Musings and Meditations: Reflections on Science Fiction, Science, and Other Matters

Robert Silverberg, Nonstop (NBN, dist.), $18.95 trade paper (344p) ISBN 978-1-933065-20-5
Silverberg (Dying Inside) one of science fiction's all-time greats, introduces this as a follow-up to Reflections and Refractions as a "quasi-autobiographical series of statements about science fiction by someone who has loved it and tried to serve it well for the past six decades." Dividing the genre into three broad categories—gadget, adventure, and social—he shows how a writer in 1880 might have built a story around the yet-to-be invented automobile: an initial concentration on technical details would give way to adventure about a daring rescue by a hero pushing an automobile to the reckless speed of 20mph. In his own writing Silverberg favored the third approach—social—which in this instance would have anticipated the automobile's transformation of the culture in "completely novel and unexpected" ways. In six sections, Silverberg tackles sci-fi "in general," science and society, the task of "being a writer," his colleagues, and current events (including Iraq), ending by getting personal with "Something of Myself," wherein he talks of libraries real and invented, autograph writing and collecting, email vs. letter correspondence, and more. This delightful collection reflects Silverberg's wide-ranging interests, wit, and mastery of the craft. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2011
Release date: 11/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
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