Other Spaces, Other Times: A Life Spent in the Future

Other Spaces, Other Times: A Life Spent in the Future

Capturing a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of science fiction, this unique autobiography by Robert Silverberg shows how famous stories in this genre were conceived and written.

Reviews of the Other Spaces, Other Times: A Life Spent in the Future

well, sort of anyway This glossy little coffee table autobiography is interesting for fans, and I am one, so I shamelessly perused the chronological stroll though Silverbergs early years, all through the mind bogglingly prolific 60s (no kidding) and into his later working years in what has amounted to a truly phenomenal career. Most interesting for me was the images of early rejection letters and the many photos of him from the late 50s, 60s and 70s with other writers like Cyril Kornbluth, Frederik Pohl, Randall, Asimov, John W.

This is followed by what got him interested in writing; his first failures and successes, then eventually, who he met in the biz and where he ended up, and then, how hard it was getting noticed and making an impact in the field... I usually prefer biography over autobiography because when one writes their own story, they are inevitably too kind to themselves. I am not suggesting that I was only interested in reading slanderous dirt, I am a great admirer of Silverbergs writing and have yet to read anything that wasnt, at least, creative and entertaining. Yet because the book is a collection of articles, there is much retelling of all these great achievements. I especially liked the rejection slips and types first drafts of early attempts at writing. If you ever come across this odd duck of a book, and are interested in Silverberg and his work, I recommend you take a look.

I've read quite a few books detailing the history of sf fandom in the 1930s and '40s, and was interested in his take on the field in the '50s and later.

It has the feel that Silverberg ascribes to his own early, mass-produced short stories: something that's whipped together with no thought to quality; something that shows no respect for the reader. For a writer as skilled as Silverberg, it should have been no more than a couple of weeks' work to edit this book into a coherent narrative, removing the repetition and putting things in a consistent order.

Silverberg saw for himself a future in science, but then, at the age of fourteen, he discovered his first science fiction magazine at the local drugstore. This compilation of introductions to reprints of his work, columns he wrote for Galaxy magazine, and stray autobiographical fragments can be repetitive, but it gives an excellent and entertaining insight into how this successful and innovative science fiction author made a career as a freelance writer from the time he was 19 years old until the seventh decade of his life when he composed this anthology. Silverberg was a self-professed writing machine for the SF magazine trade of the late 1950's. As a teenager, one of Silverberg's favorite writers for Imaginative Tales was Alexander Blade, an author he did not realize until he wrote for the magazine himself a decade later was a fiction. Silverberg took his first retirement from the field and started writing successful nonfiction for the young adult trade. (I confess I am offering this opinion without having actually read any of these novels, but the have what look like knights on the over and they can be 600 pages long.) Other Spaces Other Time ends with Silverberg reminsicing about past WorldComs and other good times. The interest here lies in what Silverberg has to offer as insights into what it meant to be a freelance SF writer for five last five decades of the 20th century.

Silverberg discusses his beginnings in science fiction, his writing, provides and autobiography, as well as miscellaneous thoughts on his career. It is absolutely fascinating reading to anyone with an interest in the history of science fiction, but also to anyone (like myself) who is a writer, or aspires to be one. While Silverberg's slim book doesn't go into anywhere near as much detail as Asimov did, what is there is equally as interesting and a sheer joy to read.

  • English

  • Nonfiction

  • Rating: 3.74
  • Pages: 200
  • Publish Date: May 1st 2009 by NonStop Press
  • Isbn10: 1933065125
  • Isbn13: 9781933065120