Robert Silverberg: 60th anniversary of first publication

I was unable to find the exact date when Revolt on Alpha C was published in 1955. But it must have been around this time because its publication was listed in the May 1955 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction.

So let’s all the celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the beginning of the career of one of the most important and prolific figures in science fiction - and one who is still writing new works.

Mazal tov, Silverbob!

I discovered a lot of his stuff via The Science Fiction Book Club when I was a kid. I haven’t read it in ages but loved it back then.

I can’t let this anniversary pass without adding my tribute. I first started reading him in the 60s and he quickly became part of my SF pantheon, alongside Stanley Weinbaum, Jack Vance, Keith Laumer, Alfred Bester, Cordwainer Smith, Philip K. Dick, Frank Herbert, Fredric Brown, Christopher Hinz, Larry Niven, Lloyd Biggle Jr., Dan Simmons. (An eclectic pantheon that stretches from the 30s to the present, although I do find it difficult keeping abreast of the latest developments in SF these days.

I think my favorite Silverbergs are Lord Valentine’s Castle and the other books of the Majipoor series. Very Vancean from a writer that loved Jack Vance.

Thank you, Mr Silverberg, for many decades of pleasurable reading!

My favorites are from his middle period - from the mid-sixties to his temporary retirement in 1975. This is when he wrote works like The Book of Skulls, Born with the Dead, Downward to the Earth, Dying Inside, Flies, Good News from the Vatican, Hawksbill Station, In Entropy’s Jaws, Nightwings, Passengers, The Reality Trip, Son of Man, The Stochastic Man, To Live Again, Tower of Glass, Trips, and Up the Line.

His run from 1968 through 1977 will never be duplicated. He was nominated for Hugo best novel nine times and for Nebula best novel nine times - and not the same nine! That means he had 11 novels nominated in that decade! At the same time he had seven nominations for short fiction for each, and again they weren’t the same seven! That’s the densest decade of high-quality fiction the field has ever seen.

His productivity was legendary. His first two published stories were actually in 1954, but he didn’t get his career properly under way until 1956, when lists 52 short fiction titles. That was just revving up. In 1957 he had 88 short stories and four novels. Does 1958 count as slowing down with 59 shorts and six novels?

He also is one of the very few writers in the field thought of as gentlemen.

This isn’t his 60th anniversary of writing, but he did turn 80 earlier this year so that’s a good milestone. He should have many years worth of writing left in him.

His short story “Symbiont” was in a favorite issue of Playboy, and I got around to reading it … eventually.

The Book of Skulls is still one of my top 10 novels.

Grats & thank you for such a long and excellent career, Mr. Silverberg!