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Galaxies Paperback – 17 Mar 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Anti-Oedipus Press (17 Mar. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0989239144
  • ISBN-13: 978-0989239141
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,744,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rod Williams on 7 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Malzberg is nothing if not irreverent, and no doubt shocked some of his erstwhile colleagues of the time with this book in which the author takes us behind the scenes to give us the process, or at least his process, of writing a Science Fiction novel.
The author, in loquacious detail, gives us his notes on a posited novel, to be entitled `Galaxies' in which Starship Captain Lena Thomas, on a mission to discover new Earth-type worlds for colonisation, is trapped within a `black galaxy' (i.e., the event horizon of an enormous neutron star which has also trapped the light of an entire galaxy) with a cargo of dead passengers, who may or may not be revived when she reaches her destination. (Their money has paid for the mission).
Whether this story is important or not is one of the issues the disillusioned author agonises over as he lectures us on the predictability of Science Fiction readers and the fallibility of his fellow authors.
In one sense this is Malzberg himself raging at the complacency of SF writers of the Nineteen Seventies.

`There are a few among us who know science. and a few more who understand fiction, but there is not a single science fiction writer who can do both.' (p 13)

And so Malzberg tells us that he has decided to rise to the challenge and write `Galaxies' which was inspired by two articles by John W Campbell in `Analog'
It is in turns, witty, despairing, charming, sometimes even pleading to readers and writers of the genre to take a good hard look at themselves and what they are reading and writing.
It may be that the dead in Lena's ship are a metaphor for Malzberg's readers. They after all, are the ones who paid for the trip, but in the end, despite everything that is said to them, they do not listen. How can they? They are dead.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Much has been said about Malzberg's 'Galaxies'. This is a great new edition of one of his finest books. I look forward to seeing more of Malzberg's books reprinted in the coming years.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Searingly funny 25 July 2000
By Michael Battaglia - Published on
Format: Paperback
I think one of the reviews posted on the book says much the same thing about it, but chances are you the people out there have never seen this book, let alone heard of it. Shame on someone. I was vaguely familar with Malzberg, having heard of his great works Beyond Apollo, Herovit's World and Chorale, but seeing this slim volume in a comic book store (three bucks!) grabbed my attention. The plot summary on the back of the book does no justice to the actual content of the book and indeed makes one wonder if the person who did that actually read the book, unless Malzberg himself wrote it as a complicated joke. The "plot" then. Basically, just as the author writes in the beginning, it's the series of notes for a novel called "Galaxies" where a woman space technician accidentally pilots her ship into a black galaxy (a black hole, essentially). The author uses the idea of sketches for a novel and this as a jump off point for some of the funniest explorations of the nature of writing and science fiction ever, both as a genre and as a publishing market. I've rarely laughed out loud so many times, Malzberg dips from seriousness to hilarity while keeping that same dry cynical tone (even funnier if you've seen a picture of him, he has the most dour, long face I've ever seen), all the while seeming to wink just at the edges that it's all in good fun. He debates the content of the novel, how much sex to put in, where science comes into play, the nature of science in science fiction, the entire bit and manages not only to hit his mark each and every time but manages to make all this stuff just as relevant today, probably the hardest part. Back then people probably thought this book was "weird" after all it is written as notes for a novel but that's the entire point there was no other way for the point to be gotten across (and as the author says the novel could never be written properly, since it takes place in the 40th century). A slim work that won't take up much of your time, you'll probably spend more time thinking about what you've read and pondering it than actually reading the book. Alas, maybe it's good that it's not in print today, genius publishers would probably turn it into an expensive trade paperback, inflate the price and no one would want to spend that kind of money on such a small book. Easier to snag it in some garage sale or used book store (not that he doesn't deserve the money) and pass it along to friends. One of the more essential science fiction books, especially if you want to understand what this genre just might be all about.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Metafictional Classic 22 July 2000
By Miriam M. Lain - Published on
Format: Paperback
Barry Malzberg's book "Galaxies" may have worked more effectively as a short story (it is essentially an expansion of his story "A Galaxy Called Rome"), but this is still the most self-reflective/metafictional SF novel ever written. It is a groundbreaking book, well worth reading.
Actually, this book isn't a book at all but notes on a book which the author will never have the skill to actually write. He admits as much from the very beginning, and then asks us to consider the plight of an intergalactic astronaut who is caught in a black galaxy, a negative space, the underside of reality, etc. The dead, her cargo, begin to talk. All the way we are kept one or two steps removed from the action, in order to more clearly see what this action truly reflects.
Malzberg's book isn't for everyone, but if you're looking for an SF equivalent of John Barth's "Lost in the Funhouse," this is it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
None 4 Aug. 2012
By Crystal L. Etzel - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Malzberg is an amazing writer and in Galaxies he is at his sardonic best. The only downside to this book is the breathtakingly poor job of conversion to ebook format. There are literally hundreds of obvious errors and probably as many more that are less noticeable. Does no one proofread anymore?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Classic Postmodern SF 26 Jan. 2015
By Bill Stratford - Published on
Format: Paperback
Essential post-structuralist science fiction loaded with bitter ironies and a heroic meditation on the nature of creativity, restored from the void by the ever-experimental Anti-Oedipus Press. Buy it.
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