Robert Silverberg

Robert Silverberg was born January 15, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York. He began submitting stories to science fiction magazines as a teenager. He attended Columbia University and graduated in 1956. He won his first Hugo Award the same year for his juvenile novel Revolt in Alpha C. He was extremely prolific in his early years, publishing over 80 stories for magazines and Ace Doubles in 1958 alone.

Silverberg received a host of awards from 1969 through 1975 for novellas and short stories. He retired in 1975, but returned to publication in 1980 with Lord Valentine's Castle. The Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted him in 1999 and he was names the Science Fiction and Fantasy of America's Grand Master in 2005. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

Next Stop the Stars

"Next Stop the Stars is, as the title implies, a step out of this world into a group of worlds divided by time and space in which anyone is likely to encoutner anything. A selection of the best of Robert Silverberg, it presents an unusual novella of a world of the future which has been taken over by beings from outer space who have made themselves its master. Into the world, comes a man from the present - and the story of his contest with that future is as tensely dramatic as any novel. Add to this a group of truly unusual science-fiction tales, and you will agree that Next Stop the Stars is a justified title."

Original Publication: Ace, 1962
This Edition: Ace, 1962
Cover Art: Unknown
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Ace Double #F-145 with The Seed of Earth, also by Robert Silverberg

Review:


The Silent Invaders

"Abner Harris came to Earth on a mission of extreme urgency. A Subject of the Spirit had no right to question his orders. And his orders said that the universe was in danger of enslavement by the pebble-skinned Medlins. And that the fight against their evil scheming called for him to assume the disguise of a flesh-and-blood Earthman. But once in that new synthetic body, he made a mind-numbing discovery: that the real villians of space were neither the Medlins not the people of Earth, but his own kind! Suddenly he was alone, alienated from his own race, hated by the Medlins, and an imposter on Earth - no matter what side he chose, he'd be a traitor - but choose he must or forever remain a man without a planet!"

Original Publication: Ace, April 1963
This Edition: Ace, April 1963
Cover Art: Ed Emshwiller
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Ace Double #F-195 with William F. Temple's Battle on Venus

Review:


The Seed of Earth

"In a dark cave, on a cold planet, in a distant galaxy, four Earthmen sat and pondered the chance that had sent them there. The Computer had picked them to carry human civilization out beyond the limits of the Solar System. They were to be pioneers of a virgin world. Do Your Share for Mankind's Destiny read the slogan back on Earth. But Mankind's Destiny had not prepared them for the onslaught of the vicious aliens. Four humans, alone in a cave, waiting for the outburst that would hurl them at each other's throats, feeling the alien eyes observing their every action, and knowing that whatever they did would determine the future of their entire colony."

Original Publication: Ace, 1962
This Edition: Ace, 1962
Cover Art: Ed Valigursky
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Ace Double #F-145 with Next Stop the Stars, also by Robert Silverberg. Contents: The Seed of Earth, Slaves of the Star Giants, The Songs of Summer, Hooper, Blaze of Glory and Warm Man all by Robert Silverberg

Review:


Those Who Watch

"CRASH LANDING FROM THE STARS - Only three humans would ever know that the blinding flash in the sky on that night in 1982 was an exploding flying saucer. Only they would learn the truth about THOSE WHO WATCH - about the alien beings who came into this world in a crash landing from the stars. THOSE WHO WATCH is the strange, seductive novel of three accidental colonists from outer space whose chance encounter with Earth triggers interplanetary conflict. It is also the most unusual love story ever written."

Original Publication: Signet/New American Library, April 1967
This Edition: Signet/New American Library of Canada, January 1971
Cover Art: Gene Szafran
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Review:


Three for Tomorrow

"A world in which the credit card is king, and debt has enslaved all humanity.a giant data bank controls the lives of every man and woman.land, air and water have reached the final disaster level of pollution.The world of today? No, not yet. These are worlds of tomorrow, as envisioned by three great S-F names - Robert Silverberg, Roger Zelazny and James Blish - in mind-expanding novellas written especially for this volume."

Original Publication: Meredith Press, August 1969
This Edition: Dell, August 1970
Cover Art: Unknown
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Contents: How It Was When the Past Went Away by Arthur C. Clarke, The Eve of RUMOKO by Roger Zelazny and We All Die Naked by James Blish

Review:


The Mirror of Infinity: A Critic's Anthology of Science Fiction

"For the confirmed science-fiction fan as well as for readers new to s-f, this collection of brilliant tales and critical comments will be an enjoyable revelation. Thirteen of the most perceptive critics in the field have selected and introduced their favorite stories to demonstrate the limitless worlds of space, mind, and technology that s-f has opened to its steadily increasing audience. Awe-inspiring, funny, tender, and chilling, these tales trace the evolution of this genre from its modern begniings to the work of the latest generation of authors. Included are stories by H. G. Wells, John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Lewis Padgett, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Sheckley, James Blish, Cordwainder Smith, Robert A. Heinlein, J. G. Ballard, Harlan Ellison, P. A. Zoline, and Jorge Luis Borges...selected and discussed by such critics such as Jack Williamson, Algis Budrys, Harry Harrison, James Blish, Thomas D. Clareson, Robert Conquest, Damon Knight, Knigsley Amis, Alexei Panship, H. Bruce Franklin, Willis E. McNelly, Brian W. Aldiss, and Ivor Rogers. As Robert Silverberg points out in his introduction, "It has slowly become apparent to studnets of literature that science fiction deserves seriouis attention, not as a manifestation of pop culture but as an expressive and distinctive branch of the narrative art...One of the purposes of this book is to offer a selection of such stories by way of demonstrating the livliness of the genre." Lively the book is, and first-rate reading."

Original Publication: Canfield Press, May 1970
This Edition: Harper & Row, May 1970
Cover Art: Fred Cantor
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Contents: Forword to The Star by Jack Williamson, The Star by H. G. Wells, Foreword to Twilight by Algis Budrys, Twilight by John W. Campbell, Foreword to Nightfall by Harry Harrison, Nightfall by Isaac Asimov, Foreword to Private Eye by James Bilsh, Private Eye by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore (as by Lewis Padgett), Foreword to The Sentinel by Thomas D. Clareson, The Sentinel by Arthur C. Clarke, Foreword to Specialist by Robert Conquest, Specialist by Robert Sheckley, Foreword to Common Time by Damon Knight, Common Time by James Blish, Foreword to The Game of Rat and Dragon by Kingsley Amis, The Game of Rat and Dragon by Cordwainer Smith, Foreword to All You Zombies- by Alexei Panshin, All You Zombies- by Robert A. Heinlein, Foreword to The Subliminal Man by H. Bruce Franklin, The Subliminal Man by J. G. Ballard, Foreword to I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream by Willis E. McNelly, I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison, Foreword to The Heat Death of the Universe by Brian W. Aldiss, The Heat Death of the Universe by Pamela Zoline, Foreword to The Liberty of Babel by Ivor A. Rogers and The Liberty of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges

Review:


The Stochastic Man

"A man doesn't choose his life. His life chooses him. Lew Nichols' business, at the end of the twentieth century, was stochastic prediction - high-powered guesswork. He was very good at this well-paying, sophisticated, and technical species of witchcraft. And he was quite content with the sultry and sensuous Indian beauty he married. Lew Nichols' life was as placid as an electroc flow - until a fateful day in March '99 when he met Martin Carajal. From the first, Lew got strange vibrations from the sullen and eccentric millionaire: "Your computer models," said Caravajal, "allow you to guess the future. Now I will show you how to control it!""

Original Publication: Gollancz, April 1976
This Edition: Fawcett Gold Medal, November 1981
Cover Art: Unknown
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Review:


Dying Inside

"What Norman Mailer did for war in The Naked and The Dead Robert Silverberg does for science fiction in Dying Inside. The stunning novel of a man blessed and cursed by the amazing gift of being able to peer into people's minds, to read thoughts, to know their feelings, and to hear their unspoken lies...Dying Inside. The remarkable life sage of David Selig, a boy like any other yet like no other...growing up, falling in love, protecting himself from things he does not want to hear, and eavesdropping on all that he does...Dying Inside. The chilling story of what happens when David's power begins to ebb...stranding him slowly in an incomprehensible alien world, leaving him outwardly living - but dying inside!"

Original Publication: Charles Scribner's Sons, October 1972
This Edition: Ballantine, February 1976
Cover Art: Murray Tinkelman
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Review:

Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg is aptly named. I just finished reading it and I have to say, I almost felt as if I were following the title's suggestion. While the piece was nicely written in places, I suppose, one has to wonder why it was written to begin with. Its moody..its smug.It deliberately tries to be overly-intellectual, like an Ivy League needs-based grant student trying to fit in with his sophisticated and silver-spoon classmates. Silverberg attempts to mention every author, scientist and musician of note in the past millennium. I am shocked at the number of awards this drivel was nominated for.

