First edition cover
|Author||Barry N. Malzberg|
|Cover artist||Roger Hane|
|Genre||Science fiction novel|
|Publisher||Random House (original 1972 edition) & Pocket Books (1974 paperback edition)|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
|Pages||156 pp (Pocket Books edition)|
|ISBN||0-671-77687-8 (1974 paperback)|
Beyond Apollo is a novel by Barry N. Malzberg, first published in 1972 in a hardcover edition by Random House. Malzberg credits the inspiration for the novel to "I Have My Vigil", a 1969 short story by fellow science fiction writer Harry Harrison.
The novel's protagonist is Harry M. Evans, the lone survivor of the disastrous first manned expedition to the planet Venus. Evans provides details of the doomed expedition as a novel in progress, and he proves to be a remarkably unreliable narrator, constantly changing the particulars of his story as it progresses. It quickly becomes apparent to the reader that he may be completely insane, as a feeling of deep (and comical) paranoia underlies Evans's descriptions of the absurd conversations that ensue with the Venusian inhabitants. There is some indication that Evans could very well have murdered his fellow crewmember. The novel ends with a publishing house offering to purchase the rights to Evans's outlandish tale.
Literary significance and criticism
Joanna Russ praised the novel as "a passionate, fine, completely realized work," noting that Malzberg's repetitive use of particular words transformed them into "a kind of Greek chorus, a terrible, poignant insistence on something that is not quite in the story but yet comes through the story." Harlan Ellison commented that "Beyond Apollo put me out of commission for three days after reading it".
The novel won the first John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, presented in 1973.
- Clute, John and Peter Nicholls. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 1993 (2nd edition 1995). ISBN 0-312-13486-X.
- Pringle, David. The Ultimate Guide to Science Fiction. London: Grafton Books, 1990. ISBN 0-246-13635-9.
- Reginald, Robert. Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, 1975-1991. Detroit; Washington, DC; London: Gale Research, Inc., 1992. ISBN 0-8103-1825-3.