Robert Silverberg is a fascinating figure. His career as a science fiction writer spans over six decades and comprises at least three distinct periods:
- his early, prolific pulp phase, during which he put more emphasis on speed1 than polish;
- a middle period, when he reinvented himself as an ambitious literary SF author;
- the most recent period, more polished than the first and more commercial than the second.
I discovered him while he was writing classics like Dying Inside, To Live Again, and Downward to Earth. To me, it’s the serious, ambitious work from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s that is ineluctably Silverberg.
Of course the first book of his I am going to review is his 1969 time-travel sex comedy, Up the Line. That’s because if There Will Be Time wasn’t the SF novel that revealed to me that Byzantium existed, Up The Line very definitely was. Paired review, remember?
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