Set in the 1970s, the story follows David Selig as he reminisces about and loses his ability to read other's minds. We have here a person with a genuine ESP gift, but instead of using it for good, or even for personal gain, Selig simply flounders around through his life with a "woe is me" attitude that does nothing but land him at the bottom rung of any social ladder. The reader is dragged through every agonizing blow to Selig's ego, every rejection, every failure. Surprisingly, Selig himself is confused as to why he ended up being a near-drifter. It's obvious to the reader. David Selig, you stupid, stupid man, you never used your gift of mind reading for anything except occasionally getting laid. The crux of the story is that David is losing his ability to look into other's minds. Well, you know what they say, if you don't use it - you lose it, and good riddance to it because Selig wasn't worthy of having it to begin with. He is a character that is mired in self-loathing and I believe would have been a miserable human being even without his ESP. In the end, he loses his ability entirely, curses God and sets out to begin a whole "new life."

All in all, this has got to be one of the more boring and tedious science fiction novels I have read. The main character whined and bemoaned his existence and his ESP throughout, and with the exception of a few decently written scenes, I found myself skimming entire chapters. I kept waiting for something to happen. It never did. What's worse is that, of course, I bought this book used at a local second-hand bookstore; the person before me must have had the same thought patterns as David Selig, because I continuously had to endure not only rudely underlined passages..but the anonymous reader underlined what amounted to the epitome of drivel and whining. I certainly would not wish this book upon anyone and therefore cannot recommend it. I will probably spend years recovering from having read it myself.


Earthmen & Strangers

"Strange friends or deadly enemies? Nine superb writers reach to the stars to find what forms of life wait to meet man - a choice sampling of the absolute best in spellbinding modern science fiction. Dear Devil - by Eric Frank Russell - The Best Policy - by Randall Garrett - Alaree - by Robert Silverberg - Life Cycle - by Poul Anderson - The Gentle Vultures - by Isaac Asimov - Stranger Station - by Damon Knight - Lower Than Angels - by Algis Budrys - Blind Lightning - by Harlan Ellison - Out of the Sun - by Arthur C. Clarke - All personally selected by Robert Silverberg."

Original Publication: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, September 1966
This Edition: Dell, July 1968
Cover Art: Jeff Jones
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Contents: Dear Devil by Eric Frank Russell, The Best Policy by Randall Garrett, Alaree by Robert Silverberg, Life Cycle by Poul Anderson, The Gentle Vultures by Isaac Asimov, Stranger Station by Damon Knight, Lower Than Angels by Algis Budrys, Blind Lightning by Harlan Ellison and Out of the Sun by Arthur C. Clarke

Review:


Invaders from Earth

"To justify genocide.Kennedy had a job to do. It was as simple as that. He was paid to do a job, and he did it. His job was to convince the Earth's population that a hapless race of sapient creatures living peacefully on a distant planet must be destroyed as a menace to Earth..."

Original Publication: Avon, July 1968
This Edition: Avon, July 1968
Cover Art: Don Crowley
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Review:


Downward to the Earth

"From the shrouding fogs of its Mist Country to the lunatic tropical fertility of its jungles, the planet Belzagor was alien in the extreme. Before the decolonization movement, it had been part of Earth's Galaxy-wide empire. But the Nildoror and Sulidoror, Belgazor's two intelligent species, had been given their independence, and once again they ruled themselves. Edmund Gundersen, a former colonial official from Earth, was returning to Belzagor after an eight year absence. Officially, he was a tourist, but in reality he was seeking redemption - redemption for the crimes he had committed against the Nildoror and Sulidoror. Even now, he still found it hard to accept their independence. The Nildoror were great elephant-like bipeds covered with dark red hard, had long arms tipped with terrifying claws. How could such creatures, without any technology to speak of, run an entire planet? Yet they did, and they had one thing that had always eluded human understanding - the ceremony of rebirth. Somehow this mysterious rite linked two species, and the act that weighed most heavily on Gundersen's mind had occurred in connection with it. During an emergency, he had commandeered a group of Nildoror for a labor detail. Using a fusion torch, he had forced them to obey, and on his account they had missed their rebirth. To atone for his deed, Gundersen had decided to journey alone through Belzagor's jungles. When he reached the Mist Country, he would offer himself as a candidate for rebirth - even if it would mean the end of his life as a human!"

Original Publication: Nelson Doubleday/Science Fiction Book Club, August 1970
This Edition: Nelson Doubleday/Science Fiction Book Club, August 1970
Cover Art: Frank Frazetta
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Review:


Revolt on Alpha C

"With a mighty twist, the Space Ship Carden lunges into overdrive and shoots out into space. Ahead lies Alpha C IV, eerie world of three suns. But the Carden arrives on Alpha C right in the thick of a revolution against Earth. Treason! Then young cadet Larry Stark finds himself caught up in the revolution on both sides!"

Original Publication: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1955
This Edition: Scholastic, January 1969
Cover Art: William Meyerriecks
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Review:


Three for Tomorrow

"Three fine novellas by science-fiction writers, Robert Silverberg, Roger Zelazny, and James Blish, dramatize a theme set forth by Arthur C. Clarke; With increasing technology goes increasing vulnerability. Arthur C. Clarke, one of the world's best-known authors of science fiction, was asked to write a brief essay setting forth a general theme for a science-fiction story. Clarke's theme then was offered to Blish, Silverberg and Zelazny. Each author was asked to use it as a basis for a short novel, and each was given no hint of the approaches the others were taking. The result is a trio of stories that differ markedly in style, technique, and tone, while demonstrating in three individual ways the unconfortable possibilities that the future may hold for us. In "We All Die Naked," James Blish makes a grim visit to Manhattan of the future, a city in which gas masks are normal apparel and atmospheric changes resulting from man's enterprises have wrought incredible consequences. "The Eve of Romoko," by Roger Zelazny, considers the power, for good or evil, of a man whose name does not appear in the Central Data Bank, who lives outside the computerized supervision of human activity. San Francisco, 2003 A. D., is the setting for Robert Silverberg's "How It Was When the Past Went Away," a story of the mass effect of a memory-destroying drug. Strong characterizations, the imminent plausibility and possibility of the worlds predicted, and perceptive commentary on human nature are the distinctive marks of these superior stories of the future."

Original Publication: Meredith Press, August 1969
This Edition: Meredith Press, August 1969
Cover Art: Barry Martin
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Contents: We All Die Naked by James Blish, The Eve of RUMOKO by Roger Zelazny and How It Was When the Past Went Away by Robert Silverberg

Review:


Great Short Novels of Science Fiction

"A bakers half dozen of outstanding science fiction writers from the flowering fifties to the pregnant present proof, if any were needed, that s.f. is indeed a generative form. A. Bertram Chandler C. M. Kornbluth Jack Vance Charles V. DeVet Katherine MacLear Wyman Guin Roger Zelazney"

Original Publication: Ballantine, July 1970
This Edition: Ballantine, July 1970
Cover Art: Donna Violetti
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Contents: Giant Killer by A.Bertram Chandler; Two Dooms by C.M. Kornbluth; Telek by Jack Vance; Second Game by Katherine MacLean and Charles V. De Vet; Beyond Bedlam by Wyman Guin; The Graveyard Heart by Roger Zelazny

Review:


The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume One

"Here are twenty-six of the best science fiction stories ever written, chosen by those people who know better than any others what the criteria for excellence should be - the Science Fiction Writers of America. Authors included in this collection are the men and women who have done the most to give form and substance to modern science fiction. Their names form a distinguished roster; their works provide a brilliant panorama of the evolutionary stages of the genre; their diversities of style and subject illustrate the broad latitudes encompassed by the term "science fiction." Robert Heinlein, in The Roads Must Roll, describes an industrial civilization caught up in the deadly flaws of its own complexity. Country of The Kind, by Damon Knight, is a frightening portrayal of a biological mutation. Surface Tension, by James Blish, is the story of how man adapts to a world of his own creation underwater. Nightfall, by Isaac Asimov, conceives of a planet where the sun sets but once a millennium and provides a chilling study in mass psychology. This is but a sampling of the stories voted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame by the members of the SFWA. It is, without a doubt, a definitive collection of science fiction."

