Robert Silverberg

J Riff

The Ants are my friends..
Joined
Apr 11, 2010
Messages
4,775
Location
Sleeping in Lab
HE wrote a zillion anonymous, pseudonymous hack jobs, too. I've met him a few times and he are pretty cool guy. Looks like a writer.
 

Fried Egg

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2006
Messages
3,497
Seeing this thread reminded me that I didn't post about my reading of "Dying Inside". Here were my thoughts after reading it:

After reading a couple of only average Silverberg novels, it's great to have my faith in the author's ability reaffirmed by reading another of his greats.

Like The Book of Skulls this is almost only incidentally SF, that is more character driven than anything else. Yes, it is about someone who is a telepath, one of the classic tropes of the genre, but it is never really rationalised or understood. But that wasn't really the point, rather it was about how someone coped with being different from everyone else with an ability that was as much a curse as it was a gift, and how he coped with the fact that he was now losing his ability.

The Protagonist David Selig isn't a particularly sympathetic character, one gets the feeling that his problems are largely of his own making rather than a result of his unique gift. He spends much of the time wallowing in self-pity and bitterness, he is clearly his own worst enemy. And yet the character feels real. This is a frank appraisal of his own life and relationships with others. One cannot help feeling moved by his experiences while at the same time one wants to shake and shout at him to sort it out.

A great book and one I would recommend to both genre and non-genre fans alike. Sometimes I think that the best SF is written by people who are unconscious of the genre they are writing in and this is another case in point.
 

Bick

A Member of the Forum
Supporter
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
2,202
Location
Auckland, NZ

AE35Unit

]==[]===O °
Joined
Dec 8, 2007
Messages
6,120
Location
Somewhere near Jupiter...
From the blog: I didnt finish this book-just couldnt get into it,too much waffle!
Funny how opinions vary - I read it in about 2 days and thought it was well written, well paced and rewarding. Very good book. I don't recall any waffle... but that's just me. :)
the story seemed obsessed with sex. I wanted to read a sf story not a book about sexual tension.
 

barlennan

is people.
Joined
Mar 7, 2013
Messages
60
Just read "Regan's Planet", which is a weird book; basically a pro-business take on "The Space Merchants", where a scheming, ruthless executive is the antihero, and free-market capitalism is portrayed as a high-stakes gamble that always pays off.

Most of the story concerns [a reductive, simplistic version of] the economic and political machinations of "futuristic" (1992!) big business, and I couldn't work out whether it was supposed to be a love letter to Wall St or a satire. Also, it's got a really strange interaction between the hero and his wife, where you are expecting him to reform his irresponsible ways and for the couple to reconcile their differences, but also you're rooting for him to drop her flat.

I would recommend it to Silverberg fans, particularly if you liked "To Live Again". It was more politically nuanced than I expected and the earliest of his books that I've really enjoyed. Very different indeed (if not as stylish as his 70s work).
 

Fried Egg

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2006
Messages
3,497
Wow, I can't believe it is over two years since the last Silverberg book I read!

Just finished "Downward to Earth" that I rated four out of five stars:

This edition came with a really interesting introduction by the author himself in which he explains how he thought this was not very good when it was first published and, at first, taken aback by how well it was received. He even withdrew it after it was nominated for a Nebula award to make way for, what he thought was the better book, Tower of Glass. I have to say that I think this is one of his better efforts and certainly better than "Tower of Glass".

Silverberg also tells us how it was inspired by Rudyard Kiplingand Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness as well as his own trip to Africa. It is a story set on an alien world that was a former terran colony and populated by at least two sentient species. A former governor returns eight years after they gained independence, drawn back for reasons he can't quite understand. He must come to terms with himself and his own former attitudes and actions as he goes on a journey, both physically and spiritually, to the legendary mountain of rebirth.

The parallels between this world and the former European colonies on earth are obvious and the author makes no secret of it. It is well written and an engaging and pleasant read, if perhaps a little heavy handed with the point it is trying to make. It certainly feels very much of its time, both thematically and also because the conclusions reached at the end probably won't seem so startling and original as they might have done once.

But still, a solid effort and a must read for all fans Silverberg fans.
 

Extollager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
6,277
Just finished "Downward to Earth"
I've read it a couple of times. It has some flaws, but they seem to me to be much outweighed by its literary successes. One could compare and contrast it with Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet in some ways, as well as making the Heart of Darkness connection.
 
Top