Paul Di Filippo (pgdf) wrote in theinferior4,
Paul Di Filippo

The Barry Malzberg Primer for Existential Twelve-year-olds

Yesterday, I chanced upon and instantly bought a copy of this book. It's a YA anthology of original stories from 1973, assembled by the semi-infamous editor Roger Elwood, who churned out scores of these in his heyday.

Famed critic John Clute was accompanying me, and even he had never seen nor heard of this particular volume before.

I cracked it open to the table of contents, and was gobsmacked to see a Barry Malzberg story on the page.

Now, Barry M. has never represented himself as a YA author. Famed for his bleak and unremitting view of the universe, he and his worldview seemed discordant with the typical YA story--at least in 1973. Nowadays, of course, with THE HUNGER GAMES, et al, YA fiction has come, in a way, to be thoroughly Malzbergified.

But what could this early story possibly be like? Had Barry tempered his existential vision for a young audience?

Well, now you can read this never-reprinted story for yourself. You'll see that all the Malzbergian trademarks are intact. Your loved ones lie, technology fails and offers brutal truths, and life is a pointless, endless journey across the empty cosmos.

If there was a spike in incidents of adolescent depression around this year, we now know why!

[Click on each page once or twice to enlarge]

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.