Original Publication: Doubleday, 1970
This Edition: Doubleday, 1970
Cover Art: Sagebrush
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Contents: A Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum, Twilight by John W. Campbell, Jr., Helen O'Loy by Lester del Rey, The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, Nightfall by Isaac Asimov, The Weapon Shop by A. E. Van Vogt, Mimsy Were the Borogroves by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore (as by Lewis Padgett), Huddling Place by Clifford D. Simak, Arena by Fredric Brown, First Contact by Murray Leinster, That Only a Mother by Judith Merril, Scanners Live in Vain by Cordwainer Smith, Mars Is Heaven! by Ray Bradbury, The Little Black Bag by C. M. Kornbluth, Born of Man and Woman by Richard Matheson, Coming Attraction by Fritz Leiber, The Quest for Saint Aquin by Anthony Boucher, Surface Tension by James Blish, The Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke, It's a Good Life by Jerome Bixby, The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin, Fondly Fahrenheit by Alfred Bester, The Country of the Kind by Damon Knight, Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes and A Road for Ecclesiastes by Roger Zelazny

Review:


The Cube Root of Uncertainty

"Move into a universe molded by a new ethic, a new mythology, a new religion. A universe full of pitfalls and trapdoors. A universe where Brother hood becomes an interplanetary pledge given in horror and loathing - The Shadow of Wings the dragon of old, now perpetrator of a new legend, guards a fabulous treasure and punishes all logical answers to his questions by death - The Sixth Palace - An inflexible magistrate makes a loop in time and becomes both judge and jury to the man he must condemn - himself - Absolutely Inflexible A resolute Roberservitor takes his job of programming a family's diet just a little too seriously - The Iron Chancellor - MU-4...Murray Hill 4 - a simple, ordinary telephone exchange - becomes a nightmarish key to a conspiracy planning the overthrow of humanity - Mugwump Four and where To the Dark Star *Double Dare *Translation Error *Neighbor * Half-Way House and Sundance also await you..."

Original Publication: Macmillan, 1970
This Edition: Collier Books, 1971
Cover Art: Anthony Sini
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Contents: Passengers, Double Dare, The Sixth Place, Translation Error, The Shadow of Wings, Absolutely Inflexible, The Iron Chancellor, Mugwump Four, To the Dark Star, Neighbor, Halfway House and Sundance

Review:


The World Inside

"2381. Man had attained Utopia War, starvation, crime and birth control had been eliminated. Life was totally fulfilled and sustained within mammoth skyscrapers hundreds of floors high. It was blessed to have children. Contemplation of controlling families was heretical. And there were methods of treatment for heresy, the most radical, being death. And there was total sexual freedom. "Night walking" was expected of men and women never refused. Only madness could inspere thoughts of privacy, faithfulness and trust. Since the need for the outdoors and travel had been eliminated, then surely so had the desire. Throughts of wanderlust were sick, to speak of it was heretical. And there were methods of treatmetn for herest. But life was a Utopia! There were a few in Urbmon 116 who were tortured by desire for some individual quality to their lives. The perfectly patterned existence of the Urbmons seemed flawed. Young Siegmund Kluver was destined to become one of the omnipotent leaders of Urbmon 116. Yet he finds himself assailed by a nameless doubt and fear. He searches throughout the vast complex of the Urbmon for some clue to his restless nature, knowing his whole future may be in jeopardy. Jason Quevedo, an historian, discovers ancient history acts as a catalyst to revealing his true character - but the price demanded for such knowledge is a cruel one. And Michael Statler escapes the confines of Urbmon 116 only to learn that the freedom of soul and spirit create their own prisons. Robert Silverberg has fashioned a science fiction novel which takes one of the world's most pressing problems and projects it to a fantastic, but frightening conclusion. He also poses the great rhetorical question - is the gift of life more precious than the quality of the individual?"

Original Publication: Doubleday, July 1971
This Edition: Doubleday/Science Fiction Book Club, March 1972
Cover Art: James Starrett
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Review:


The Second Trip

"The doctors pumped him full of memory-dissolving drugs until every bit of him was washed away and all that remained was a kind of zombie in a healthy, empty body. They then built a new, artificial personality with a complete set of memories from a past that had never existed. When the long process of Rehabilitation was finally completed, he was renamed Paul Macy and released to begin his second trip through life...May, 2011. As Paul Macy walked down the street, he couldn't suppress the feeling that everybody was looking at him. After all, he wore the Rehab badge on his lapel, a glittering bit of yellow metal advertising his status as a reconstruct job. The badge warned people that he was something special, and anyone who recognized his face would remember the series of sensational crimes committed by his former self, Nat Hamlin. Hamlin had been the world's most famous psychosculptor, but after being sentenced to Rehabilitation, his personality had been extinguished. Now the great artist existed only through his works, like Mozart or Michelangelo. The doctors assured Macy that it was impossible for his old personality to reassert itself, but the couldn't foresee the shattering consequences of his accidental meeting with Lissa Moore, Hamlin's former model and mistress. Unfortunately, her very presence stirred the monster that was only sleeping in Macy's mind. "Hello, Paul. This is Nat, your twin brother," whispered the small, but distinct voice inside his head. The reawakened Hamlin would stop at nothing to regain control of his body. And in the terrifying struggles that follow, Macy finds himself locked in mortal combat against all the malevolent forces of Hamlin's psychotic personality. A gripping masterwork of science fiction, The Second Trip is the work of Hugo and Nebula winner Robert Silverberg, author of Downward to Earth, The World Inside and A Time of Changes, winner of the Nebula for best novel.bner Harris was sent to Earth on a mission of extreme urgency: the universe was in danger of enslavement by the pebble-skinned Medlins, and the fight against them called for Harris to assume the disguise of a flesh-and-blood Earthman. But once in that new synthetic body, he discovered that the real villains of space were not the Medlins or the people of Earth; they were his own kind. Suddenly he was alone, alienated from his own race, hated by the Medlins, and an impostor on Earth. No matter what side he chose he'd be a traitor. Yet choose he must...or forever remain a man without a planet."

Original Publication: Nelson Doubleday/Science Fiction Book Club, October 1972
This Edition: Nelson Doubleday/Science Fiction Book Club, October 1972
Cover Art: Sculpture by Gene Szafran; Photograph by Murray Collens Studio
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Review:


Earth's Other Shadow

"Get your spaceman's guild Gazette! Read all about the terrors of the spaceways! Mass amnesia strikes San Francisco! Police suspect city's water supply was tampered with. Porpoise saves Seawater Recovery Station! Says he did it for love. Nightmare creature invades Earth, causes widespread panic! Claims it was just looking for a ride home. Tree attacks man! Receives the death sentence. Get the word on all these stories and more as intergalactic reporter, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Robert Silverberg, takes you on a fantastic tour through time, space and the human mind as you venture into Earth's Other Shadow."

Original Publication: Signet/New American Library, June 1973
This Edition: Signet/New American Library, June 1973
Cover Art: Unknown
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Contents: Something Wild is Loose, To See the Invisible Man, Ishmael in Love, How It Was When the Past Went Away, To the Dark Star, The Fangs of the Trees, Hidden Talent, The Song the Zombie Song (Collaboration with Harlan Ellison) and Flies by Robert Silverberg

Review:


The Silent Invaders

"Abner Harris was sent to Earth on a mission of extreme urgency: the universe was in danger of enslavement by the pebble-skinned Medlins, and the fight against them called for Harris to assume the disguise of a flesh-and-blood Earthman. But once in that new synthetic body, he discovered that the real villains of space were not the Medlins or the people of Earth; they were his own kind. Suddenly he was alone, alienated from his own race, hated by the Medlins, and an impostor on Earth. No matter what side he chose he'd be a traitor. Yet choose he must...or forever remain a man without a planet."

Original Publication: Tor, October 1985
This Edition: Tor, October 1985
Cover Art: Tom Kidd
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Contents: The Silent Invaders and Valley Beyond Time

Review:


Thorns

"Lona Kelvin - naïve orphan. At seventeen, mother of one hundred children. Minner Burris - starman. Whose butchered body had been put together by aliens, with artificial and alien replacements. Horror stalked just beneath the surface for these two lonely creatures. Duncan Clark - a vulture, carrior eater of other people's emotions, feeding on pain, fear, anger, hatred, jealousy, terror; typifying in the appetites of his vast body the sick delight that millions took in the tragedies he skillfully arranged. LONA KELVIN - MINNER BURRIS - DUNCAN CHALK - Surely the strangest triangle the worlds have ever seen."

Original Publication: Ballantine, August 1967
This Edition: Ballantine, August 1976
Cover Art: Phil Kirkland
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Review:

Duncan Chalk is a rich business man who runs a series of exclusive resorts and entertainment arcades across the Solar System. He has wealth beyond measure and he rules over his underlings with an iron fist. Despite his wealth and power though, he has to continually seek that which feeds him - pain, negative human emotion.

An emotional vampire, the reader is introduced to Chalk during a briefing with his toadies as they discuss two individuals that he believes will provide him with adequate nourishment. These two have been under observation for some time, ripening, and now Chalk believes it's time to thrust them together for maximum pain generation.

Lona is a teenage girl. A year ago, scientists engaged her in an artificial reproduction experiment. They harvested her eggs and created the first case of one hundred babies born at the same time by the same parents. Lona is not inherently a bright girl and participated in the study with confusion and wonder. She did not realize the emotional pain she would later endure with no access to her children. She lives alone, outside normal society and has attempted suicide.

Minner Burris is a Starman. He spent his career traveling the galaxy seeking new life and new planets. He came upon the planet Manipool with his two colleagues. They are taken by a native alien species and are surgically experimented on. Minner's two friends are killed in the process, but he survives..massively altered. His body has been taken apart and rearranged with some alien "improvements." This resulted not only in major physical alterations which made him an outcast when he returned to Earth, but also in constant physical pain. Since his return he has lived alone, in his dingy apartment, adapting to his condition and mourning what he has lost.

