Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chatting With Silverbob

One of the more pleasant memories of a decidedly pleasant weekend (I except the extremely ugly Game 3 of the World Series last night) was sitting on a couch in the F&SF suite, chatting with Robert Silverberg. If you didn't have any idea who he was, you'd still think he was an extremely charming and witty and learned and intelligent man. But of course, he's rather more than that. He's . . . Robert Silverberg.

I said as much to David Hartwell, on my way to the Weird Tales party, where I read "Hush and Hark" as part of their "Midnight Invocations" . . . "There I was, talking to Robert Silverberg, as if I had a right to do so!" I said.

"Of course you had the right," David said. Then, with only the slightest pause, "But he is the King."

So I'm well and happy and hoping you are the same.



HANNAH'S DAD said...

Anyone who wrote _A Time of Changes_ is alright by me.

But have you read his popular nonfiction archaeology and history?

_The Man Who Found Nineveh_, about Henry Austin Layard (or was it his evil twin Austin Henry Layard), intrepid Victorian amateur who found Middle Eastern archaeology is an absolute ripper.

Must get hold of his book on Prester John one day...

Michael Swanwick said...

I'm onthte road right now or I'd make a long post on this very subject. Short version: Marianne and I were in Ohio looking at Mound-Builder sites and many, many things we saw just didn't add up. Then I bought a Silverberg book on the subject in a gift shop and, hey presto!, everything was clear as clear.

So I heartily second your commendation.

Keith Ferrell said...

Bob's nonfiction career is in many ways as impressive as his fiction; the Prester John book, like the Mound Builders works, is well worth getting hold of, as are a dozen or more others. One of the first things I did when editing Omni was to get Bob to return, briefly alas, to nonfiction. His essays in Asimov's have for years been indispensable, both for their insights, and for the history of the field that is taking shape within them. An extraordinary writer.

HANNAH'S DAD said...

Aargh. *founded* Middle Eastern archaeology dammit. Not *found*.

Though I guess if there is an academic field you can find just lying around on the ground...

Michael Swanwick said...

Best save of the week!

If only I had gobs and gob of time, it would be great fun to read all of Silverbob's nonfiction and write a slim, forty thousand word book about it.

Alas, I'd have to do so at the expense of my own shot at literary immortality. But if somebody else ever does it, I am DEFINITELY buying the book.

As a user's guide, if nothing else.