Nightwings Kindle Edition
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“Robert Silverberg is our best . . . Time and time again he has expanded the parameters of science fiction.” —The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
About the Author
- ASIN : B00CHW661Q
- Publisher : Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy; Reprint edition (May 14, 2013)
- Publication date : May 14, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 3386 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 272 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #38,438 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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By Bob Gelms
In science fiction circles, Robert Silverberg is something close to a force of nature. He won a prestigious Hugo Award for the book I am writing about in this issue, Nightwings.
After the first Hugo, he still had a bit more in him. Mr. Silverberg managed to win four more Hugo Awards for a total of five and still he wasn’t done. He also accumulated five Nebula Awards. (Nebula Awards are to the Pulitzer Prize, as the Hugo is to the National Book Award.)
He was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and, believe it or not, there was more to come. In 2004, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America honored Mr. Silverberg with the ultimate award, the Damon Knight Grand Master Award, a life achievement award, richly deserved. There are very few in that club and amongst the members fewer still who can equal Robert Silverberg’s astonishingly consistent high level of quality book after book after book.
Nightwings had something of a tortuous birth. Mr. Silverberg wrote a novella he called Nightwings, published under that title in the September, 1968, issue of Galaxy Magazine. The second related novella, Among the Rememberers, was published in November of 1968 and the third installment, The Road to Jorslem, in February of 1969.
At that point, he brought all three together, punched-up the plot and characters and combined them by writing connecting text between the three parts. Nightwings was published as a novel by Avon Books in September of 1969. BINGO, instant classic. Very often writing and publishing don’t travel in straight lines. In this case, everything just got better. It really was an instant classic.
The third cycle reveals that the people of Earth achieved interstellar flight. They met many other races, some of whom they captured and studied. A few were put on display like animals in a zoo. These were sentient beings just like Earthlings.
As it happens, Earth ran into planet-wide financial problems. They borrowed gigantic amounts of money from some of their extra-terrestrial friends. Eventually these folks wanted their money back and Earth could not pay. A planet in another star system bought up all of Earth’s debt. In a manner of speaking, they now owned Earth.
It came to pass that this race had been captured by Earthlings and put on display. They vowed that someday they would get their revenge. But first their society had to make considerable scientific leaps because they didn’t even have vehicles that could fly to another planet in their system.
So, Earth lived with the fear that someday they would be invaded. It took about a thousand years but now the invasion was nigh. Politicians and scientists tried to control Earth's weather making catastrophic decisions that led to massive death around the world. The oceans rose precipitously, completely altering the shape of the continents. The population took on a very medieval feeling. Guilds were formed just like in the middle ages.
Our hero was a Watcher. His job was to scan the skies four times a day looking for anything unusual like, maybe, an invasion force. He was also a wanderer. On his way from Roum (Rome) to Perris (Paris), he acquired a few fellow travelers including the Prince of Roum who had been kicked out, blinded and now traveled as a Pilgrim, wearing a mask so no one could identify him.
The Watcher also invited Gormon to travel with the group. He was mighty odd and sometimes could be big trouble. Little did they know. Last but not least, a sentient being who will remind you of Tinker Bell. Avluela is quite the piece of work. Wings, of course, because she can fly and she is quite small. She can talk and when she wears clothes she appears somewhat child-like. She is kind and generous.
As they marched toward Perris (Paris) they encounter a few adventures. One night, Watcher sees an invasion force flying rapidly toward Earth. He sets off the alarm but it is too late. Apparently, all of Earth had been conquered in one night. The invaders are indeed the race who swore revenge. It just took them a thousand years to get here. I guess you could say that this was when the sparks begin to fly. There are many surprises ahead.
Robert Silverberg’s writing style is crystal clear and sometimes beautiful. Underneath all the action is a layer of meaning springing from the characters and the way they interact with each other and the aliens. It approaches philosophy but if you’re not interested you can always just pay attention to the riveting plot.
I find Robert Silverberg to be a little bit of Robert Heinlein blended with Arthur C. Clarke and a big dollop of an engaged reader. Enjoy.
The world building and character evolution is definitely up to par with what I'd expect from Mr. Silverberg, and had these novellas been expanded upon into a trilogy, this could have been a great series. Instead, readers were given a glimpse into a very interesting future and introduced to characters we grow to want to learn about...and then we are left alone in the dark.
I'm definitely still happy to have read this book, and I appreciate the traditional sci-fi elements and tone found therein. Worth a read, as this was written by one of the greats, but this book on it's own definitely does not reflect the author's usual exemplary offerings.
As a side note, while reading the forward, I found this:
But other honors were waiting for the novella known as “Nightwings.” In the spring of 1969, it was one of five stories to make the final Nebula Award ballot in the Best Novella category, though it finished second to Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragonrider.”
Anne McCaffrey is and most likely always will be my favorite author, not just for her Dragonrider series, but for her collected works as a whole. While still a powerhouse in his own right, that Robert Silverberg's writing could even compare to Mrs. McCaffrey's is reason enough to read it. :)
“We’ll catch the disease!”
“The Will can reach us anywhere to infect us with this, Olmayne. It strikes at random. The danger is no greater for us inside this building than it is in Perris.”
“Why, then, are so many in this one village smitten?”
“This village has earned the displeasure of the Will.”
“How neatly you serve up the mysticism, Tomis,” she said bitterly. “I misjudged you. I thought you were a sensible man. This fatalism of yours is ugly.”
Top reviews from other countries
I cannot reccomend this novel enough. I have bought it countless times for friends and always been thanked profousley.
Please - Read my favorite book - It is Science Fiction they way they don't make em any more...
Winner of soooo many awards, and so concise and pure of skill and style, you deserve to read this if you are a true science fiction fan.