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Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg

Dying Inside (original 1972; edition 2009)

by Robert Silverberg

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997248,585 (3.75)37
Title:Dying Inside
Authors:Robert Silverberg
Info:Orb Books (2009), Edition: Second Edition, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library, Owned as Printed Book

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Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg (1972)

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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
The premise is good, and the slow degradation of the main characters sense of self was quite engrossing through the first half of the book. However, the second half becomes a bit self indulgent. ( )
  grandpahobo | Apr 7, 2015 |
Best story I've ever read about being able to read minds--to call it a mixed blessing is putting it mildly. Beautifully realized, absorbing, and ultimately heart-breaking. ( )
  unclebob53703 | Jan 24, 2015 |

David Selig reads minds. This extraordinary gift has caused him more trouble than anything else. He ekes out a living by ghost-writing term papers for college students. He fails miserably in his relationships, both with women and with friends and family. As his mind-reading power begins to wane, he reflects on the general mess he has made of his life. The book is not an uplifting read by any means, but the premise is intriguing. ( )
1 vote S.D. | Apr 4, 2014 |
Dying Inside - Robert Silverberg **

I have come to the conclusion that Robert Silverberg is an author that I can either love or hate. Unfortunately this book fell into the hate category.

I really enjoyed reading Invaders from Earth and Tower of Glass so went a bought a few more of his books, Son of man was the next one that I picked up and thought it was awful, I hoped maybe this was just a glitch and tried Dying inside next. Although not as poor as Son of man I still struggled to get through it.

We follow David Selig, a telepathic with powers that are fading away (hence the title). Selig is a funny character he relies on his 'gift' to earn a living but also views it as his biggest curse. We are allowed to relive some of the key areas in his life and how his telepathy came to help or hinder his situation. Girlfriends and family members unknowingly allow him into the darkest recesses of their mind including how they feel about him. I thought I would really enjoy this story and hoped the book would have a lot to offer, but for me I just got very bored.

The main story of the book is focussed around Selig's modern life, he is trying to ilk out a living by writing exam scripts for students so that they can effectively cheat. This is where Silverburg really lost my attention as a reader, whole chapters are dedicated in solely reciting the essays word for word. I am unsure if this was just the author being pretentious/self indulgent or he thought it would actually add to the tale. I was bored to tears.

I am now at a crossroads with reading anymore of his novels. I have never come across an author before where I find such a diversity in his works and such a range of likability. Maybe I will try one more.... and just keep my fingers crossed. ( )
  Bridgey | Dec 17, 2013 |
This is the first book I've managed to sit down and read straight through in quite a while, so I have to acknowledge here the quality of it first: it is one of those books that reminds you that speculative fiction of all stripes can be just as reflective on the human condition as any navel-gazing literary fiction. The characters are for the most part not very likeable -- there's something despicable in all of them, and especially in the narrator, Selig. But there are some amazing bits too: Selig's moment of communion (and that's a very apt word to use) with a farmer, as a teenager, for example, where he feels another man's oneness with the world.

Selig is, of course, self-indulgent and, well, navel-gazing, but the central idea is interesting without having to involve spaceships exploding or government conspiracies. The only problem for me was that I vividly remember someone telling me they read it as a book-length allegory about male impotence, so there was that to stop me taking it seriously.

Silverberg is a fine writer, there are some amazing passages and the relationships between his characters are complex -- Judith is fascinating, at once transparent to Selig and therefore the read, yet I don't think we ever really get a read on her. The moment where she cries for her brother surprised me in its genuineness.

The whole portrayal of Judith's reaction to Selig's ability to read her mind rings very true. I have actually had people say they can read my mind, and it does leave you feeling unclean, as though you can never have privacy. I hope there are no telepaths, and I wouldn't want to be one either. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Silverbergprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
White, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For B and T and C and me - we sweated it out
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So, then, I have to go downtown to the University and forage for dollars again.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0575075252, Paperback)

Imagine what it would be like if you could tell what the innermost thoughts and feelings of those around you were. Imagine if, as you reached middle age, you lost that ability. What would it do to you to be like everyone else?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:40 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Science fiction. From birth David Selig was both blessed and cursed with the ability to look into the innermost thoughts and hearts of people around him. As he grew he learnt to protect himself from the things he did not want to hear and eavesdropped on all that he did, using his powers for the pursuit of pleasure. But now having reached middle-age, David's powers are fading, slowly stranding him in a world he does not know how to handle, leaving him living on the outside but dying inside. Universally acclaimed as Silverberg's masterpiece, this is the harrowing and chilling story of a man who squandered his remarkable powers and then had to learn what it was like to be human.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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