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Phases of the Moon

Though I doubt I’ll review it myself, I thought I’d make some comment here about Robert Silverberg’s forthcoming career retrospective, Phases of the Moon.

It is, as I’ve suggested below, big, covering six decades of writing, reprinting 23 stories with extensive notes and such, and all in a handsome 600+ page volume. Should you care? Yes!! Why? Well, Silverberg was just presented the Nebula Grandmaster, and this book is nothing less than a coherent argument for why he deserved the award. It collects everything from competent journeyman work through to the defining classics of his career, his evolution from beginner to consumate professional. Stories like “Born with the Dead”, “Enter a Solder: Later, Enter Another”, “Sailing to Byzantium”, “Good News from the Vatican”, “Passengers”, and “The Pope of the Chimps” are about as good as science fiction gets. I think the book also has a great benefit over volumes like The Essential Ellison or GRRM: A Rretrospective, which present a warts and all picture of their subject. This book is just the good stuff, the best, as selected by Silverberg. Having met Bob I know he’s far too urbane and sophisticated to huckster a book, but this one deserves it. And, just to be crass about it, those of you who love beautiful books can get it in a classy Subterranean Press edition, while poor peons like me can get it later in the year in a more affordable edition from Byron Preiss’s ibooks. I think it’s pretty close to essential. If you’ve been reading SF for years, it completes an important part of your bookshelf, and if you’re just starting it’s a perfect overview. Take note.

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