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September Books 4) A Time of Changes

4) A Time of Changes, by Robert Silverberg

Two more Nebula winners to read, Rite of Passage by Alexei Panshin and The Terminal Experiment by Robert J Sawyer.

I thought I'd read a fair amount of Silverberg when I was a teenager but this one had definitely passed me by. I thought it was rather good. The narrator, living in a culture so reserved that the words "I" and "me" are obscenities, gets hold of a drug that allows him to telepathically share thoughts with others, and sets out to revolutionise his society. Sounds a bit like a metaphor for the late 1960s, but I thought it was very well done. Would make an interesting paired reading with Dying Inside. Probably deserved to win the Nebula that year; I haven't read any of the other nominees except The Lathe of Heaven which is not as good as this. It was beaten for the Hugo by To Your Scattered Bodies Go, which I guess is more of a Hugo book than a Nebula book. (As a Zelazny fan, I'd have voted for Jack of Shadows that year myself.)

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
scott_lynch
Sep. 6th, 2006 05:50 am (UTC)
Groovy. I read Rite of Passage and The Terminal Experiment within the last few months, and had fairly strong reactions to them. I'll lurk, and blather once you're finished with them.
nwhyte
Sep. 6th, 2006 06:17 am (UTC)
I have not exactly been grabbed by Sawyer's prose in the past, but am trying to keep an open mind.

I don't think I've read anything by Panshin, or heard anything about Rite of Passage, so we will see...
frumiousb
Sep. 6th, 2006 06:30 am (UTC)
I hadn't thought about Silverberg in years, and actually just got around to re-reading the Lord Valentine books. I thought that they stood up very well over time. Will have to look for A Time of Changes.
nwhyte
Sep. 6th, 2006 08:52 am (UTC)
You'll have difficulty finding it in the shops, I think - it's well out of print. Though farily easy to get hold of online second-hand.
dougs
Sep. 6th, 2006 08:57 am (UTC)
this was pretty much the first thing I read when ajr joined my friends list. My reactions to the book are in the comments there.

A good book.
nwhyte
Sep. 6th, 2006 09:40 am (UTC)
Thanks - his review is much more complete than mine.

I've been trying to analyse what makes this a good read, compared to the many other books of the period about exploring inner space which have been forgotten. Partly that the society depicted, though a bit extreme in its rejection of the ego, is recognisable as an intensification of our own. Partly that the world is well-built, the landscapes and seascapes are vivid. And partly that the sex is well-described and convincingly unsatisfactory.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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