cover image The Bend at the End of the Road

The Bend at the End of the Road

Barry N. Malzberg. Fantastic, $13.99 trade paper (162p) ISBN 978-1-5154-1038-6

This volume’s 46 piquant essays, all written as columns for Galaxy’s Edge and Baen’s Universe between 2006 and 2017, are outgrowths of what veteran SF author Malzberg (The Engines of the Night) calls his “lover’s argument with science fiction.” He sings the praises of science fiction as “an outsider literature, transgressive or visionary at its best,” that reached its creative pinnacle in its magazine markets in the 1950s. But he laments the impact on the genre made by the erosion of the wall separating science fiction from the literary mainstream in the 1960s, and then the onslaught of “Tolkien imitations, elves, dwarves, Star Trek and finally George Lucas.” Though candidly opinionated, Malzberg writes with great humility, referring to his writing as “my graffiti of distress.” He uses his knowledge of the genre and its writers, and of literature and the arts, to discuss science fiction in a general cultural context. The impressions and insights that abound in these columns make this book indispensable for any fan of science fiction. (June)