnoxious, sick, repulsive –
primitive, natural, common, native.

Hogg doesn’t offer an option, donates no perspective, provides no alternative …

It’s just here… and stays..


Look down at me and you see a fool,
look up at me and you see a god,
look straight at me and you see yourself.

Charles Manson (12. November 1934 – 19. November 2017)


I am here… and stay.



Samuel R. Delany - Hogg


Samuel Ray Delany
Cover Photo:
Scott Groeniger
Cover Design:
Katrina A. Ferguson
2. Edition
270 pages
(also available as eBook)




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Down the biggest sheeeee-it of Splatterpunk, up the highest castles of Fantasy, riding through the universe on top of Cthulhu... fer Gawd’s sake, I love to read!

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