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Dying Inside [Paperback]

Robert Silverberg
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mar 1984

Imagine what it would be like if you could tell what the innermost thoughts and feelings of those around you were. Imagine if, as you reached middle age, you lost that ability.

What would it do to you to be like everyone else?

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (Mm); Reprint edition (Mar 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553240188
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553240184
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,762,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

A powerful novel about what happens when the magic leaves our lives. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Robert Silverberg (1935 - ) Robert Silverberg has been a professional writer since 1955, widely known for his science fiction and fantasy stories. He is a many-time winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards, was named to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 1999, and in 2004 was designated as a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America. His books and stories have been translated into forty languages. Among his best known titles are Nightwings, Dying Inside, The Book Of Skulls, and the three volumes of the Majipoor Cycle: Lord Valentine's Castle, Majipoor Chronicles and Valentine Pontifex. His collected short stories, covering nearly sixty years of work, are being published in nine volumes by SF Gateway and Subterranean Press. His most recent book is Tales Of Majipoor (2013), a new collection of stories set on the giant world made famous in Lord Valentine's Castle. He and his wife Karen and an assorted population of cats, live in the San Francisco Bay Area in a sprawling house surrounded by exotic plants. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting 21 Sep 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am certain that everyone has at some point wished that they could read minds, it's one of those childhood dreams that often sticks way into adulthood when we still wonder about what each other is really thinking about. Dying Inside shows the torment that such a power could bring, as the main character David, upon realising that his power is abating speaks about how his life has been affected and in some ways ruined by it.

This book was far more intimate and emotional than I had initially expected. David recalls his life in a very matter-of-fact sort of a way, which is probably what gives the novel its power because it seems all the more real that way, the way things are explained suggests the inhuman apathy that a telepath could inhibit. What is steadily revealed is that his ability prevents him from being close to any other person, and in the same breath omnipotently intimate and aware of their most private thoughts. What makes the story even more real is that David is not an especially pitiable nor likeable person. The story demonstrates that his power manages to alienate him from society rendering him a mere supernatural voyeur who in spite of his intelligence lives a very meagre and solitary life.

I found this book an unexpected pleasure, even though in some places it can be quite sexually graphic, and some may say that the story does not go anywhere, it is more about becoming aquainted with David's personality, so you can understand just what it is that he is loosing.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful exploration of the human psyche 26 Jun 2005
I initially read this book about four years ago and it made a lasting impression, so I re-read it again recently and found it just as absorbing.
One thing should be pointed out from the start as one reviewer has noted, this isn't full-on SF. Steer clear if that's what you're looking for (incidentally there are other books in S.F. Masterworks series that are not hard SF e.g. I am Legend). I should also add that I do not personally believe in the existence of powers such as telepathy or ESP! So, to the book itself...
Dying Inside charts the life of 41 year old David Selig and his gift/curse of being able to read people's minds. It explores his struggle for self-understanding and the manner in which his ability both elevates and alienates him from humanity. The story is told through a variety of narrative devices such as the re-reading of old letters, flashbacks to past events, and Selig's present situation as his power begins to ebb away. The themes dealt with in the novel are intensely human and concern love, rejection and acceptance, ageing, and what it means to understand and know others. I found Silverberg's approach to the concept of telepathy to be intensely vivid and convincing, as Selig veers from God-like omnipotence with his power through to being a despairing misfit; all of which is expressed through Selig's day-to-day life and encounters, such as his relationships, work and social identity.
In structure the novel does not follow any real plot and at times it lacks cohesion, but this seems to work in the novel's favour as it mirrors and reflects Selig's character. It also contains some beautiful descriptive writing (particularly toward the end of the novel).
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great bit of 'soft' SF! 19 Jan 2006
Dying Inside is a brilliant snapshot of a telepath on the verge of losing his powers. There isn’t much of a plot but the protagonist David Selig and his relationships are so interesting that you don’t really need one. I don’t enjoy reading about heroes and how they save the world from doom. This story is one of those novels about the ‘lazy-bum’ anti-hero that I like and his downtrodden, self-loathing attitude appeals to my sense of justice and underdog spirit.

