Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a rather satisfying look into a SF Grandmaster's life. Robert Silverberg had been on the scene since 1955 but had decided to stop writing, go into full retirement, about a decade ago. That doesn't mean he ignores the SF community, however, nor has he gone recluse. He just retired.
These transcribed conversations with Alvaro feel like a very comfortable and wide-ranging exploration on many topics, all of which were very well organized and compiled and I never once got the impression that this was anything other than a near-biography of this fascinating man.
For one, I never realized that he was quite this accomplished or aware of his prose and how it fit in with so many of the previous fiction greats, and I mean the classics such as Faulkner and Hemingway, not only the SF masters that had come before him. He's hyper-aware of everything he did and he is, or was, extremely aware of all matters of craft even when he was doing hack work. When he was popular enough to write his preferred medium-- his Silverberg medium--, he flourished like never before.
It's an old story perhaps, but it's truly fascinating to me to see just how moderate and professional the man is, never taking anything to extremes despite what might be considered relatively outrageous subjects in some of his novels.
His personal code was always writing as work and he took all his craft very seriously, at all stages. It really sheds a lot of light upon his body of work for me. I've only read something like five of his novels, but knowing all that I now know about him, I respect him a lot more.
This is a very enjoyable and informative read. And it might possibly be my top pick for the non-fiction nominations for this year's Hugo... and that's including Carrie Fisher's charming prose and Neil Gaiman's collection of essays and speeches.
We shall see. Only one more to go and then I'll be properly informed. :)
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