Posts Tagged ‘Shaw’

Barry N. Malzberg, Beyond Apollo (1972)

6 April 2009

One thing that is constantly striking me is how neglected many of the writers are that I’m looking at. I confess I’m a little behind on writing up my reading, and it may well stay that way – and in a sense writers such as Ballard and Delany don’t need the attention. Malzberg, on the other hand, what at his most active through the 1970s in sf terms, and there seems to be little written on him. Previously I’d only read The Sodom and Gomorrah Business – I shall reread this – and now I have three more of these short novels to go through.

First up, for little more reason than being the first out of a rucksack of secondhand books, is Beyond Apollo.

In essence it is the story of a 1981 two-man mission to Venus, during which the captain was killed and the other man – Harry Evans – has lost his mind. The story is narrated by Evans, as he writes a novel about his experiences, the viewpoint shifting at the end to that of his publishing. Even that is misleading – Evans talks about himself in both the first and third person, and nothing he says can be taken as stable. We don’t even know whether his captain was Jack Josephson or Joseph Jackson. It might be that Evans killed him – but it is not at all clear. Even the descriptions of the post-mission debriefings are inconsistent.

Bob Shaw reviewed the book in Foundation 7/8 and sees it as an example of all that’s wrong with the New Wave, in particular the assertion that travelling through space drives you mad. Something else to look out for.

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