Book Review: Traveler of Worlds by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (Three Stars)


Book Review: Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

Three Stars

“I thought I would create ‘enwonderment’ as a kind of analogous noun [to enlightenment and empowerment] that explains what science fiction is supposed to do.”

Another “related work” finalist for 2017 Hugo Awards. This one is at least a coherent whole, unlike almost all the others. A multi-day interview with Silverberg highlighting where he came from, how he got into writing, and where he is now.

“New experiences happen all the time, not always pleasant ones, but the ones that shape you, the ones that define you, happen early.”

Far-ranging dialogue touches on art, horticulture, theory of art and films he likes. A Grand Master of Science Fiction, Silverberg also produced non-fiction on archeology, history and the world. And why he stopped writing.

“String theory … strikes me as theology rather than science.”

“A lot of benefits have come from the twenty-first century, but I certainly don’t feel at home here.”

Silverberg represents an endangered specie: a California conservative. (He’s not a registered Republican because that effectively disenfranchises him in the Golden State.) His perspective is perhaps more interesting than his opinions.

“I’d be hard pressed to explain what I did mean by “purple” and “blue” as part of my conceptual process.”

Silverberg comes across as something of a curmudgeon, but the conversations are laced with humor and insight, too. We certainly don’t care about his daily routine. Interesting thoughts on the evolution of language in the last sixty years.

“What a writer needs is a reservoir of experience that he will manipulate using the craft at his command.… But very few writers write anything worthwhile in [their] later years.”

Eighty years old, Silverberg was very aware of his own mortality.

“It’s the battle against entropy that I will never win, but I will never cease.”

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Traveler of Worlds by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (Three Stars)

  1. The name Silverberg sounds familiar. Perhaps I read him a while ago. Is, was, his early work worth reading? I’ll check out “related works” of Hugos – don’t know what that means in relation to the Hugos. Thanks.

  2. Yes, Silverberg was a big deal. He’s a Grand master of SF.
    I liked some of his stuff; disliked others.

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