Not among my favorite Malzberg novels I’ve read (so far). Only after a more alert re-reading of the ending (compared to my drowsy, late night, first attempt) did I get some sense of closure and impact to the protagonist’s, Quir, story. Once again I felt the sexual component was force-fitted and strained in that, lacking any other-worldly frame of reference, Malzberg tried to humanize the sexual activities of the aliens. Should non-human aliens be anthropomorphized in this manner? This sent my mind on a tangent thinking about the joke where an alien visitor to earth shakes hands with a human in way of an introduction then announces that their reproductive organs are located in their hands and the human is now pregnant. Hand sex!
“I am not happy…Nevertheless, I am content. I walk, meditate, engage in metaphysical discussions with my therapists, avoid meetings of the tribe, fornicate joyously with females who accept me, sleep eight to twelve hours otherwise, and in all ways try to live an ordered existence without rage.” (p. 6-7)
“Despite our naive suspicion, despite our lust for torture, we are a race given to odd moods of guilt or compassion, swings toward altruism and self-flagellation and in the bargain there is a strong mystical patter which underlies almost all of our cultures, one which has to deal with martyrdom and redemption.” (p. 30)
“To be a revolutionary…is to disregard all mannerisms and reactions, even one’s own.” (p.42)
“Knowledge is the better part of collaboration.” (p. 53)