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Nightwings Hardcover – 18 Aug 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd; New edition edition (18 Aug. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743474465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743474467
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 2.4 x 16.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,299,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

""Nightwings" is Robert Silverberg at the top of his form, and when Silverberg is at the top of his form, no one is better. A haunting, evocative look at a crumbling Earth of the far future and a human race struggling to survive amidst the ruins, full of memorable characters and images that will long linger in your memory." --George R. R. Martin

"Robert Silverberg is our best . . . Time and time again he has expanded the parameters of science fiction." --"The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction"

""Nightwings "is Robert Silverberg at the top of his form, and when Silverberg is at the top of his form, no one is better. A haunting, evocative look at a crumbling Earth of the far future and a human race struggling to survive amidst the ruins, full of memorable characters and images that will long linger in your memory." --George R. R. Martin

"Robert Silverberg is our best . . . Time and time again he has expanded the parameters of science fiction." --"The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction"

"Nightwings "is Robert Silverberg at the top of his form, and when Silverberg is at the top of his form, no one is better.A haunting, evocative look at a crumbling Earth of the far future and a human race struggling to survive amidst the ruins, full of memorable characters and images that will long linger in your memory. George R. R. Martin
Robert Silverberg is our best . . . Time and time again he has expanded the parameters of science fiction. "The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Robert Silverberg is one of science fiction s most beloved writers, and the author of such contemporary classics as "Dying Inside," " Downward to the Earth, " and "Lord Valentine s Castle." He is a past president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the winner of five Nebula Awards and five Hugo Awards. In 2004 the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America presented him with the Grand Master Award. Silverberg is one of twenty-nine writers to have received that distinction." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Patrick Shepherd TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 Oct. 2003
Format: Hardcover
The ability to fly like a bird is one of man's oldest dreams. In the far future, when man has risen to giddy heights of technological accomplishments and due to insufferable pride has fallen back again, where Guilds segment man into carefully disparate work and life styles, the Guild of the Flyers is the only one devoted to pure esthetic enjoyment. A product of gene tinkering during man's great Second Cycle, the flyers can fly only at night, with wings so delicate even the pressure of sunlight is too much for them.
But the story is not about Flyers, or the Watchers who scan the universe with mentally enhancing machines looking for signs of the promised Invaders, nor even about the Dominator's rights to command material wealth and people for their own desires, but rather is almost a paean to what is best about the inner soul of man. Told from the viewpoint of one Watcher as he wanders a recognizable but very changed world from our own, from Roum to Perris to Jorslem, it is a voyage of self-discovery, of a delving into man's long past, while lust, greed, and acts of betrayal form signposts along his path towards redemption. A redemption for not just himself, but for all mankind, when it can recognize that all types of humans, including the most grossly misshapen Changelings as well as the most gorgeous Flyers, are part of man, and are all worthy.
Silverberg populates his world with some very real people. The character of the Watcher, later given the name Tomis by the Rememberers, is finely drawn, that of a man somewhat distanced from the world, an observer, who none the less has to come to grips with the realities of living, and who can find true love if he looks hard enough. The Prince of Roum is immediately recognizable if not very likable.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book. It hasn't dated one iota since it was published almost 40 years ago. Silverberg produced a string of classic books in the late sixties and this is one of his very finest. It's a complex, rich, and exciting narrative with a satisfying conclusion. I almost couldn't put it down. This is a must-read for sci-fi fans.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To say that I love this book is not close enough. When I first read Nightwings, and even more so now as I come up to my 30th reading of it, it hold your emotions and mind in a way so few authors have over the years.
Winner of soooo many awards, and so concise and pure of skill and style, you deserve to read this if you are a true science fiction fan.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had never before read a SciFi story remotely like this one. It was so refreshingly different that I'm going to get more Silverberg SciFi
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 87 reviews
63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fly On, Silverberg 8 Mar. 2001
By Dave Deubler - Published on Amazon.com
In this exquisite gem of a novel, Silverberg introduces us to the world of the far future. In this mysterious and only vaguely familiar land, the social order is dominated by the Guilds, who exercise enormous control over the lives of their members, each of whom plays some small part in a grand scheme whose totality is shrouded in the mists of antiquity. Thus one of the main threads of the story is always "How did things get this way?" Silverberg uses the story of a simple Watcher to reveal a long and complex history of Earth's rise, foolish pride, and subsequent fall. The Watcher's job is to search the skies, but why and for what is not immediately clear. Against a backdrop of magic, sunken continents, alien creatures, ancient wrongs and endless wandering around what we would call the Old World (Roum, Perris, and Jorslem), we come to appreciate the Watcher as a human being. In his love for the Flier Avluela and his loyalty to the Prince of Roum, amidst his failures, betrayals, renewal, and redemption, we see a microcosm of the human race's own journey from arrogance to fear to humility and finally beyond. A quiet melancholy pervades this book, as our protagonist wanders among the remnants of Earth's glory years, now decrepit relics. Yet Silverberg finds a way to conclude with the promise of salvation. Despite the unfamiliarity of the social order and the slightly modified place names, the book is easy reading, even for younger readers. There is no over-abundance of action, or of science, either, really, so perhaps this book won't be a favorite of everyone. There is violent conflict aplenty, but much of it takes place "off-stage" so it won't overpower the fainthearted. The mild sexual content is handled pretty much the same way, making it acceptable reading for all but the most sheltered young teens. In short, Silverberg weaves a spell of quiet mystery, timeless beauty, and eternal human values that is sure to entrance.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical post-apocolyptic story of love, loss and redemption 13 July 2004
By abt1950 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Long before Silverberg's Marjipoor Chronicles, there was "Nightwings."
This slim volume consists of three linked novellas that tell the story of a man who loses the woman he loves, and through one mistake, fails at his life's work and allows his world to be conquered. But ultimately, this is not a story about failure, but one about growth, renewal, love and redemption.
The story takes place on an Earth far in the future, one that has been brought to its knees by its own former arrogance. It is now a technological backwater in a large galaxy and has reverted to a medievalesque guild system. While some Watch the skies using intricate and decaying machinery, others Remember the world's history, and still others Dominate, using their position abusively where they will. The Fliers, descendants of genetically engineered humans fill the skies with beauty as they soar.
A Watcher loves the Flier with whom he has been travellling, but she loves another. He loses her in an invasion whose early signs he neglected to report. In the ensuing chaos, the Watcher becomes the unlikely custodian to a fallen Dominator and wanders the world trying to rebuild his life. He works as a Rememberer, learns the forgotten history at the heart of his world's downfall, and is ultimately purified, renewed, and given hope in the ancient city of Jorselm.
The story of "Nightwings" is simple and simply told, but it has a lyricism and beauty that make it memorable. Many of its themes resonate profoundly with contemporary concerns about cultural hubris, greed, and the growth of technology without the wisdom to regulate it properly. In the face of political devastation, personal redemption becomes intertwined with societal redemption.