Chalk thrusts these two together. He tells Minner that in a few years the technology will be available to transfer his mind into a fully functional human body. The only thing Minner has to do is put himself on display for Chalk in the meantime and this reward will be granted to him. Chalk persuades Lona to assist in "making Minner happy" by promising her two of her babies! The two are prompted to meet in a hospital and they quickly learn to share their emotional sorrows. They become quite close and in an effort to both escape their pain and move on from it, they decide to travel the Solar system together.

Their experiences are detailed well in the work; the wonderful sites they see and their interactions with each other and the environment. There is a continual contrast between the naiveté of Lona and the wisdom and experience of Minner. As time goes on, they begin to quarrel and with each confrontation, they feel drained beyond anything they have ever encountered. Eventually they split and Lona returns to Earth, leaving Minner behind.

Without Lona in his immediate sphere, Minner comes to regret his behavior and his intolerance of her youth and wonder. He returns to Earth to seek her out. Through different routes, both come to realize they were being played by Chalk and they turn against him. Confronting Chalk, they turn outward their feelings of love and poison the emotional vampire. They then go off to live their lives together.

As soon as I think I have changed my mind about Robert Silverberg, I read another novel of his and find myself questioning his science fiction integrity. The entire framework of this novel is science fiction: a human who traveled the stars and was surgically altered by an alien race; a young girl who has, through scientific experimentation, become the mother of a hundred babies; a rich, powerful business mogul who feeds on negative emotion. The core of the story though, once you strip off the framework, is just an exploration of pain as a means to human growth.

It is actually a very touching story and Silverberg has done a fine job of writing it. I can't say I didn't enjoy it at all, just more that despite all the science fiction tidbits added to the story, it's still not really science fiction. This is like when people put Christmas ornaments on a Palm Tree. I feel like Silverberg has done that same thing here - written a John Irving novel with science fiction ornamentation.


The Science Fiction Bestiary

"Not since the heydey of the medieval bestiary compliers has such a menagerie of astonishing creatures been conceived by the human imagination."

Original Publication: Thomas Nelson, 1971
This Edition: Dell Laurel, February 1974
Cover Art: Gervasio Gallardo
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Contents: Introduction by Robert Silverberg, The Hurkle is a Happy Beast by Theodore Sturgeon, Grandpa by James H. Schmitz, The Blue Giraffe by L. Sprague de Camp, The Preserving Machine by Philip K. Dick, A Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum, The Sheriff of Canyon Gulch by Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson, Drop Dead by Clifford D. Simak, The Gnurrs Come from the Voodvork Out by Reginald Bretnor and Collecting Team by Robert Silverberg

Review:


New Dimensions 5

"This latest column in the best of the series of all-original new writings in science fiction is a stallar collection of sixteen stories. A number of the contributors may be unfamiliar names to sf readers now, but undoubtedly they won't be unfamiliar for long. Among these names is Nicholas FIsk, represented by a story about how the iresistible lure of games of chance can work to one's advantage. Dorothy Gilbert conveys the excitement, splendor, and awe of translating an alien language. David Wise gives us an ironic and somewhat embarassing look at mankind's "achievements." Among better-known writers here is Michael Bishop with two outrageous pieces full of sit and wonder: one in which a man is turned into a tomato the size of a planet and discovers the meaning of life; the other a take-off on notes written on "The Contributors of Plenum Four," an sf anthology of the future. George Alex Effinger is represented by one of his inimitable tales, that of a world gone made with ecstasy and a man who simply cannot stand for it. Jack Dann's contribution is a lore-steeped tale of evil-spirited soul-snatchers, a grabbing and frightening story. Richard Lupoff closes the volume with a moving, heart-breaking love story. The other contributors are Marta Randall, Robert Thurston, Felix C. Gotschalk, Steven Utley, Gil Lamont, Barry N. Malzberg, Drew Mendelsen, and Gregory Benford."

Original Publication: Harper & Row, April 1975
This Edition: Harper & Row, April 1975
Cover Art: Mark Rubin Design
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Contents: Find the Lady by Nocholas Fisk, A Solfy Drink, a Saffel Fragrance by Dorothy Gilbert, A Scarab in the City of Time by Marta Randall, Theodora and Theodora by Robert Thurston, A Day in the South Quad by Felix C. Gotschalk, Rogue Tomato by Michael Bishop, The Mothers' March on Ecstasy by George Alec Effinger, The Local Allosaurus by Steven Utley, Achievements by David Wise, The Dybbuk Dolls by Jack Dann, The Mirror at Sunset by Gil Lamont, Report to Headquarters by Barry N. Malzberg, Museum Piece by Drew Mendelson, White Creatures by Gregory Benford, The Contributors to Plenum Four by Michael Bishop and sail the Tide of Mourning by Richard A. Lupoff

Review:


Born With the Dead

"At the funeral he kissed her lightly on the lips, then surrendered her body to the dark-clad men in the van. She had asked in her will to be rekindled and he knew he would never see her again. In those days the deads kept strictly to themselves in the Cold Towns, rarely venturing out and mingling with the warms."

Original Publication: Random House, June 1974
This Edition: Berkley, July 1979
Cover Art: Paul Alexander
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Contents: Introduction, Born with the Dead, Thomas the Proclaimer and Going by Robert Silverberg

Review:


Thorns

"Some love affairs are made in heaven, but then there are others.Minner Burris and Lona Kelvin's affair was conceived in the twisted mind of Duncan Chalk, the vicious entrepreneur who provided the sick entertainment for millions who craved the infinite pleasures of pain. For Lona, a seventeen-year-old virgin and mother of one hundred children, the affair was to be the culmination of a dream. For Minner, mutilated starman, it was to be the end of a nightmare. But for both, it had been arranged to be a loving, living hell...Thorns"

Original Publication: Ballantine, August 1967
This Edition: Del Rey/Ballantine, March 1979
Cover Art: Murray Tinkelman
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Review:


The Arbor House Treasury of Great Science Fiction Short Novels

"From the editors of The Arbor House Treasury of Modern Science Fiction comes this bonanza companion collection, bringing together in a single compact volume more than a dozen short science fiction novels - works rarely published elsewhere, complied and annotated by two of the field's best known contributors and authorities. Included are works by Issac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, James Blish, Theodore Sturgeon, Cordwainer Smith, Damon KNight, Samuel R. Delany, Jack Vance, John Varley, James Tiptree, Jr. - and more. A dazzling array of the very best."

Original Publication: Priam Books/Arbor House, November 1980
This Edition: Arbor House/Science Fiction Book Club, May 1981
Cover Art: Antler & Bladwin, Inc.
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Variant title of World's Imagined. Editing Collaboration with Martin H. Greenberg. Contents: Beyond Bedlam by Wyman Guin, Equinoctial by John Varley, By His Bootstraps by Robert A. Heinlein, The Golden Helix by Theodore Sturgeon, Born with the Dead by Robert Silverberg, Second Game by Katherine MacLean and CHarles V. De Vet, The Dead Past by Isaac Asimov, The Road to the Sea by Arthur C. Clarke, The Star Pit by Samuel R. Delany, Giant Killer by A. Bertram Chandler, A Case of Conscience by James Blish, Dio by Damon Knight, Houston, Houston, Do You Read? by James Tiptree, Jr., On the Storm Planet by Cordwainer Smith and The Miracle-Workers by Jack Vance

Review:


Tower of Glass

"Simeon Krug's obsession was to build a tower of glass pointing toward a star in Aquarius, reaching out to answer the voice from space. The Androids were Krug's tools, and he was their God. He had created them. And they would inherit the earth. So they labored to build his tower. And Krug, full of passion, waited for his great moment - when the tower would soar toward heaven, and he would speak to the stars."

Original Publication: Charles Scribner's Sons, October 1970
This Edition: Bantam, May 1971
Cover Art: Blossom
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Review:


A Robert Silverberg Omnibus

"Here, for the first time in a single volume and for the first time between hardcovers, are three all-time favorite Robert Silverberg novels, which have been selected for this edition by the Hugo and Nebula award-winning author himself. The Man in the Maze - Torn between his own hated and compassion for mankind, a man is sought out for a mission by the race that scorned him. Nightwings - The Hugo Award-winning novel in which the Watcher embarks on a pilgrimage to the Holy City to recapture his youth, his love and the secret of Earth's salvation. Downward to the Earth - Edmund Gundersen searches for a lost love on the bizarre prehistoric planet of Belzagor while the elephantlike nilboror take control of their native planet and await the departure of the human colonists who had once enslaved them. Genuinely thrilling reading, A Robert Silverberg Omnibus is a must-have volume for SIlverberg's legions of fans and an exciting new treat for the as yet uninitiated."

