cover image In the Beginning: Tales from the Pulp Era

In the Beginning: Tales from the Pulp Era

Robert Silverberg, . . Subterranean, $40 (337pp) ISBN 978-1-59606-043-2

SFWA Grand Master Silverberg (Phases of the Moon ) delivers 16 deliciously slam-bang short stories from early in his career, along with engaging commentary including autobiographical insights, glimpses into his creative process and a mini-history of SF's flaming pulp youth. Beginning at 18, Silverberg wrote furiously, churning out tales like the gently wry "Yokel with Portfolio" (1955) for small SF magazines he had in his high-minded mid-teens denounced as formulaic and drably degenerate. As a member of Howard Browne's Fantastic Worlds stable, Silverberg perceptively explored now traditional SF themes—the poignancy of android existence in "Choke Chain" (1956), the world-saving hero in "Citadel of Darkness" (1957), the "amusing artifact" in the brief "New Year's Eve—2000 A.D." A predatory-alien story, "The Insidious Invaders" (1959), ended Silverberg's apprenticeship, the foundation of such later achievements as the mature novels Downward to the Earth and Hot Sky at Midnight . These are stories that he and his readers can justifiably look back on with affection, if not total admiration. (Feb.)