cover image First-Person Singularities

First-Person Singularities

Robert Silverberg. Three Rooms, $19.95 trade paper (418p) ISBN 978-1-941110-63-8

Genre legend Silverberg’s ambition, imagination, versatility, and skill are all in evidence in this superior collection of 18 thought-provoking first-person short stories, which were written over five decades. Time and again, Silverberg sets the bar high for himself and then clears it, as in a tale told from the perspective of an English-speaking dolphin who has developed feelings for a human woman (“Ishmael in Love”) and another in which an alien crablike creature, disguised as a human, is dismayed to find that he’s an object of attraction for a persistent neighbor (“The Reality Trip”). He riffs on Joseph Conrad in “The Secret Sharer,” which features a very different kind of stowaway. He also cleverly anticipated Jurassic Park in “Our Lady of the Sauropods,” an 1980 story in which DNA has been used to bring dinosaurs back to life, with very different consequences from those that Michael Crichton imagined. Silverberg’s creative story premises are matched by a remarkable ability to make his characters sympathetic, whether human or not. This fine retrospective collection is worth any SF reader’s time. (Nov.)