Original Publication: Harper & Row, February 1981
This Edition: Harper & Row, February 1981
Cover Art: Ron Walotsky
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Contents: The Man in the Maze, Nightwings and Downward to the Earth

Review:

I had a horrible experience reading Silverberg's Dying Inside. I was quite a while before I was willing to give his work another try. I recently decided to read A Robert Silverberg Omnibus. This work contains three stories: The Man in the Maze, Nightwings and Downward to the Earth. I was intrigued with Silverberg's world building in all three of these short novels.

The Man in the Maze deals with the unique circumstances of Richard Muller. Muller has isolated himself from humanity on a distant planet of Lemnos, inside of an intricate, and deadly, maze built by a lost alien race. During his previous life, Muller had been a diplomat and while on a mission to make first contact with the inhabitants of Beta Hydri IV, he was psychically altered. After his incident, Muller projected a psychic field intolerable to other humans - a field which communicated deep feelings of loneliness and despair. Nine years later, humanity again needs Muller's services and sends out former friend and handler Charles Boardman to retrieve Muller and bring him back to Earth for another alien encounter.

In this novel, Silverberg has built an interesting environment which the characters must traverse in order to reach Muller. The maze where the main character has isolated himself is intricate and deadly. Boardman and his colleagues systematically penetrate the maze and retrieve Muller for his assigned mission. During this part of the story the reader is given many details of the maze and its functions, but no reason for its existence. In my opinion, the maze and its origins are much more interesting than Muller and his internal battle with his alterations and isolation from humanity. I was quite disappointed when there was no reveal about the maze planet.

In Nightwings, Silverberg goes even further with world building. The reader is presented with an Earth from the distant future; an Earth that has suffered a loss of technology and knowledge. This Earth is populated by human beings who adhere to a guild/class system. There are watchers who view the distant skies and serve as early detectors for incoming invaders. Apparently before knowledge and technology were lost, Earth was a force through the galaxy.

Long ago, humans hosted "zoos" with exotic animals and traveled throughout the universe collecting specimens. In the current era, information regarding this is very limited, mainly available only to Rememberers, who archive information, conduct experiments and archaeological digs to uncover ancient relics. Eventually invaders do come, and they alter the culture on Earth once again, furthering human evolution.

At first I didn't like this story. The more I have had time to dwell on it though, the more I realize how well Silverberg did with it. Science Fiction has many definitions, none of them really suitable, but often the best science fiction centers around the influence of technology on the human condition. With this story, Silverberg provides the reader with a rich, imaginative work that focuses directly on changes brought about by technology. Humans have been altered by scientific experiments to create winged people. They have had fundamental cultural losses brought about by arrogance and technology that outpaced moral development. When confronted by outside forces, humans suffer from their lack of development and past errors while evolving to confront the new challenge. I truly enjoyed this story and it has stuck with me as time has passed causing my brain to turn on potential ramifications of the situation the characters find themselves in.

The third story, Downward to the Earth, is also a decent little story that contains quite a bit of creativity and thought directed toward the human existence and its place in the universe. Humans have left their mother planet to explore the universe and have come upon a planet populated by a sentient race similar to an Earth elephant. Of course human preconceptions have rendered them nearly incapable of recognizing this species as sentient and thus the Nildor were used as work animals and slaves for a period of time. The result of this is once humans realized the intelligence of the creatures, they vacated the planet and left only a few representatives behind to study and deescalate the situation created.

The complicated evolution of the planet's creatures is slowly revealed throughout the story and the implications to the main character are profound. This is a story which centers essentially on human arrogance and Silverberg paints a humanity that while technically capable of exploring the universe, is in no way morally or ethically prepared to deal with that which is encountered. The reader is shown the delicate balance between exploration and knowledge and being able to recognize strange and alien beings as part of a larger universal continuum of thought and evolution.

While I really prefer stories that are "complete," meaning they provide answers to questions presented. With this reading of A Robert Silverberg Omnibus, I have been given a great gift of appreciation for concepts not fully developed and questions not answered. Silverberg has created worlds which are complete enough to appreciate and understand, but not so complete as to limit imagination and further thought of potential scenarios and outcomes. I still dislike how Silverberg dwells on the emotional condition of humanity, but really feel like these stories stand as excellent examples of science fiction at its best. I am fully pleased I decided to pick up this volume and would certainly recommend it to any science fiction fan.


Majipoor Chronicles

"Of Robert Silverberg's Lord Valentine's Castle, the Washington Post wrote: "In Majipoor, Silverberg has created a big planet chockablock with life and potential stories." Now he fulfills that promise - an entire planet becomes protagonist, and readers can experience this infinitely complex and imaginative landscape from wondrous new perspectives. The Majipoor Chronicles unfold thus: Hissune, Lord Valentine's successor-designate, is allowed to delve into the Hall of Records, into its telepathically stored segments of planetary history - tales of love, conflict, commerce, witchcraft and the wonders of Majipoor's enormous cities. How the young prince-to-be explores these mind-records of millennia gone by - creating as he does an enthralling chronicle all his own - is a story endlessly changing, and an eagerly awaited return to a world forever alive. Majipoor Chronicles is destined to be the science fiction-fantasy event of the year - an Authurian quest that is, indeed, out of this world."

Original Publication: Arbor House, February 1982
This Edition: Arbor House, February 1982
Cover Art: Loretta Trezzo
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Contents: Thesme and the Ghayrog, The Time of the Burning, In the Fifth Year of the Voyage, Calintane Explains, The Desert of Stolen Dreams, The Soul-Painter and the Shapeshifter, Crime and Punishment, Among the Dream Speakers, A Thief in Ni-Moya and Voriax and Valentine

Review:


World of a Thousand Colors

"A stellar collection of the best stories from the universe of Robert Silverberg, author of Majipoor Chronicles and Lord Valentine's Castle, America's premier author of imaginative fiction. From undiscovered worlds to the aliens lurking among us, Robert Silverberg here demonstrates his own unlimited imagination that succeeds in making fantasy as real, as acceptable as the ordinary world of mortals. World of a Thousand Colors is an immensely satisfying passage into the wondrous world of Robert Silverberg."

Original Publication: Arbor House, September 1982
This Edition: Arbor House, September 1982
Cover Art: Loretta Trezzo
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Contents: Something Wild is Loose, The Pain Peddlers, Going Down Smooth, World of a Thousand Colors, The Outbreeders, Neighbor, The Man Who Never Forgot, Prime Commandment, One-Way Journey, To the Dark Star, The Four, Passport to Sirus, Counterpart, Neutral Planet, Solitary, Journey's End, The Fangs of the Trees, En Route to Earth and How It Was When the Past Went Away

Review:


Across a Billion Years

"Scattered throughout the globe of human-occupied space is evidence of a civilization that bestrode the galaxy before humanity was born. Now, a strange device has been discovered that shows the details of that great civilization. The details include a star map and hints that the High Ones are not extinct after all. The map beckons, and humans, being what they are, will follow. To the next great step in human destiny - or ultimate disaster."

Original Publication: The Dial Press, 1969
This Edition: Tor, December 1983
Cover Art: Dell Harris
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Review:

Archaeologist Tom Rice is off to dig for relics left behind by an ancient alien race, the High Ones. This species is referred to as the High Ones because they seem to have a high functioning civilization that has lasted over a billion years. Rice is excited at the prospect of being involved in this dig and never imagined the journey that was about to unfold. Silverberg has chosen to tell this story from Rice's perspective as Tom dictates a running narrative of his adventures to his twin sister.

There are several interesting aspects to this little novel to comment on. The first being the way that Silverberg placed fraternal twins, Tom and Lorie Rice, as direct counter points to each other. Male and female - Tom has the use of his body and Lorie does not. She is disabled and bed bound for her entire life, but Lorie does have telepathic powers, allowing her to utilize her mind to reach across the universe to other "TP" individuals and share their experiences. Tom does not have TP abilities, therefore he cannot touch the minds of others. Moreover, he is often at a loss when trying to interpret the thought patterns and feelings of those around him. Ironically, he pities his sister and her inability to, as he sees it, explore her world and connect with people.

The High Ones have been active in the galaxy for a billion years, according to the archaeological finds. They are as an alien a civilization as can be imagined by Tom Rice. Archaeologists have found message cylinders with cryptic symbols on them that change and clearly communicate some sort of information. They have found "commemorative plaques" and "puzzle boxes" in many digs on various planets. These finds indicate an advanced level of technology and exploration, but no clues have surfaced as to their function.

A massive crèche of High Ones materials has been located on Higby V and an archaeological team has been sent to explore the dig site. Galactic Central has approved a 2 year period for exploration and a limited budget for the team to do what is necessary. It is hoped that something revealing will be found during the excavation. One day Tom does indeed find what is referred to as a message globe. This globe plays images from the High Ones' cities. Surreal videos are issued from the mechanism which seem to depict the High Ones in their daily lives. The scenes are so alien in nature, they are almost frightening to view. One particular scene though, shows the High Ones landing on an asteroid in an unknown system. They carve out a cave on the surface, insert a robot into the cave and seal the entrance. The archaeologists realize they can use Galactic Central computers to calculate the position of the asteroid and see if the robot is still there - This may lead to the biggest breakthrough in High Ones information ever conceived. The team does just that.

