Writers of interest – Barry N. Malzberg
Philip K. Dick is famous these days. So are William S. Burroughs and J. G. Ballard. But there are plenty of other writers who have produced work of a similar calibre – perhaps not as consistently or for so long a period – work that is well worth reading. One of these writers is Barry N. Malzberg.
Malzberg (born 1939) hasn’t really written SF for a couple of decades now, but in the 70s he was extremely prolific. He once won the John W. Campbell award for Best SF novel (in 1974 I think). Unfortunately, most of Malzberg’s books are out of print now. I’ve read something like 25-30 Malzberg novels. These are the best of them, in my opinion:
The Men Inside
The Falling Astronauts
The Cross of Fire
Underlay (not SF – it’s about horse racing)
The Remaking of Sigmund Freud
Any of those are worth reading, but you’ll have to look in second-hand bookstores to find them. I can recommend abebooks.com for this. In actual fact, however, there are only about 3 Malzberg books that I know are currently in print. The first is the most important, a collection of short stories called In the Stone House. Now, I always thought of Malzberg as a good writer, but this collection of stories, published by Arkham House (of H. P. Lovecraft fame), is a great collection. You can get this from Amazon or from direct from the publisher at http://www.arkhamhouse.com/ If you want to read Malzberg, then I would recommend In the Stone House above all else.
The second Malzberg book that I know is in print is a collection of three novels, published by ibooks under the title of On a Planet Alien. This is actually a collection of three novels: not only On a Planet Alien, but In the Enclosure and Scop. Unfortunately, none of these novels are among Malzberg’s best, at least to my way of thinking.
The third Malzberg book in print is actually non-fiction, published by Baen Books in 2007 as Breakfast in the Ruins. Breakfast is actually an expanded version of a book of essays called Engines of the Night: Science Fiction in the Eighties, which was published in 1982 or thereabouts. Malzberg has a unique and interesting perspective on the history of science fiction. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the history of the genre. Many of the essays in Breakfast in the Ruins have been written in more recent years, although I will say that that the earlier essays are generally of a higher quality.
And that’s it, as far as I know. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs, because Malzberg is an interesting writer who will probably appeal to readers of Philip K. Dick. If you know of any other Malzberg titles in print, I’d love to hear about them.