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VERY BEST OF BARRY N. MALZBERG Paperback – 1 May 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Unknown (1 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933065419
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933065410
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 964,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

For nearly half a century, Barry N Malzberg has been stretching the boundaries of the science fiction and fantasy genres to tell truly entertaining tales. In a collection of fiction that Malzberg himself considers his very best, this anthology showcases a literary career spanning almost 50 years, dozens of novels, hundreds of stories, and countless classic books. Each of the 32 stories in this compilation offers Malzberg's trademark vision of a future that is equal parts cautionary tale and social commentary. In the fictional world depicted in one story, dreams turn into frightening trips through time to reveal an ultimate horror; in another the rules in a war game change with every flip of the manic military command. Including pieces appearing for the first time in book form alongside rediscovered gems, these hand-picked selections exhibit his versatile imagination and the dark humor so characteristic of his work.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stephen E. Andrews TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 7 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback
Doctor, I have a problem. I used to love SF - it was audacious, it was clever, it was original, it was witty, it reflected the modern world through a glass darkly, dazzling me with its metaphorical reflections of the horrors of contemporary society. It was delightful to see it rising from escapist roots to become vital, important writing of ideas and style in the 50s, to become for inclusive and outrageous in the 60s and take on the literary quality of the best counterculture writing, to merge this with sophisticated extrapolation in the 70s, then flower again in the 80s with some truly great writing that told of the internet world to come while pressing the stylistics of 'magical realism' into play....then it started to make me bored.

By the end of the 80s, we were in nerd heaven again - space operas, galactic empires, artificial intelligences, posthuman scenarios - and most of them very hi-tech, very worthy and dull. There wasn't much irony or immediacy anymore. SF was tackling upcoming science more directly, but by doing so it was painting itself into a corner that started to look like 1930s escapism again.

...and then I rediscovered Barry Malzberg. I can come off the tablets now, physician.

I love Barry Malzberg in the way I love any iconoclast who isn't doing it for the sake of it. Coming to SF in the late sixties with the desire to write traditional magazine-born genre SF, but with a focus on literary quality to rival that of the mainstream, Barry kicked backside big time. Like Dick, Silverberg, Bester (at his best) and Ellison (at his finest), here was a rival for Delany and Disch.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
Great stories, poor edition 29 May 2014
By Rodrigo Baeza - Published on
Format: Paperback
It was a pleasure to read for the first time most of the stories included in this collection. Being only familiar with a few of the author's novels and articles, the stories reprinted here didn't disappoint (and left me wanting to read more of the author's work).

Unfortunately, the typographical errors in the text were so numerous that they ended up being a huge distraction when reading the book. Most stories here suffer from incorrect punctuation (periods and commas inserted ramdonly in the middle of sentences), misspelled words, missing paragraph breaks, unmatched quote marks, etc. The sloppiness displayed here is inexcusable. A shame, since Malzberg's work deserves much better.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Have to agree with the first reviewer- and I'm a BM fan 9 Jan. 2014
By rickzz - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've mainly read BM's novels like Galaxies, Herovitt's World and Beyond Apollo- which I found to be superb. The only other Malzberg anthology I've read was "Passage of the Light", which I found excellent. So I was prepared to be blown away by this book.

Like the previous reviewer, I didn't care too much for most of the stories- which I found too experimental or bewildering.
4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Not My Cup of Future Tea 17 Sept. 2013
By Kelly Garbato - Published on
Format: Paperback
(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Library Thing's Early Reviewer program.)

I'm a bit of a newcomer to science fiction - only in the last year have I discovered the likes of Joanna Russ, Suzette Haden Elgin, and Anne McCaffrey - and, having never heard of Barry N. Malzberg, I was unsure what to expect from this anthology.

The collection starts off on a strong note with "A Galaxy Called Rome," a short story that's ostensibly not a short story at all, but is rather presented as the author's notes on how to write a short piece of science fiction. Accompanied only by a ship full of corpses (in cold storage for the day when their respective illnesses can be cured; until then, the bodies are stacked helpfully about the ship in order to absorb gamma rays), Lena is piloting the exploratory ship The Skipstone when it tumbles into a black galaxy. Here, time ceases to have meaning; Lena progresses through a thousand different lives, slowly building toward the day when she can find a way out of her predicament. Though not exactly an easy read, "A Galaxy Called Rome" is nonetheless an enjoyable piece of existential scifi, questioning what it means to be human in an infinite world.

After "A Galaxy Called Rome" - which is on the quirky side - the stories found in THE VERY BEST OF BARRY M. MALZBERG grow increasingly weird and esoteric. Wikipedia describes Malzberg's style as "distinctive, with frequently long, elaborate though carefully constructed sentences and under-use of commas." Further, Malzberg "uses metafiction techniques to subject the heroic conventions and literary limitations of space opera to biting satire." Indeed, his beginnings as a playwright and prose fiction writer are evident in these stories. The result feels vaguely Orwellian, but much less readable.

Most of the stories appear to have been written in the `60s and `70s, Malzberg's heyday. War, politics, and bureaucracy are common themes, though as someone who doesn't really remember the Reagan presidency and wasn't alive during the Vietnam War, much of Malzber's satire is lost on me. Older readers - particularly those who were young adults in the `60s - might have a greater appreciation of Malzber's style and viewpoint. Instead, I found myself skimming through the pages, finally giving up about halfway through. Usually I power through books I'm obligated to review, but this collection failed to hold my attention, if even for a cursory examination.

Additionally, horrendous punctuation and rampant typos make an already difficult book nearly impossible to read. Periods placed in the middle of sentences, incomplete pairs of quotation marks, commas that appear where they shouldn't - this book is a mess. Whether it's due to incompetent copyediting or poorly edited OCR scans (as another reviewer suggested), the result is the same: a text that's increasingly difficult to plod through.

Incidentally, at first I thought that these mistakes were intentional - an extra layer of eccentricity provided by the author - that is, until I realized that they are universal throughout the text. Just to give you an idea of the author's flair.
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