Gateway Essentials: Robert Silverberg

28 July 2017

Born in Brooklyn in 1935, Robert Silverberg has been a professional writer since the age og nineteen, widely known for his science fiction and fantasy stories. He is a many-time winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards, was named to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 1999, and in 2004 was designated as a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America. His books and stories have been translated into forty languages. Among his best known titles are Nightwings, Dying Inside, The Book Of Skulls, and the three volumes of the Majipoor Cycle: Lord Valentine’s Castle, Majipoor Chronicles and Valentine Pontifex. His collected short stories, covering nearly sixty years of work, is published in nine volumes by SF Gateway.

Those are the dry facts, but a writer as important as Robert Silverberg deserves a bit more praise, we can’t help but think. So, how about this: for about half a dozen years, from 1967 to 1973, Robert Silverberg was probably the best science fiction writer in the world. For supporting evidence, we offer the following:

1967
Thorns – shortlisted for the 1968 Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novel
Hawksbill Station’ – shortlisted for the 1968 Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novella

1968
The Masks of Time – shortlisted for the 1969 Nebula Award for best novel
Nightwings’ – winner of the 1969 Hugo Award for best novella; shortlisted for the 1969 Nebula Award for best novella
‘Passengers’ – shortlisted for the 1970 Hugo Award for best short story; winner of the 1970 Nebula Award for best short story (available in To the Dark Star: The Collected Stories Vol 2)

1969
Up The Line – shortlisted for the 1970 Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novel
‘To Jorslem’ – shortlisted for the 1970 Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novella (available in Nightwings)

1970
Tower of Glass – shortlisted for the 1971 Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novel
‘The World Outside’ – shortlisted for the 1971 Hugo Award for best novella

1971
A Time of Changes – shortlisted for the 1972 Hugo Award for best novel; winner of the 1972 Nebula Award for best novel
The World Inside – shortlisted for the 1972 Hugo Award for best novel but subsequently withdrawn
‘Good News from the Vatican’ – winner of the 1972 Nebula Award for best short story (available in Phases of the Moon)

1972
The Book of Skulls – shortlisted for the 1973 Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novel
Dying Inside – shortlisted for the 1973 Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novel
‘When We Went to See the End of the World – shortlisted for the 1973 Hugo and Nebula Awards for best short story

So . . . wow.  To paraphrase Sir Christopher Wren’s inscription in St Paul’s: ‘Reader, if you seek a starting point, look around you’.

You can find more of Robert Silverberg’s work via his Author page on the Gateway website and read about him in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

About Darren Nash

I’m Digital Publisher at Gollancz, responsible for the SF Gateway and SF Masterworks. Digitally, I can be found here, on Twitter at @SFGateway (officially) and @thenashmeister (unofficially). In meat space, I operate from a secret base inside a dormant volcano, on a remote pacific island that – mysteriously – doesn’t appear on any official maps. Possibly.

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