by Robert Silverberg
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Pub Date 31 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 01 Sep 2022
In this remarkable quartet, Robert Silverberg journeys into the pulsating heart of the unknown—the strange, the alien, the unexplored without and undiscovered within. With the assured deftness and seasoned thoughtfulness of a Grand Master, Silverberg plunges us into otherworldly psyches, forbidden areas and utterly mystifying realities.
In Those Who Watch (1967) three New Mexico humans, an eleven-year-old Hopi boy, a widowed single mother, and a divorced Air Force Colonel, unwittingly become entangled with aliens who have long monitored human civilization. Further complicating affairs, an agent from a rival alien species lands on Earth determined to chase down the three renegade observers.
The Man in the Maze (1968) is Dick Muller, an engineered telepath, once a hero but now exiled by an ungrateful humanity to the labyrinth on Lemnos. When administrator Boardman tries to enlist Muller once more for a dangerous mission and Muller refuses, the eponymous maze takes on a mental meaning warped enough to rival any physical construct.
An overlooked gem, the near-future, post-apocalyptic Tom O’Bedlam (1985)—presented here for the first time in the author’s definitive version—explores the gossamer boundary between rapture and rupture. The denizens of a frayed world begin experiencing collectively shared dreams just as a space probe light years away sends back images eerily similar to their dreamscapes. Is the titular Tom O’Bedlam humanity’s destined prophet to the stars, or a deranged cult leader fated to push a fragile civilization over the brink?
“The Way to Spook City” (1992) takes us through an unforgettable rite of passage, a life-changing voyage into the alien Occupied Zone.
These four masterfully crafted tales, by turns sensitive, suspenseful, enigmatic, and visionary, eloquently show that not only beauty, but maybe even reality itself, lies in the eye of the beholder. Only Among Strangers can we truly see ourselves.
Average rating from 9 members
"Among Strangers" by Robert Silverberg is a collection of four classic Silverberg novels originally published between 1968 and 1992. Fans of Silverberg will not be disappointed. The first story entertains the reader with (fairly intimate) interactions between aliens monitoring the human race and the individual humans they encounter when their spacecraft encounters technical difficulties of the explosive kind. The second story is based on Greek classics and is a wonderfully well told as a tale of survival, discovery, and growth both at the individual and species level taking place a couple of centuries in the future when interstellar space travel is common. The third tale is possibly encouraging depending on your viewpoint. It is a dystopian post-apocalyptic take on a potential future of the West Coast of the US. The final tale is a creative view of a future in which humans and aliens have reached some kind of coexistance after the aliens take over vast portions of the the US. Each story is thought provoking, includes aliens and gives a unique and entertaining perspective. It was easy to give this collection five stars!
I thank Subterranean Press and Robert Silverberg for graciously providing a temporary electronic review copy of this book.
Among Strangers by Robert Silverberg- I began reading Silverberg in the late 50's when I bought a copy of Revolt on Alpha C, a juvenile space adventure that my twelve-year-old mind ate up. The last sixty years has seen me return again and again to see what Silverberg is writing now. His journey has taken many paths, and he seems to flourish no matter what he's writing. This book includes three novels from the 60's, 70's, and 80's. The main subject for each is how mankind deals with the arrival of alien species. In The Man in The Maze, a human diplomat negotiates with a visiting alien culture and comes away feeling more sympathy for the aliens than his own kind. Those Who Watch describes an alien encounter with a fearful human race. Tom O'bedlam shows our world already in chaos and THEN the aliens arrive. Great stuff. It was fun re-reading these books again. A great addition to your Science Fiction library. Thank you Subterranean Press and thanks NetGalley for this wonderful ARC!
[Blurb goes here]
Among Strangers is a small compilation of stories from Robert Silverberg. As most compilations and/or anthologies go, some stories will fall short, and some will not. That's entirely up to you, and the things you enjoy. The Man in the Maze, written in 1968, in my opinion, is by far the best one. That story alone was worth the ticket price. I have read it a couple of times since finishing the book, I probably would do so again in the near future.
Even though I didn't enjoyed all stories, it has to be said: Silverberg is a master writer. His words, like chameleons, changing from one tale to the next, as if written by someone else entirely, giving each of his characters a unique personality. Giving each of the tales a unique 'touch and feel.'
Don't let this book pass you by. It is a wonderful time machine, where anachronism is just part of its charm.
Thank you for the free copy!!
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