- Paperback: 280 pages
- Publisher: Fairwood Press (August 16, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1933846631
- ISBN-13: 978-1933846637
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,472,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg Paperback – August 16, 2016
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2017 Locus Award Finalist
"I only wish the book was twice as a long."
"Zinos-Amaro is a skilled interviewer and Silverberg a brilliant polymath looking back at a long life well spent... I learned something on every page."
"Silverberg is as brilliant as you expect him to be, and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro knows how to bring that brilliance out of him. An excellent and important book."
"A fascinating portrait of the artist, and a very nice supplement to his wonderful novels and stories."
"Readers have long shared in Silverberg's joy of discovery. Now, Bob and Alvaro's perceptive dialog allows us to discover the brilliant man behind the writing."
"This is your best chance to peer into the life and mind of the legendary Robert Silverberg--take it."
"In this revealing interview collection, Zinos-Amaro chats with Grand Master Robert Silverberg about his extensive travels across the globe, his love of opera film and classical music as well as writing. This is a candid look into the mind of one of the field's most respected writers."
"Though seemingly casual, compactly conveys a strong sense of the author's personal and literary world."
"Conversations revelatory of both personal and literary history, evocative of a vanished era... Zinos-Amaro probes his subject with well-educated, perceptive questions about everything under the sun, eliciting a telling verbal portrait of both men in the process... Zinos-Amaro generously throws open the floor to questions from "the audience." He never insists on forcing the conversation down predetermined paths if more alluring detours arise. And he is utterly simpatico with his older peer. In short, this book is the next best thing to hanging out with Silverberg himself, and a vital addition to the historical record of our genre."
"... a series of conversations with Robert Silverberg is a safe bet. The interviews cover his own work, writing in general, his political views, his career and relationships with other writers... The selection of questions is excellent... this is on balance one of the better collections of interviews I've read."
From the Author
On Alvaro Zinos-Amaro in When The Blue Shift Comes:
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“In 1996, when I was seventeen years old, I discovered Robert Silverberg’s work with Nightwings. The subtle melancholy of its three lyrical novellas moved me deeply. Beyond this, I was thrilled to realize that I had made first contact with a vast and cool intelligence, one that had spent decades producing enthralling stories now awaiting my discovery. I immediately hunted as many Silverberg books as I could find, reading perhaps fifty over the next two years.” From Alvaro Zinos-Amaro’s Preface. And let me tell you, Alvaro's conversations with Silverberg make for one engaging book since Silverberg has traveled widely and read widely and can speak with authority on a broad range of subjects ranging from literary fiction and science fiction, art and music, aesthetics and philosophy to film, archeology, travel and nearly everything else in between. To share some of the book's rasa, here are a number of direct Robert Silverberg quotes along with my own comments:
"I am—or was—a science fiction writer, and one of the things my science fiction is noted for is the vividness of landscape, the descriptive sweep. I don’t think I could have done that had I seen only one square mile of Brooklyn in my entire life."--------- Silverberg realized at an early age how world travel would fire his imagination and enhance his own writing. He also acknowledges such globe trekking isn’t necessary for all writers. Many of the author’s tales of travel make fascinating reading – like the safari in Africa when his wife rolled down the window to take a picture of a nearby lion. Hey, honey, it’s a lion!
"I try in each page to provide some color, some sound, taste, olfactory perception, and tactile sensation in order to make the work more vivid for the reader and to have more impact, as I’m leading the reader through the stages of the road to catharsis. There is a stylistic element having to do with prose rhythm, punctuation even: I want to maintain the reader’s interest by writing in such a way that the prose itself—the sound of it, the rhythm of it—engages his interest." ---------- One Silverberg reflection within the chapter on Aesthetics. For an aspiring writer, there are many lessons to be learned from this seasoned author about constructing a novel or story to really grab and hold a reader’s attention.
"I’m not obliged to bend myself out of shape for every little movement that comes along in the course of ninety years. In fact, I would rather look at Picasso, who certainly upset a lot of people before I was born, or Monet, or Turner. There’s an example—Turner was regarded as insane in his later period. I’d rather look at their work than the work of the sculptors who are scattering objects on the floor of the gallery. I’ve drawn the line. I’ve said, “Thus far and no farther.”" ---------- The voice of wisdom. Now in his mid-eighties, the author has seen enough art and visited enough museums around the world to judge some artwork simply not to his taste or worth the time and effort to know more intimately. I must say the range of Silverberg's knowledge of the arts is nothing short of breathtaking.
"I think what you have to master as an artist is the material that you are struggling with, which is in the beginning without form. Even God looked upon the face of the waters without form. Then you impose form on them. That’s what an artist does. And Nietzsche overstates the case by talking about the chaos. I don’t think a novel that is in the process of gestation is emerging from chaos. I think it’s emerging from nothingness. That’s not the same thing. By a process of selection and compression, the artist produces, in whatever art he practices, a work of art." --------- Very well stated. A blank canvas or a black page is not a chaos but just that, a blank, a nothingness from which an artist or writer can pick and choose how to fill.
“Up to a point the craft and technique can expand your ability. I think I’ve forgotten a lot of tricks I used to use! But I’ve been around a long time. After a while the technique doesn’t improve. What the writer needs is the reservoir of experience that he will manipulate using the craft at his command.” ----------- Craft and technique are only half of the equation; more importantly, a writer needs a fund of insight into life through experience combined with inspiration and imagination.
On Hermann Hesse: “I read The Glass Bead Game—it had some other title when I read it. A kind of fantasy novel. He, for me, is a one-book writer. I never went on to Steppenwolf, which everyone was reading at the time. Siddhartha was for the kids of the ’60s; college reading, like Tolkien." ------------- For me, one of the highlights of the book was Alvaro asking Silverburg to comment on a number of different Nobel prize winners. Respecting Hermann Hesse, my own view is his is an author best read when one is in their early twenties. I say this having read all of Hesse's novels right out of college and dearly loving each one.
“I’m very rigorous in my routines, and my habits are essentially unchanged. You don’t produce the number of books and stories that I did without regularity and routine. You don’t wait for inspiration and bat out something every now and then and run up a bibliography that’s the size of the telephone book. All of my life was built around the writing routine. And though that’s been subtracted now, the regularity is irreversible.” ------------- Pure gold for an aspiring writer: establish a discipline of setting aside time to write every day and stick to it. No exceptions! If you feel dry, just start writing and inspiration will kick in. Take it from an author who has written over eighty, that's right - eighty novels.
“The science fiction world has been my community since I was in my teens, when I went to local gatherings of readers and met writers. I still define myself as a science fiction writer, though I’ve written plenty of other things. I don’t think I’ve ever met another popular archaeology writer, or if I have, I’ve forgotten it. But I think of myself as one of the gang in the science fiction world. And have been for sixty years.” ------------------- I’m new to science fiction myself. I haven’t read any science fiction by Robert Silverberg but after reading this book of interviews, he’s definitely on my list.