Book Diary: Robert Silverberg – To Be Continued: The Collected Stories Volume 1

To Be Continued: The Collected Stories…This first volume of Silverberg’s Collected Stories contains (rather unsurprisingly) a selection of his early work from the mid-fifties, when he was writing them at an insane pace – up to eighteen (!) stories per week (!) – for the multitude of science fiction magazines existing at the time. It starts with what are pretty much juvenilia (and read as such), then there is a steep surge in quality at about one quarter into the volume where you can feel Silverberg starting to come into his own. He is still far from the writer he was to become, but the stories become less formulaic and more fun to read for their own sake rather than as documents in the development of one of the greatest writers of science fiction. Quality still varies somewhat, and even the best ones (my personal favourites here being “The Artfact Business” and “Why?”) are often somewhat clunky and awkward in places, but that is to be expected considering the age Silverberg was at the time and the speed at which he was churning them out. Still, a worthwhile collection, also for Silverberg’s introductions to each of the stories that offer some glimpse of what the science fiction scene at the time was like.

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3 comments

  1. Silverberg improves SO much over his career — when the late 60s and early 70s come around I start drooling over his works (Hawksbill Station, Down to the Earth, Thorns, The World Inside, A Time of Changes, etc)

  2. I agree, Silverberg is undoubtedly one of the greats of the genre, mostly on the strength of his work from that period. I’m looking forward to eventually doing a re-read of all of it, now that the SFGateway is making all of his stuff accessible again as well as other authors whose backlist they’re releasing, like Brunner and (a particular favourite of mine) Vance.

  3. Yeah, Brunner is one of my favorites — Stand on Zanzibar is my top all time sci-fi novel 🙂

    I’ve read four or so of Vance’s novels and have been impressed so far but I haven’t yet got to his masterpieces.

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