Silverberg, through Tom Rice's message cubes, gives the reader a blow by blow of the epic journey to discover the home planet of the High Ones. It's an interesting and fun story. When read for depth, one can see Silverberg was addressing the dangers of complacency, the limitations of human existence and human bias, and the depth of connection available to humanity when effort and perspective is applied. I don't wish to reveal the discoveries Tom and his crew make along the way because doing so will detract from the enjoyment of the novel by others, but I would definitely recommend this book. I wouldn't place this story alongside others by Silverberg, such as Nightwings, but it does try to touch upon some philosophical points and was overall a short, enjoyable read.


The Book of Skulls

Somewhere in the Southwestern desert, in a place called The House of Skulls, an ancient brotherhood guards a mystic rite. It is written that he who comes there with a pure heart will receive the gift of eternal life. Four college students, only half believing, each bearing a dark secret, join together to make the pilgrimage. Eli, the intellectual. Ned, the poet. Oliver, the Midwestern athlete. Timothy, the pampered rich kid. But immortality has a terrible price. Two of them will live forever only if the remaining two die - one must give his life willingly...the other must be sacrificed."

Original Publication: Charles Scribner's Sons, December 1971
This Edition: Bantam, January 1983
Cover Art: Jim Burns
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Review:


The Masks of Time

Somewhere in the Southwestern desert, in a place called The House of Skulls, an ancient brotherhood guards a mystic rite. It is written that he who comes there wIn the waning days before the millenium, an apocalyptic fervor raged, rocking the foundations of society. Then a mysterious stranger called Vornan-19 appeared, claiming to be an emissary from the future. In a few short days he attracted a following of millions, inspiring hope, desire and fear. This is his strange testament, told by a man who shared his orgiastic odyssey through the mad days of a dying century.ith a pure heart will receive the gift of eternal life. Four college students, only half believing, each bearing a dark secret, join together to make the pilgrimage. Eli, the intellectual. Ned, the poet. Oliver, the Midwestern athlete. Timothy, the pampered rich kid. But immortality has a terrible price. Two of them will live forever only if the remaining two die - one must give his life willingly...the other must be sacrificed."

Original Publication: Ballantine, May 1968
This Edition: Bantam, July 1983
Cover Art: Jim Burns
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Review:


Gilgamesh the King

Gilgamesh the King is Robert Silverberg at his brilliant best. His extraordinary imagination coupled with unchallenged writing skill, takes us beyond the known frontiers of the science fiction game. Using as his armature the life of Gilgamesh, the Sumerian god-king who actually lived some 5000 years ago, Silverberg has wrought an epic tale destined to become a contemporary classic. Gilgamesh contains fantasy elements only a talent as rich as Robert Silverberg's can devise. Gilgamesh meets and battles Enkidu, the only man strong enough to become his friend; and together they journey to the threshold of the gods. Ultimately these exploits incite the gods to anger and the way in which they retaliate leads Gilgamesh to yet another quest, this time a discovery that brings the relief and sorrow of age. Gilgamesh is myth and magic; it is also the story of fame, nobility, and mortality. It is sorcery, mysticism, and adventure. It is a wondrous story conceived and crafted by a wondrous storyteller. It is Robert Silverberg at his brilliant best."

Original Publication: Arbor House, October 1984
This Edition: Arbor House, October 1984
Cover Art: Loretta Trezzo
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Review:


To Open the Sky

"Earth's future hung by a slender thread. Its tens of billions needed a miracle to survive. Noel Vorst's plan was that mirache. Worshiping the blue flame of science, the Vorsters gave man virtual immortality, bringing a golden age of peace and order. But the stars, Vorst's final goal, eluded man's grasp, until a heretic sect, rivals of the martyred prophet Lazarus, spread the fire of faith to Venus, Mars and beyond. Then Lazarus rose from the dead, and it seemed that VOrst's plan had a purpose even the most faithful had never suspected. Filled with scope and vision comparable to Asimov's Foundation series, To Open the Sky is one of Robert Silverberg's masterworks - a resounding testament of hope and faith."

Original Publication: Ballantine, May 1967
This Edition: Bantam, December 1984
Cover Art: Jim Burns
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Review:


Valentine Pontifex

"Dark dreams stir Lord Valentine's sleep. The shapeshifters scheme in secret to regain their stolen world, and confusion and chaos are whispered on the winds of Majipoor. A planet that has known only peace for countless centuries most now prepare itself for war. To save Majipoor, Valentine faces an anguishing choice - accept the mantle of Pontifex and surrender the high office of Coronal to his ambitious young successor Hissune, or use his own great powers to avert a long nightmare of bloodshed and battle."

Original Publication: Arbor House, October 1983
This Edition: Bantam, November 1984
Cover Art: Jim Burns
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Review:


The Conglomeroid Cocktail Party

""The ideal science-fiction short story should amaze as well as delight," says Robert Silverberg in the Introduction to his latest volume of short stories. And indeed that is just what America's master of imaginative fiction does in this collection of stories written between 1980 and 1982 for such magazines as Omni, Playboy, Twilight Zone, Beyond, Penthouse, and ISaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. In sixteen brilliantly executed works of the imagination, Robert Silverberg makes fantasy as real and accessible as the mundane world of mortals. With boldly inventive plots, he creates characters as moving as those of any superlative fiction writer. From time travelers who sightsee at history's debacles, to research chimps who imitate their keepers to the point of inventing religion, complete with the sacrifice of their peers, let Robert SIlverberg lead you into his gripping, stirring universe."

Original Publication: Arbor House, June 1984
This Edition: Arbor House, June 1984
Cover Art: Loretta Trezzo
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Contents: The Far Side of the Bell-Shaped Curve, The Popr of the Chimps, The Changeling, The Man Who Floated in Time, The Palace at Midnight, A Thousand Places Along the Via Dolorosa, At the Conglomeroid Cocktail Party, Our Lady of the Sauropods, Gianni, The Trouble with Sempoanga, How They Pass the Time in Pelpel, Waiting for the Earthquake, Not Our Brother, The Regulars, Jennifer's Lover and Needle in a Timestack

Review:


Hawksbill Station

"They had fought a life-crushing 21st century dictatorship. Now they were political prisoners, exiled to an Earth before the dawn of life. Sentenced to the past, sealed forever behind a billion-year-high wall of time, they had to make their home by the grey slab shorelines of a barren planet. A lifeless world was their prison, eons away from cities and civilizations and trips to the stars - and there was no way back. Then one day the stranger came..."

Original Publication: Doubleday, October 1968
This Edition: Warner, August 1986
Cover Art: Jim Burns
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Review:


Project Pendulum

"A Multiple Nebula and Hugo Award winner, Robert Silverberg is universally acknowledged as one of science fiction's true masters. Now the author of numerous classic stories, novels, and novellas presents a gripping new tale of the ultimate voyage - from one end of time to the other! Project Pendulum: Identical twins Sean and Eric Gabrielson - one a paleontologist and the other a physicist - have been selected as mankind's first time travelers. Together they set out from Time Zero, 2016, in opposite directions - one swings toward the past to see the dinosaurs walk the earth; the other toward the future to learn the secrets of the gods. Somewhere beyond the eons and ages they will reach Time Ultimate - and the secret that has eluded humankind since time began."

Original Publication: Walker & Co., September 1987
This Edition: Bantam Spectra, November 1989
Cover Art: Mark Harrison
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Also contains an excerpt of Mutant Season by Robert Silverberg and Karen Haber.

Review:


At Winter's End

"After 26 million years of vibrant civilization, the Great World ended when falling death-stars locked the Earth in ice. But one small band of People excapes to an underground cocoon where they, and their descendants waited for 700,000 years. Now their long winter is over. The omens proclaim the time has come. Time to emerge, to inherit, to claim and conquer the Earth...Master storyteller Robert Silverberg creates a breathtaking vision of the far, far future in an epic of rebirth and revelation, passion and despair, dread and awe - and the triumph of the human spirit. For 47,000 generations, no one has felt the wind; the sky and moon are half-forgotten legends. The People have remained safe within their underground shelter, self-sufficient, sustained by their ancient myths and powerful prophecies. The time of ice will end, and then they will emerge to take their place in the new world. Led by prophecy - that the People with prosper in Vengiboneeza, city of the sapphire-eyes - Koshmar's tiny tribe leaves the cocoon. Every step into the New Springtime brings fresh wonder - and feverish terror. The People discover night and day, cold rain and wind creatures that kill. The myths have become real. And as their legends are proven, the laws that have guided the People for generations become meaningless. Cheiftan Koshmar must confront challenges beyond the scope of the ancient rules, while her love, the priestess Torlyri, must seek new rituals - and even new gods. The People are torn by strange, nameless passions; warriors' souls seethe with rebellious yearnings. Only Hresh, a psychic child whose curiosity would have earned his beath in the cocoon, can hope to bridge the chasm between the old and the new. In the fabled city of Vengiboneeza the tribe finds more mystery and turmoil. They are primitives amid the ruins of an interstellar civilization, amid machines that can devour of collapsed suns. Beneath the enigmatic mocking of immortal talking icons, Koshmar and Torlyri fight to hold the People - and their own gods, while Hresh struggles to find the keys to his people's legacy and destiny. The New Springtime is beginning, but time is short. Because other beings - some not human - are coming forth from the ice. Other tribes. With other gods. And other prophecies..."

