on 8 September 2010
First up: If - like myself - you're a nut for Silverberg's books of the late Sixties and early Seventies, then this is for you. If you haven't read anything by this elder statesman of science fiction, then maybe there are better places to start - Tower of Glass, The Stochastic Man or Nightwings, perhaps - but nevertheless, this is a very enjoyable example of Silverberg's literary and experimental SF.
Unsurprisingly, the story has a very fantastical feel, being inspired by Ancient Greek myth and it's perhaps a little too escapist for those who prefer logic puzzles and plausibility. The plot concerns a man whose bizarre psychic powers cause him such pain that he exiles himself away from his own kind in a deadly labyrinth, the artefact of an ancient and long-gone race of aliens. Two government men seek to liberate him, a callow youth and his Machiavellian superior, for the sake of the human race, which faces a terrible alien enemy. On the face of it, very silly indeed, but Silverberg works his usual magic, drawing the reader into the mystery enough to make him persevere. There's all the usual themes that this author returns to again and again: the crises of identity caused by the alteration of body or mind; the struggle of will against destiny; the quest for redemption of the human spirit.
on 5 June 2010
If you can find a copy of this great classic get hold of it and read it. You won't be disappointed by Silverberg's brilliant story which takes themes from 'Thorns', his breakthrough work, and refines them into a mature study of alienation and redemption, all within a cracking plot.