"Nightwings" is a haunting and perceptive book. It made quite a splash when originally it was originally published, and the first part won a Hugo for Best Novella in 1969. It is good to have it available in paperback again.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that is strange, troubling and yet inspiring. 30 Jun. 2003
By David Rasquinha - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This set of three novellas grouped into a book is a strange and haunting work whose effect lingers long. The stage is Earth far in the future, but an Earth whose pride and will have been shattered by terrible reverses. Silverberg paints a picture of the aftermath of human hubris, whereby pride and technological prowess carried to an extreme have led to the destruction of the continents of North and South America and ultimately to a "bankrupt" earth being placed in celestial "receivership". Beaten down and dispirited, humanity has been splintered in to a number of profession-specific guilds in a reversion to feudal times, with loyalty to guild superceding all other loyalties. The story is told through the experiences of a "Watcher" who has devoted his life to scanning the heavens for the approach of a long anticipated punitive invasion from a planet mortally wronged by human hubris. The book tells of the aftermath of the fateful invasion, resistance to which is rendered impossible by humanity's own divisions, let alone its reversion to a technological stone age. We follow the Watcher as, post-invasion, he seeks a new life and ultimately redemption. The topography is familiar and yet different as Silverberg plays on the names of well known cities (the holy cities of Roum and Jorslem, the romance of Perris in the nighttime). In majestic metaphor, the Watcher, after having his life's vocation rendered meaningless, delves deep into the past for lessons and finally seeks a new redemption, literally and figuratively, in a new united vision of love, tolerance and humanity. A book that is strange, troubling and yet inspiring.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Speculative Fiction 26 Aug. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a novella divided into three parts, about a future earth that has passed its technological heyday and is now a backwater planet. It took me a while to get into the book. It is very philosophical, and most action happens off-screen. That's okay, but it made it harder to maintain interest. By the middle section I was very curious about what happened next (though the middle section was probably my least favorite, overall), and the third section was the most interesting for me. It felt like it ended a bit abruptly, but the ideas were still interesting.

Good: Interesting characters, world-building, and future-history.
Possibly Problematic: Slow to start, off-screen action, and a few prominent but extremely unlikable characters

Overall, I'd recommend it.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One for my all-time best list! 21 Aug. 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Robert Silverberg is possibly the most underrated sf writers of all time considering how long he has been at it and the numerous awards he has won and been nominated for. For some reason he just does not seem to be "in vogue" these days. It is a pity that most of the younger generation of sf readers today have never read anything by him.

What Silverberg does better than almost any sf authors writing today is to write short stand alone novels with very strange plots and excellent characterization. His special talent us to drop the reader right in the middle of a strange place and time of his imagining and gradually acclimatize you through his story telling skills rather than just making an infodump.

Nightwings is set on Earth but in a future so far flung and strange that it may as well be an alien planet. There are many guilds and mutants and genetically modified humans populating the earth which is about to be invaded by rather reasonable aliens! This novel is both post-apocalyptic and dystopian. It all ends rather optimistically with redemption for the flawed but lovable protagonist. It is astonishing how much plot, grandeur, ideas, subtext and characterization Silverberg managed to squeeze into one short novel. This book easily goes to my all time best list!
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