Original Publication: Warner, April 1988
This Edition: Warner, April 1988
Cover Art: Michael Whelan
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Review:


Night Wings/The Last Castle

"Watchful eyes scanned us from slots in the wall. When we were at midpoint in the gate, a fat, pockmarked Sentinel with sagging jowls halted us and asked out business in Roum. I stated my guild and purpose, and he gave a snort of disgust. "Go Elsewhere, Watcher! We need only useful men here." "watching has its uses," I said mildly. "No doubt. No doubt." he squinted at Avluela. "Who's this? Watchers are celibates, no?" "She is nothing more than a traveling companion." The Sentinel guffawed coarsely. "It's a route you travel often, I wager! Not that there's much to her." He ran his hands quickly over her, raising an eyebrow as he encountered mounds of her wings below her shoulders. "What's this? What's this? More in back than front! A Flier, are you? Very dirty business, Fliers consorting with foul old watchers." He chuckled and put his hand on Avluela's body in a way that sent Gormon starting forward in a fury, murder in his fire-circled eyes. / The gentlefolk of Janeil watched in fascination as the dirt piled higher and higher around them, in a circular mound like a crater. Summer neared its end, and on one stormy day dirt and rubble rose above the parapets and began to spill over into the courts and piazzas: Janeil must soon by buried and all within suffocated. It was then that a group of impulse cadets, with more elan than dignity, took up weapons and charged up the slope. The Meks dumped dirt and stone upon them, but a handful gained the ridge where they fought in a kind of dreadful exaltation. Fifteen minutes of fight raged and the earth became sodden with rain and blood. For one glorious moment the cadets swept the ridge clear, and had not must of their fellows been lost under the rubble, anything might have occurred. But the Meks regrouped and thrust forward. Ten men were left, then six, then four, then one, then none. The Meks marched down the slope, swarmed over the battlements,a nd with somber intensity killed all within. Janeil, for seven hundred years the abode of gallant gentlemen and gracious ladies had become a lifeless hulk."

Original Publication: Tor, December 1989
This Edition: Tor, December 1989
Cover Art: Nightwings cover by Brian Waugh. The Last Castle cover by Mark J. Ferrari.
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Tor Double #15 with The Last Castle by Jack Vance.

Review:


The New Springtime

"Master storyteller Robert Silverberg, winner of five Nebula and three Hugo awards, returns to the world of At Winter's End and to a thought-provoking and adventure-packed future of endless wonders and terrors. Here savages must revive the legacy of a vanished interstellar civilization. Here each day may bring new heroes, new revelations - and new myths. Forty years after Coming Forth, cities of the People have spread across a continent: from Yissou, the walled fortress of brooding King Salaman, to vibrant Dawinno, where Chieftain Taniana presides over a coalition of tribes and the old Chronicler hresh ponders Great World artifacts. With the cities came the ills of ambition, bureaucracy, and corruption. Then one day the People face a greater threat: an ultinmatum from the hjjk-queen...Since emerging, the insectoid hjjk hordes have believed that they, not the People, should inherit the earth - and they might be right. Their telepathic, immortal Queen rules a hive-mind millions of years old, the only survivor of the Great World's godlike races. The hjjk are ancient where the People are young; learned where the People are ignorant; organized where the People are chaotic; many where the People are few. A human energy from the Queen makes the offer: peace in exchange for limits to tribal expansion and acceptance of the hjjk vision of security, love, and beautiful control. It is a vision of life is intricate, beautiful, absolute. And inhuman. The proposal throws Dawinno into turmoil, as does the growing passion between the envoy and Niallo Apuilana, daugher of the city's chieftain. Savage pride, territorial lust, and xenophobic horror dominate the city, even as new religions worshipping the hjjk spread like fire and in Yissou a glorious plan to unite all the People against the "bugs" gets under way. If the hjjk-queen is refused, the New Springtime will run with blood. The fledgling tribes will be exterminated, or they will destroy a race infinitely old and wise. But if the hjjk are accepted, the People will have survived the Winter, only to lose their newfound humanity forever. And the only person who can stop genocidal madness from sweeping the Earth to Nialli, Taniane and Hresh's tenacious daughter, whose people, including her parents, consider her insanne..."

Original Publication: Warner, April 1990
This Edition: Warner, April 1990
Cover Art: Michael Whelan
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Variant title of The Queen of Springtime

Review:


Murasaki

"In a major science fiction event, Nebula Award winners Poul Anderson, Greg Bear, Gergory Benford, David Brin, Nancy Kress and Frederik Pohl join forces - under the editorship of Robert Silverberg - to create a triumph of world-building: Murasaki, a science fiction novel in six parts. Murasaki is completely based in hard science and what we know of the Murasaki star system - which actually exists. Authors Poul Anderson and Frederik Pohl painstakingly constructed the working mechanics of a real star system, projecting the atmosphere, geology, chemistry, flora, and fauna of the two planets on which the work is set. They and four more of America's best science fiction authors -= known for their "hard" speculative fiction - used Pohl and Anderson's essays (included as appendixes to this book) as source material to create this amazing story of the earliest human explorations of the twenty-third century - an epic tale of discovery, conflict, and resolution told by the masters of imaginative writing. Murasaki, star HD 36395...where the gristmill of Darwinism produced two vastly different alien ecologies on two closely revolving planets, circling each other since scouring lightning storms stirred them to life billions of years ago. The two planets are Genji, violent and reckless, filled with a variety of winged life; and Chujo, a cooling world of ancient, crumbling cities, slowly going through its glacial death throws. Both planets are host to intelligences that are strange in ways Man can only guess at...and the planets have an eerie connection that will soon come to fruition after the first human explorers arrive. Exceeding light-speed for twenty years and decelerating by plasma exhaust drive, the first ship bearing humans arrives at Murasaki. The wealth, pride, and future of nations depend upon the outcome as the first contact team sets foot on a Murasaki-system world - while the hope of mankind, a planet of capable of supporting human life, awaits the first explorer to touch the strangely colored alien soil....Intricately detailed, epic in scope, startling in its implications, Murasaki is destined to become a classic novel of world-building - combining rousing adventure, informed speculation and a bold prophetic vision."

Original Publication: Bantam Spectra, May 1992
This Edition: Bantam Spectra, May 1992
Cover Art: Stephen Youll
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Edited by Robert Silverberg and Martin H. Greenberg. Interior artwork by Jonathan Scott. Contents: Introduction by Robert Silverberg, The Treasures of Chujo by Frederik Pohl, Genji by David Brin, Language by Poul Anderson, World Vast, World Various by Gregory Benford, A Plague of Conscience by Greg Bear, Birthing Pool by Nancy Kress, Appendix A:Design for Two Worlds by Poul Anderson, and Appendix B: Murasaki's Worlds by Frederik Pohl

Review:

Murasaki, edited by Robert Silverberg is awesome. With some of the best minds in science fiction contributing to its creation, it's difficult to image it being any other way. Officially it is a "novel in six parts" by Poul Anderson, Greg Bear, Greg Benford, David Brin, Nancy Kress and Frederik Pohl. In the introduction though, Silverberg refers to it as a "shared-world" anthology. Following is an excerpt from Silverberg's introduction:

"This book is an anthology of new stories set within a single conceptual framework, produced jointly by a group of science fiction writers - a kind of collective enterprise that is known in the world of science-fiction publishing as a "shared-world" anthology. Many such shared-world volumes have been release in recent years. What is special about this one is that all the writers involved in creating it were winners of science fiction's highest award of professional excellence, the Nebula. Never before has a group of Nebula winners been brought together to apply their very diverse talents to exploring the same set of ideas and characters."

"Science-fiction writers are notoriously individualistic in their private lives, political positions, and professional demeanor. It's a field richly populated by lone wolves, libertarians, nonconformists of every stripe. They tend to think their own thoughts and go their own way. Most of them resist editorial tinkering with their work and are usually unhappy in the fundamentally collaborative atmosphere of a place like Hollywood, where writers are (rightly) considered to be nothing more than members of a large team, and not very important members of the team at that."

