Wow! I just checked my list and discovered that I have never, in 15 years of record-keeping, have I rated 2-consecutive books at 5-stars. Until today. On the heels of completing Connie Willis’ stunning Blackout, I just zipped my way through Robert Silverberg’s wonderful collection of autobiographical writings, Other Spaces, Other Times. It was an absolutely terrific book, and if it had any flaw, was too short. I wanted more!
The book is broken into several parts. Silverberg discusses his beginnings in science fiction, his writing, provides and autobiography, as well as miscellaneous thoughts on his career. It is absolutely fascinating reading to anyone with an interest in the history of science fiction, but also to anyone (like myself) who is a writer, or aspires to be one. In the numerous essays, Silverberg talks honestly about his career, his approach to writing, the challenges he faced, and from this, one gets the sense of an impressive lifetime spent in science fiction. The sheer volume of writing that Silverberg was doing in the late ’50s and early ’60s boggles the mind. I thought Asimov was prolific, but even he does not match the quantity produced by Silverberg during this time.
I’ve read numerous biographies and memoirs of science fiction writers. My favorite has always been Isaac Asimov’s massive 3-volumes. While Silverberg’s slim book doesn’t go into anywhere near as much detail as Asimov did, what is there is equally as interesting and a sheer joy to read.
The book contains an incredible amount of marginalia: photos, magazine covers, notes, all of which provides additional insight into Silverberg and his writing. It is a beautiful book, a bit pricy at $29.95, but well worth it.