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Beyond Apollo Paperback – 1974

3.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 153 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket (1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881845515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881845518
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,770,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Barry N. Malzberg was one of the most prolific and brilliant science fiction writers of the 1970's and early 1980's, cranking out an amazing 75 novels and hundreds of short stories in a relatively short time while still maintaining remarkably high literary standards. His output has slowed way down since his most fruitful period although he does manage to produce the occasional excellent short story in major anthologies. Most of his best novels, including great works such as DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE, HEROVIT'S WORLD and GUERNICA NIGHT, are frustratingly out of print at the moment. Even Malzberg's most acclaimed and popular book, BEYOND APOLLO, is currently unavailable. In some ways, APOLLO is the greatest loss of all, as most critics agree that this novel was a signature genre title of the 1970's, certainly an important starting point for any reader interested in sampling this often grimly powerful writer's works.
BEYOND APOLLO tells the story of the doomed first manned exploratory mission to the planet Venus. As usual, Malzberg takes such a commonplace and horribly cliched premise and twists it beyond all possible expectations. The mission's lone, and possibly completely crazed, survivor recounts the details of the disastrous expedition as a novel-in-progress. Written with Malzberg's customary heavy irony and outlandish black humor, APOLLO features some of the writer's sharpest and funniest dialogue ever.
The winner of the John W. Campbell award as best science fiction novel of 1972, APOLLO is part of an angry and obsessive trilogy of thematically related novels Malzberg wrote about NASA, all published within months of each other. Although APOLLO is surely the most critically championed of the three books, I actually prefer both THE FALLING ASTRONAUTS and REVELATIONS.
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Format: Paperback
There's something deceptive in the way Barry Malzberg books are marketed. Publishers seem unable to describe what the book is actually about and what they settle on seems to fall very wide of the mark. Both with this book and "Galaxies", the descriptions on the back cover emphasize aspects of the book that are really insignificant in the story itself and give sort of a false impression of what the book is really about. This even extends to the cover, which can be called "trippy" at the very least and seems to hint that enjoyment of the book involves a psychedelic experience. It's not necessary to do these things, since Malzberg's books don't really need any extra selling, even if they are hard to classify. This novel takes a fairly simple premise (men venturing into an unexplored planet) and uses it as a launching point to both belittle SF and the space program. Two astronauts go out on a trip to Venus, only one comes back. What happened to the other, the survivor will not say, nor will he say what happened on the planet itself. Malzberg dodges the issue expertly, never letting on if the main character is crazy (and if he is, did he start out that way?) and it's impossible to say which of his narrative is true, if any. The ultimate truth is elusive, a rarity in writing, where readers like everything to be spelled out. Told in brief bursts of short chapters this is a book that reads quickly and like most of Malzberg's books there's not a wasted word, he makes his point and moves on, leaving the reader to figure out the rest. Nor does he makes his comments in broad strokes, his criticisms are always incisive and focused and in a sense are still relevant today.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
I began reading author Barry Malzberg during his brief, Kohoutek-like fluorescence(and eventual disappearance)during the early to mid 1970s. While on a vacation trip in Florida in 1976, I remained indoors for a full day, totally absorbed in reading an Ace paperback copy of "Beyond Apollo". Outside my motel room, I skipped a visit with friends to a nearby Gulf coast beach and even ignored the well-oiled, bikini-clad college girls milling around the pool in the courtyard beyond my motel room. Ha, what a nerd I was! Years later, now, I still remember "Beyond Apollo" and those flickering, kinetic shadows of bikini-women in the raw sunlight.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a great example of why I read science fiction.

Many types of fiction provide opportunities for writers to experiment with odd types of stories and imaginative ways of telling them. There are certainly many, many examples of traditional, even boring story telling in science fiction, but the very nature of the thing seems to lend itself to experimentation.

You can read this book just as an entertaining story, a kind of mystery about why an exploratory mission to Venus, as the first step toward colonization, failed, with its Captain dead and the surviving crewmember, Evans, seemingly deranged. The story then becomes Evans' repeated attempts to either explain what happened, or avoid explaining what happened.

But, along the way, Malzberg gives us more to think about. Evans, who refers to himself sometimes in the third person and at some remove from himself as narrator, talks of the book he will write about the mission he is on. That sets in place a doubt in the reader's mind about whether or not we are reading a true account or a concoction. And within the story, there are certainly concoctions, as Evans is questioned about what happened on the mission and how the Captain died. It's as if the truth is too hard to describe, or as if a mere factual account would fail to do justice to the question.

I liked the adventure, but it's also this inability to find a firm footing for truth in the story that I found fascinating and that made the book, for me, more than just a fun read.
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