"How very strange, then, that this collection of cantankerous individualists would have embraced with such enthusiasm the collectivist concept of the shared-world anthology. To work with other people's ideas - to volunteer for positions in what are essentially round-robin novels written by many hands - to take pains to make certain that their contributions to these books don't violate the previously determined conceptual boundaries of the project - it seems the antithesis of individualism in every way. And yet through-out the history of the science-fiction field such shared-world projects have attracted some of the most talented writers of each period.."

"To construct the underlying specifications we chose two veterans of Medea's formative days, Poul Anderson and Frederik Pohl. Poul worked up a brilliant design for the double-world Murasaki Systen and sent his rough draft to Fred, who came back with suggestions of his own; then Fred produced an essay on the probably cultural traits of the Murasaki planets' denizens, and much else. (The original Anderson and Pohl specification essays are reproduced as an appendix to this volume, by way of showing the richness and depth of the material that underlies the stories. If you want to experience the book the way the authors of the stories did, I suggest that you turn to the appendix first, read the essays by Anderson and Pohl, then go to the fiction. You'd be wise to read the stories in the order they appear in the books, from that point on, unless you really enjoy challenges.)"

"Once the Anderson-Pohl conceptualizations had reached their final form, I wrote a "primary scenario," five or six pages long, setting out some fundamental narrative structures that would provide the book as much unity as a novel written by six different writers is likely to have..."

"And then the fat package of preliminary material went off to the writers. Fred Pohl wrote the first story; Poul Anderson did the second. They were the two guys, after all, who understood Chujo and Genji better than anyone in the universe, and we wanted them to establish through vivid narratives what these planets were really like. Then the growing bundle of manuscript was forwarded to Greg Benford, who did the third story, and David Brin, who did the fourth (although it's the second in the published book, because it was necessary for David to fill in a gap in chronology that had begun to develop). Greg Bear provided the fifth story, and Nancy Kress heroically drew the whole project together with the sixth and climactic one.."


I find it amazing that reviews of this collaborative work are overall so low. I can only conclude that the people reviewing the book simply didn't understand it and do not have the capacity to follow the hard science fiction this work is based on. I took Silverberg's suggestion and read through Anderson and Pohl's notes regarding the Murasaki system before approaching the stories. While I can understand why these appendixes would be dry for some people, I found them fascinating pieces. They provide a ton of scientific understanding for the way the planets in the Muraski system work and why they are the way they are. They provide background on the cultures and the creatures that populate both planets and overall, for me, add immensely to the understanding and appreciation of the work as a whole.

Going through the stories, there are certainly some I preferred over others, but all are excellent. I simply adore Fred Pohl and his story is up first in this work. The Treasures of Chujo is basically setting the stage for the mentality of the visiting "Spacer" scientists who rush toward the Murasaki system in a bid to be the first people to set foot on the newly discovered planets. The planetary system was discovered by a Japanese probe, but once the spacers got wind of it, they determined that they would be the true pioneers and set out for the system. This portion of the tale is well written and flows nicely, but essentially it's giving the reader information about the incoming trip from the Sol system and character development. Keep your eye on Krammer, he will matter throughout the story. The Treasures of Chujo also presents the initial view of the planets and their inhabitants. It's a wonderful piece that lays the groundwork for the entire Murasaki adventure.

In contrast to the spacers in Pohl's story, David Brin presents Genji which focuses on the Japanese ship which arrives at Murasaki just behind the spacer crew. Brin goes into great detail about the first days of exploration for the crew of the spaceship Yamato and their interaction with the native sentient species of Genji, the Ihrdizu. While Pohl's story gives the reader the technical first-contact story, Brin's piece really gets to the meat of the matter. Told from the Japanese perspective, eastern philosophies are considered when dealing with the Ihrdizu, such as Karma and balance. The Japanese crew learn about the culture, language, climate and history of the beings, to the extent possible for such an alien race. In the end we find all they thought they knew only scratches the surface of the mysteries surrounding these planets and their co-evolution.

Years pass between Brin's story and Language by Poul Anderson. In the opening scene of this piece we are presented with a scientist, Malchiel Holden, who has been studying one of the species on Genji, the Himatids. Holden is general considered crazy by other groups of researchers and is reported to have buried his wife 10 Earth-years ago. Holden is eccentric, dedicated, driven and fully obsessed with the study of the huge, flat-bodied Himatids which coat the ocean surface. Holden suspects that the Himatids are sentient and has spent his life on Genji tracking and documenting the life processes of this creature. The story itself revolves around whether the funding and support for Holden's work will continue. The limited resources available to the scientists on Genji and Chujo are being pressed and everyone's work is being evaluated. Rita Byrne has come to evaluate the Holden's work and give recommendations as to its value and whether it should be supported in an ongoing manner. While the plot is interesting and the characters do reappear, the reader should focus on the behavior and life cycle of the Himatid. It is certainly an interesting creature and comes to bear in a big way on later developments. This is a short piece, but does contain a lot of critical detail that adds interest to the overall plot of the Murasaki work as a whole and should not be taken lightly.

Remaining in the book are stories by Gregory Benford, always enjoyable, Greg Bear and Nancy Kress. Kress does a phenomenal job here bringing all together - I can certainly support Silverberg's opinion on that. I don't want to go into great detail on the last 3 stories contained in this collection, as to do so would reveal too much about the climax and outcome. You're going to have to read it to fully believe it. Remarkable.

Overall I cannot recommend this enough. While some reviews I have seen seem to recognize this works' greatness, others rather pathetically poke at the book with half-hearted appreciation. Pick up a copy if you can find it and treat yourself to a very unique and creative piece of fiction. My only issue is that I have not seen any follow up on the work.too bad.


Hot Sky at Midnight

"Winner of an unprecedented four Hugo and five Nebula awards, Robert Silverberg is an acknowledged master of modern science fiction. His work has provided bold and startling glimpses into future worlds of incomparable imagination and wonder. Now, in perhaps his most important work to date, Silverberg brings us a tale of Earth on the brink of ecological collapse - and humanity on the edge of extinction. At Samurai Industries, Paul Carpenter studies his computer monitors to predict the movement of toxic clouds drifting across the Pacific Northwest. If he's wrong, a sudden shift of wind can kill thousands. Nick Rhodes, a research scientist for the controversial Sanatachiara Technologies' Survival/Modification Program, seeks better ways for humans to adapt to Earth's hostile environment. His girlfriend, Isabelle Martine, is a kinetic therapist and political activist, violently opposed to the threatening new technology. They are among those who have opted to stay behind, scratching out a perilous existence on a poisoned planet where no one dares leave home without a face-lung and daily injection of Screen. But there are others who have traveled from Earth to the shining satellite cities in the sky. Among these is Victor Farkas who has come to Valparaiso Nuevo in search of fugitives ruled by the tyrannical El Supremo and his secret police. Farkas and his "guide" Juanity Holt will seek the man whose experimentation blinded him in the womb and yet endowed him with incredible extrasensory vision. Meanwhile, disturbing rumors have arisen about the ultimate fate of humanity: that a powerful Japanese megacorporation is promoting a top-secret project to send humans permanently to the stars. That a group of conspirators from ravaged Southern California is planning a bloody coup d'etat on Valparaiso Nuevo. That a rival corporation is funding biological research that will alter human genes and create a race of supercreatures to inhabit the dying planet. Hot Sky at Midnight is a chillingly prophetic masterpiece, combining intimate personal drama with epic adventure and depicting a sweeping tapestry of individual human lives trapped in a monumental catastrophe as tomorrow's men and women search for a new paradise among the social, political and ecological ruins of our past."

Original Publication: Bantam Spectra, February 1994
This Edition: Bantam Spectra, February 1994
Cover Art: Michael Whelan
Format: Hardback

Notes:

Review:


Lord Valentine's Castle

"In one of the best-loved and bestselling science fantasy classics of all time, Robert Silverberg's Majipoor Cycle begins as young Prince Valentine travels the planet Majipoor with a group of eccentric performers. In an extraordinary quest to discover who Valentine really is, his wise and peculiar companions help him lay claim to the rewards of birth that await him. But that is only part of his challenge. For he must ultimately triumph in the most difficult trial, one that will test his belief, his resolve, and the strength of his character."

Original Publication: Harper & Row, April 1980
This Edition: Eso/HarperPrism, 2000
Cover Art: Jim Burns
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Review:


13th Immortal

""Who was your father?" the mutant asked Dale Kesley. And try as he might, Kesley could not remember; his past was an utter blank. But he knew one thing - the answer to his life's riddle lay in Antarctica, the once-frozen continent, now an earthly paradise surrounded by an impenetrable barrier. But how to get there? The only means of transportation were the spindly six-legged mutant horses. And it was suicide for Kesley to travel on the American continents. Two immortal dictators had set king-size rewards for his capture - dead or alive! But somewhere in the two continents there was someone who would help him, someone he had to find. The future of the world depended on his success."

Original Publication: Ace Double, 1957
This Edition: Cosmos Books/Wildside Press, March 2009
Cover Art: Unknown
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Published with James E. Gunn's This Fortress World

Review:

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