Some authors write long sequences of related novels; even Silverberg began doing that with Lord Valentine’s Castle. But when he was young he took pride in variety–no two stories in the same voice, none with similar plots, each with its own style. That he chose to do this was ambitious. That he succeeded so well was genius.
Four novels, here; very different in texture and plot.
The Man in the Maze
An effort to convince Muller, who’s taken up residence in the heart of a murderous maze, that he needs to return to civilization–there’s been an encounter with an alien race, and he’s the man to handle the contact. Except his previous experience with first contacts was the disaster which led him to his hermit existence. Besides, the effort’s probably impossible. Well written; perhaps too cute.
A Watcher–doubting his profession, but dutiful–wanders a far-future North Africa and Europe with companions, one of whom he loves. The invaders he’s been Watching for arrive. Life goes on. A delightful, very stylized story; insanely well done.
Down the Line
Jud Elliott generates time travel paradoxes without half trying. His friends all conclude he’s a dangerous idiot. They’re right. Absolutely hilarious.
A Philip Roth-like concoction, with telepaths, set just a couple years after it was written (and very much tied to the 1970s). The entire story takes place on or near the Columbia University campus, and although telepathy drives the tale there’s nothing exotic about the action. Among the finest Science Fiction stories ever composed, but the jokes assume a Liberal Arts education. Highly recommended.
This review was originally published on LibraryThing.