I’ve been reading Robert Silverberg’s short stories and novels for over 50 years. Silverberg, a versatile writer, started out churning out story after story for the Science Fiction magazines of the 1950s. When those markets dried up, Silverberg turned to the paperback market. Then, after all that success, Silverberg left SF to write non-fiction books. Frederik Pohl, then editor of GALAXY and IF, lured Silverberg back to Science Fiction by telling him “write whatever you want.” Silverberg, inspired by this offer, wrote a lot of award-winning stories: “Nighwings” (1969), “Passengers” (1969), and “Good News from the Vatican” (1971). Over the decades, Silverberg would take occasional “breaks” but eventually he would return and write wonderful stories and novels. There have been several “Best of” collections of Robert Silverberg’s work. Subterranean Press published a series of books collecting most of Silverberg’s short fiction.

But First-Person Singularities is different. All the stories are told in the First Person. Some of these stories are familiar–like “The Secret Sharer–others are more obscure. If you’re a fan of Robert Silverberg’s work, this is a must-buy. If you’re a fan of science fiction, here are some great stories by one of SF’s masters. John Scalzi provides an entertaining Introduction. Do you have a favorite Silverberg story or novel? GRADE: A
The “I”S of Robert Silverberg: An Introduction by John Scalzi
Foreword by Robert Silverberg
Ishmael in Love
Going Down Smooth
The Reality Trip
The Songs of Summer
The Martian Invasion Journals of Henry James
Push No More
House of Bones
Call Me Titan
Our Lady Of The Sauropods
There Was an Old Woman
The Dybbuk of Mazel Tov Iv
Now Plus N, Now Minus N
The Iron Star
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame
To See The Invisible Man
The Secret Sharer

12 thoughts on “FORGOTTEN BOOKS #451: FIRST-PERSON SINGULARITIES By Robert Silverberg

  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    I have always been a big fan of Silverberg. He had about a ten year period where he turned out a lot of incredible work. I would go with his novel Dying Inside as my favorite. Also a big fan of A Time of Changes, Tom O’Bedlam and Born With the Dead.

    1. george Post author

      Steve, I’m a fan of all the Silverberg works you cite. You’re right: for about 10 years, starting in the late Sixties and extending into the Seventies, Silverberg was at the top of his game!

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    I haven’t read enough of Silverberg’s novels to make the call, but DYING INSIDE was a good one. I’ve read every short story of his I could get my hand on, including the Collected Stories series, which have his great introductions to when and how each story was written. I’ve been thinking about getting this one already.

  3. R. K. Robinson

    Hope your Thanksgiving day was as nice as expected, certainly sounds like it was going to be. Though I had a migraine headache the previous night and most of the day, Barbara did a yeoman’s job with everything while I sat in front of the TV (sound off) and watched players move around the field (and a zillion commercials). The meal was great, and there are leftovers, a very good thing.

    Although many readers have a great liking for Silverberg, other than Valentine’s Castle I’ve never been a fan, and I couldn’t tell you now why I liked that book. So his novels and stories and not for me. I have tried some of the short stories, but they just don’t resonate with me. Glad you enjoy them.

    1. george Post author

      Rick, Silverberg has written over a 100 short stories and novelettes, everything from pulp SF to sophisticated fantasy (which you liked). Over his long career, Silverberg wrote some stories that didn’t resonate with me. But, he also wrote plenty of stories and novels that did.

  4. Richard Moore

    I ‘ve read so many Silverberg stories…like you for over 50 years. Dying Inside is one favorite. Also like his non-fiction. Just found a copy of “Ghost Towns of the American West” (1968) and am enjoying reading it now. Who published “First Person Singularities”?

  5. Todd Mason

    I’ve only been reading his work for over forty years, and in fact was surprised to fully realize some moths back the degree to which early encounters with his anthologies and his novel HAWKSBILL STATION (the novella version being one of the first things he placed with GALAXY after Frederik Pohl made that offer…you make a common typo on Pohl’s name above) were among the most important enticements for me to begin reading sf in earnest. (His sophisticated YA anthologies TRAVELERS IN TIME and BEYOND CONTROL and his first volume of THE SCIENCE FICTION HALL OF FAME were also key.)

    1. george Post author

      Todd, I’m going to blame AUTOCORRECT for changing “Frederik” to “Frederick.” I’ll try to make the change in my post. You’re right about Silverberg editing plenty of great SF anthologies, too.

  6. wolf

    Yes, Bob’s breadth of topics was amazing!

    Besides his novels I remember that there was a story by him almost every month in one of the SF magazines – bought those in London regularly.

    1. george Post author

      Wolf, there are rumors that Silverberg wrote all the stories in some of those 1950s digits under a variety of pseudonyms! He was an extraordinarily prolific writer!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *