Question: When is a novel not a novel?
Answer: When it is written by Barry N. Malzberg.
Ignore the cover art and the back cover blurb about the story contained within, what Galaxies is really about is more the story of writing the novel and the author’s thought process in doing so. Plus commentary on the science-fiction genre as practiced by Malzberg and other authors. It took me three separate attempts before I felt Malzberg’s rhythm. There is a science-fiction story with faster-than-light space travel, black hole like formation, cyborgs and a cargo of corpses in some sort of stasis who communicate by thought…or do they?
“this will not be a novel so much as a series of notes toward one. Nevertheless pay attention, for it will cease to become a novel at the point where it seems to be at last gathering force.” (p. 7)
“hard science fiction is largely a myth; there is almost no science in science fiction and never has been” (p. 13)
“This novel is not about what happens…but why is has happened and what real effects this must have upon everyone, including the reader.” (p. 88)
“science fiction is bizarre enough without increasing the distance of characters from the reader” (p. 93)