Writing Science Fiction, review: a lesson from Robert Silverberg

Writing Science Fiction, review: a lesson from Robert Silverberg

Writing Science Fiction, review

What can be more exciting than a science fiction story? Probably, being able to take a look behind the scenes, perhaps guided by one of the great names in sci-fi literature. This must have been the inspiration that prompted Edizioni BD to include within 451, its series dedicated to science fiction, Writing Science Fiction: Reflections and Refractions, a collection of writings by one of the gods of the genre, Robert Silverberg. An excellent choice, which leads 451's offer to reiterate how we not only want to offer high-level readings, but we intend to enrich our readers with a series of proposals that also help to understand the genre, to develop, if we want, a own taste.

Books like Writing Science Fiction: Reflections and Refractions are an important step in the creation of a science fiction library. After having delighted us with the dreamlike atmospheres of Moore's La Voce del Fuoco or the possible futures of The Imaginary Man and The World After the End of the World, offering a key to the science fiction context is a laudable intent, but which also requires a profound research, especially relating to the content to be transformed and reworked to give readers a vision that is not merely didactic, but that also knows how to grasp more complex nuances.

Writing Science Fiction: Reflections and Refractions, how to discover nature of science fiction

Writing Science Fiction: Reflections and Refractions therefore turned to one of the most refined and eclectic minds in science fiction, Robert Silverberg. The novelist had already given birth to a similar work in the past, an anthology in which some stories were reported which he considered valid examples of good sci-fi, accompanied by small lessons on his way of understanding science fiction writing. From this volume, Robert Silverberg's Worlds of Wonder was taken the essay that opens Writing Science Fiction: Reflections and Refractions, with the more than emblematic title: Becoming a science fiction writer.

Silverberg's intent is not to sit in the chair by imposing one's own vision, but takes on the tone of a transmission of skills gained through the experience of a long and prolific career as a writer. In this respect, the title of Writing Science Fiction can be slightly deceptive, especially for those who think they will find in this volume of Edizioni BD an alchemical formula to become the new Asimov. In fact, Silverberg's intent is not so much to provide a production methodology as to convey a passion, with a fun and authentic sincerity, in which anecdotes about his personal artistic life and some ironic and friendly opinions about his illustrious colleagues follow one another. .

Within Writing Science Fiction: Reflections and Refractions, therefore, there are a series of anecdotes that Silverberg shares with simplicity, retracing decades of great moments in science fiction. From his beginnings to his arduous ascent to the Olympus of sci-fi authors, seasoned with a pleasant and quick irony, able to use even some of his small missteps to impart lessons that not only suit a potential writer, but seem approaching the role of life advice:

"Too bad, in fact, that in transforming myself from a shy beginner into an inveterate professional I had overestimated the greatest of lessons, that is, that selling everything you write does not imply that you are omniscient, or even just that you know that much. "

Retracing the career of a master like Silverberg becomes a journey studded, in the first phase of his activity, with hard-learned awareness and doors in the face, but above all with humility, where the young Silverberg begins to refine his own dialectic by understanding one's limits and acquiring experience and teachings from other more established names. The lessons in Writing Science Fiction: Reflections and Refractions are a testament to a quick mind and a curious and tenacious, but also aware nature, which accepts the lessons learned from life and wants to give them to others. In some passages, a well-deserved satisfaction of the goals achieved may also transpire, but Silverberg always mitigates everything with a discursive attitude that avoids boredom and heaviness, bringing the reader closer with a series of events interspersed with personal considerations that help to understand the evolution of his fiction.

Colleagues, ideas and experiences, Silverberg guides us to the discovery of classy science fiction

Writing Science Fiction: Reflections and Refractions, in hindsight, is not just a discovery of the behind the fifths of Silverberg's fiction, but, thanks to the novelist's long career, it is a portrait of the evolution of science fiction in the second half of the 20th century. The author's new skills and visions animate his production, his obsessive attention to detail is presented as a sine qua non fundamental to the creation of a perfect and credible story, as explained in Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. This collection of Silverberg's thoughts is a mine of knowledge that obviously has its heart in sci-fi literature, but it lends itself to being a very pleasant reading that expands the perception and the tools with which to live one's passion, thanks to the vision. of an author who has always anticipated the evolution of the genre. Not surprisingly, one of Silverberg's best descriptions was given by another famous name in science fiction, Isaac Asimov:

“Where Silverber goes today, the rest of science fiction will follow tomorrow”

A certificate of esteem that Silverberg reciprocates in the second part of Writing Science Fiction: Reflections and Refractions, Colleagues. In these contents the novelist tells of his relationship with his contemporary authors and the personalities who have revolved around this world. If desired, this second part of the Edizioni BD volume is clearly aimed at fans of the genre, who may have a greater affinity with names such as Asimov, Heinlein or Ray Bradbury.

Edizioni BD must be credited with having wanted to offer a reading that is not pure fiction, but a sharing of tools and skills that can expand the ease of use of sci-fi stories. Nature, that of Writing Science Fiction: Reflections and Refractions which is perfectly portrayed by the beautiful cover illustration which beautifully portrays the incredible creator of universes known as Robert Silverberg.

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