David Selig makes his money by writing lazy Columbia students’ term papers for them. By reading their minds he can quickly learn about their writing styles and the capacity with which they would be able to write it if they did it themselves. Through flashbacks we learn of Selig’s previous relationships especially with his sister. Here Silverberg is spot on in his wry observations of adoption and how it affects step-siblings.
The best parts of the novel are where we get to see Selig make use of his telepathy. One of his ‘customers’ is a giant, black, basketball player. Through probing his mind we see the burning hatred inside him (a black being put down by a Jew in his opinion) which touches on race issues but never becomes preachy. Also there is a flashback to his youth where he has to fight a much larger opponent in a boxing match. He uses his power effectively to dodge the punches but his satisfaction is muted by the fact that the other kids think him weird. (Kinda like in Spiderman when Tobey Maguire beats somebody up in the school hallway).
Overall very good – 8.5/10
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good on every level 25 Oct 2003
It is Manhattan, 1976 and David Selig is looking back on his life, a story which is delivered to us in first person, sometimes personally addressing a long-lost love in the hope that she may be reading this, and now and again objectively and dispassionately in the third person.

Selig is 42 and confesses immediately that from an early age he was able to read the thoughts of others, although apparently unable to project his thoughts into their minds.

Previously, novels which have dealt with telepathy are most often associated with Homo Superior; generally benign upgrades on Homo sapiens for whom telepathy is an essential tool for communication and understanding.
Silverberg presents a different view in that Selig's talent makes him anything but superior. At a very early age he realised that he was different and learned to hide his telepathy from everyone. Growing up, the very ease with which he is able to analyse others' motives and opinions prevents him from developing the social skills with which to initiate and maintain real relationships.

During the course of the novel he encounters one other like himself, Tom Nyquist, a man seemingly at ease with his telepathy and with whom Selig shares an uneasy friendship, since the freakish talent is one of the few things they have in common. Nyquist has no qualms about exploiting his talent to work the stock-market, lifting sensitive share information from the minds of those in the know and selling the tips on to a regular cadre of investors.
Selig employs his talent only to produce written-to-order term papers for students at a local university, tailoring the essays to their individual strengths and weaknesses and guaranteeing them a minimum mark of B+.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars I still like other works by Silverberg
Work by Silverberg is always worthy of being called a "Masterwork". Sadly, I thought time had passed over this story, and I failed to really engage with the character, or... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Phil
2.0 out of 5 stars Dying of boredom
I have come to the conclusion that Robert Silverberg is an author that I can either love or hate. Unfortunately this book fell into the hate category. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Bridgey
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing...
I purchased this novel based on my huge enjoyment of the the 'Book of Skulls' by the same author. However, what I discovered was that there was too many similarities between the... Read more
Published 14 months ago by D. Doyle
5.0 out of 5 stars The essential early mid-life crisis sci-fi novel
Let's be honest - it's a guys book.

But what a book.

If you're male, over 30, read it.

Published on 15 Jan 2012 by Dr. At Morley
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I had never heard of this book and only stumbled upon it when checking out which of the SF Masterworks series were available to Download to my newly purchased Kindle. Read more
Published on 20 Nov 2011 by A. C. Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Among the Finest Novels of Science Fiction: A Most Gripping and...
Long hailed as a classic of 1970s science fiction literature, Robert Silverberg's "Dying Inside" is an emotionally riveting character study of a telepath confronting the loss of... Read more
Published on 15 Nov 2010 by John Kwok
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost one of a kind, and a good read as well
This is not a standard science fiction book, if indeed there is any such thing. For this reason some may dismiss it merely on the grounds that does not fit into neat categories. Read more
Published on 3 May 2009 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
One of the finest SF novels in the SF masterworks series. This is not hard-science SF, it is more human based rather than science. Read more
Published on 1 Jan 2009 by Johnny London
3.0 out of 5 stars Serious work of "Inner Space" fiction
Anyone who likes science fiction which is a platform for strongly characterised, introspective point of view fiction should check out this book. Fans of I Am Legend (S.F. Read more
Published on 22 Dec 2008 by Lark
4.0 out of 5 stars dying inside
I really enjoyed this novel about a man (David Selig) who has the ability to read peoples minds, it shows the advantages and disadvantages of this ability, it's a very interesting... Read more
Published on 10 Feb 2008 by Mr. A. Jones
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