Monday, April 20, 2009

The Visions of Robert Silverberg


THE term "literary science-fiction writer" is nearly as awkward as renaming comic books "graphic novels." but for some figures it's important to understanding, as it is in the case of robert silverberg, author of "nightwings," "the book of skulls," the valentine series of fantasy novels and the darker-than-dark philip-roth-gone-telepath novel from the early '70s, "dying inside."

i had the great honor to meet silverberg up at his medieval style home in oakland recently, and HERE is the ensuing LATimes story. was surprised by silverberg's presence -- he is a kind of dignified old dude, gore vidal in the body of a straight jewish libertarian. his idols are h.g. wells and edmund burke.

glad to report that my rereading of "dying inside," which was just reissued and which i had not read since i was a teenager, confirmed my earlier ardor for it. michael chabon and jonathan lethem, who i interviewed for the story, share my fondness for the novel. the esteemed pulitzer winning critic michael dirda just penned this wonderful washpost review.

interested parties should come see my panel at latimes bookfest this saturday, where i interview silverberg alongside SF legends harry harrison and joe haldeman.

Photo credit: Locus magazine
  

6 comments:

Eric J. Lawrence said...

A nice triumvirate of old school SF guys (although Silverberg certainly qualifies as a writer of "speculative fiction," while the other two are more hard-SF). I'll try to make it!

Scott Timberg said...

indeed on that -- tho just reread forever war and that is (while hard science) still a near-masterpiece...

Scott Timberg said...

THE fine LA detective writer robert crais asked me to add this comment:

Loved the piece in today's paper, which brought a rush of good memories from my days as a baby writer. Spent many of those days reading Silverberg's short fiction, learning from it, and trying (and failing) to be that good. (As a side note, somewhere here in the tombs I have a file of bounce notes from the man, rejecting my no doubt pathetic submissions to New Dimensions, Alpha, and the other anthologies he edited--most with handwritten notes that helped my learning curve.)

Tho I have an overlapping event, I'll try to catch you in the green room before. Haldeman was one of my instructors at Clarion, so I would love to see him again. And, yes, FOREVER WAR was and remains an inspired work.

Robert Crais

Rebecca said...

sounds like an amazing panel...wish i lived closer.

Luke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luke said...

Thank you for the interesting panel discussion at the festival. I wrote a bit about it on my blog:

http://darkestblogistan.blogspot.com