Book Review: The Hole in the Zero, M. K. Joseph (1967)

the hole in zero(Ed Soyka’s cover for the 1969 edition)

3.5/5 (Good)

I love finding a SF book on the used bookstore shelf by an author I have never heard of.  I am even more excited when a virtually unknown novel is endorsed by one of the great SF critics, in this case John Clute. According to Clute’s SF Encyclopedia entry [link] M. K. Joseph was a UK-born resident of New Zealand where he worked as a professor of English and writer.  His early novels and poetry were not SF—The Hole in the Zero (1967) is his first, and one of his only, SF works.

Brief Plot Summary/Analysis (*as always, some spoilers*)

The Hole in the Zero is primarily a character driven novel that takes a space opera premise, with (initially) very standard space opera characters, and contorts and Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. CXIII (Dangerous Visions + Holdstock + Stewart + Joseph)

Recent travels yield wonderful SF hauls—including one of the most famous post-apocalyptical novels of all time, George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides (1949).  Thankfully my edition is graced with a gorgeous Lehr landscape—strange forms in the distances, crushed cars in the foreground.

The most famous SF anthology of all times—Ellison’s Dangerous Visions (1967).  As a proponent of the New Wave movement it’s about time that I snagged a copy (disclaimer before the cries of derision: I have already read numerous stories contained in the anthology).

An early Holdstock novel (I might get to that one soon)….

And a shot in the dark—M. K. Joseph’s The Hole in the Zero (1967).  John Clute (the noted SF critic) describes it such on SF Encyclopedia: it “begins as an apparently typical Space-Opera adventure into further dimensions at the edge of the Universe, but quickly reveals itself as a linguistically brilliant, complex exploration of the nature of the four personalities involved as they begin out of their own resources to shape the low-probability regions into which they have tumbled. Ultimately the novel takes on allegorical overtones. As an examination of the metaphorical potentials of sf language and subject matter, it is a significant contribution to the field.”  Sounds intriguing to me…


1. Earth Abides, George R. Stewart (1949)

(Paul Lehr’s cover for the 1974 edition) Continue reading