Happy birthday Robert Silverberg!

Robert Silverberg in 2013
Robert Silverberg in 2013

Robert Silverberg (photo ┬ęKaren Silverberg) was born on January 15, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, USA. As a child he already read a lot and he was just a teenager when he started sending stories to science fiction magazines. He earned a BA in English literature from Columbia University in 1956.

The first novel published by Robert Siverberg was a juvenile, “Revolt on Alpha C”, in 1955. In the following years he published a huge amount of short fiction and in 1956 he won the Hugo Award for Best New Writer. He also published several science fiction novels such as “Master of Life and Death” (1957), “Invaders from Earth” (1958) and “Stepsons of the Earth” (1958). In those years he worked a lot with Robert Randall: the two of them used many pseudonyms but especially Randall Garrett.

In 1956, Robert Silverberg married Barbara Brown. Their marriage lasted until 1976 even though their divorce was formalized only ten years later.

At the end of the ’50s the market for science fiction magazines collapsed and Robert Silverberg limited for some years his commitment to the genre. He still published novels such as “Collision Course” (1961), “Starman’s Quest” (1962) and “The silent invaders” (1963). However, he devoted himself mainly to write stories of other genres, including soft porn, and historical articles.

In the mid-60s, Frederik Pohl, who was then the director of three science fiction magazines, persuaded Robert Silverberg to return full-time to that genre giving him carte blanche. Silverberg started paying more attention to the quality of his stories after years in which he was primarily interested in their quantity.

In the remaining years of the decade Silverberg published novels regarded as better than the previous ones such as “Thorns” (1967), “To Open the Sky” (1967) and “The Masks of Time” (1968) until “Nightwings” (1969), winner of the Hugo Award and French award Apollo.

In the early ’70s Robert Silverberg was again very prolific, despite some health problems due to his thyroid that prompted him to move to California. In those years he published novels such as “Tower of Glass” (1970), “A Time of Changes” (1971), which won the Nebula Award, “Dying Inside” (1972), “The stochastic man” (1975) and “Shadrach in the Furnace” (1976).

In the mid-70s, Robert Silverberg decided to retire from his activity with some controversy against the publishers who in his opinion didn’t respect his work and readers who preferred his most adventurous works to his more sophisticated ones. Maybe he just needed a little rest to recharge because in 1980 he publish a novel again, “Lord Valentine’s Castle”, the first of the Majipoor series and winner of the Locus Award.

From the ’80s, Robert Silverberg resumed his activities, although not to the frenzied pace of the past. He published several more stories in the Majipoor series developing that series set on a planet much larger than the Earth in which are mixed elements of science fiction and fantasy. He also kept on publishing independent stories.

In 1987, Robert Silverberg married Karen Haber.

Robert Silverberg also wrote several novels based on stories by Isaac Asimov: “Nightfall” (1990), “The Ugly Little Boy” (1991) and “The Positronic Man” (1992).

Among the novels published by Robert Silverberg in this last phase of his career there are “The King Gilgamesh” (1984), “Star of Gypsies” (1986), “Starborne” (1996), “The Alien years” (1998), “The Longest Way Home” (2002) until “Roma Eterna” (2003).

Robert Silverberg was able to write an incredible amount of stories ranging from space opera to introspection combining quantity and quality. Dspecially his short fiction have received various Hugo, Nebula and someone other awards to confirm the level he’s been able to achieve. In 1999 he was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame and in 2005 he was honored with the Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, further confirmations that he’s one of the science fiction greatest.




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