The novel Herovit’s World by Barry N. Malzberg is the written form of an identity crisis. The characters, mad, fall into themselves. Herovit becomes Poland becomes Miller. A Jew becomes Ambiguous becomes Spaceman Toughman Everyman. The book structure itself falls into an identity crisis all it’s own. A psychological portrait of an alcoholic, washed up hack with no love for anything but his meager fame becomes the ravings of a psychotic megalomaniac becomes the creation of a literary tulpa by a doppelgaenger.
Malzberg writes in a form that mirrors the plot and central concern. The novel itself is sick. The structure of its language models the disorder of the mind of the subject. The limits of science fiction are stretched once again.