Robert Silverberg

1935 -

American writer and editor

Robert Silverberg has authored more than 100 science fiction works, over 60 nonfiction books, and edited or co-edited more than 60 anthologies. His productivity is almost superhuman, and his abrupt metamorphosis from a writer of standardized pulp fiction into a compelling prose artist was an accomplishment unparalleled in science fiction.

Silverberg began publishing prolifically in 1956, winning a Hugo award in that year as Most Promising New Author, and continued to publish as part of the Ziff-Davis stable, producing wordage at assembly-line speed for the pulp magazines Amazing Stories, Science Fiction Adventures and Super-Science Fiction. Among his most notable novels from this early period are Master of Life and Death (1957), a novel dealing with institutionalized measures to combat overpopulation, Invaders from Earth (1958), a drama of political corruption and the colonization of Ganymede, and Recalled to Life (1958), which investigates the social response to a method of reviving the newly dead.

A new phase of Silberburg's career, in which he brought the full range of his artistic abilities to bear on writing science fiction, began in 1967 with Thorns, a stylized novel of alienation and psychic vampirism, followed in 1968 by Hawksbill Station, in which political exiles are sent back in time to a Cambrian prison camp. The Nebula award-winning A Time of Changes (1971) describes a society in which selfhood is a cardinal sin, while Dying Inside (1972) is a brilliant study of a telepath losing his power.

Nebulas also went to the short stories "Passengers" (1968), about people who temporarily lose control of their bodies to alien invaders, "Good News from the Vatican" (1970), about the election of the first robot pope, and the brilliant novella "Born with the Dead" (1974), about relationships between the living and the beneficiaries of a scientific technique guaranteeing life after death.

Beginning in the 1980s, Silverberg's work took on a more relaxed style, in contrast to the psychological intensity of his earlier work. Works from this time include the Nebula award-winning Sailing to Byzantium (1985), and The Secret Sharer (1988), a science-fictionalization of Joseph Conrad's 1912 story of the same title. Silverberg also won Hugo awards in this period for the novella "Gilgamesh in the Outback" (1986) and the novelette "Enter a Soldier. Later, Enter Another" (1989).

Silverberg remains one of the most imaginative and versatile writers ever to have been involved with science fiction.

Selected Bibliography:
Revolt on Alpha C (1955)
Master of Life and Death (1957)
Invaders from Earth (1958)
Recalled to Life (1958)
Thorns (1967)
Hawksbill Station (1968)
A Time of Changes (1971)
Dying Inside (1972)
Sailing to Byzantium (1985)
The Alien Years (1997)