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Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg
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Dying Inside (original 1972; edition 2009)

by Robert Silverberg

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1,073247,788 (3.72)38
Member:jrissman
Title:Dying Inside
Authors:Robert Silverberg
Info:Orb Books (2009), Edition: Second Edition, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library, Owned as Printed Book
Rating:*
Tags:fantasy

Work details

Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg (1972)

Recently added byOwdormer, bormgans, JeffreyA2957, C.E.OGrady, LitaVore, shadowblade92, speedzf, private library
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English (21)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  All (24)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Okay, first things first: Dying Inside is not really a scifi book. It’s a rather small story about David Selig, living in the second half of 20th century America. Selig can read minds – only he and one other guy he meets can do this – and his power is diminishing. That’s it. No speculative science, no future worlds, no space stuff, nothing, just one guy who inexplicably can read minds. That’s not a negative, it’s just something candidate readers should know.

Dying Inside easily fits in with earlier scifi, taking mental powers seriously – just like books as diverse as Foundation And Empire (1952), Childhood’s End (1953), The Demolished Man (1953), More Than Human (1953), The Santaroga Barrier (1968) or The Lathe Of Heaven (1971).

In a way, Dying Inside is the most pure of all those: Silverberg doesn’t give justifications for Selig’s powers, there’s no paranormal scientific framework, no Freudian veneer, no nothing. Selig’s powers are a coincidence. On the surface level, it’s just a character study of a speculative character losing his mutant mental power. On top of that, Selig doesn’t do anything spectacular with his powers. He doesn’t try to make money out of it, there’s no action, no mystery plot, no sleuthing. So, space opera fans should look elsewhere for their dose of entertainment.

All these caveats aside: I liked Dying Inside. Why? What’s a way to approach and appreciate this novel? I don’t care much for the approach of Michael Dirda – Washington Post book critic – who points to the easily recognized surface metaphor: yes, Dying Inside is about a character realizing he will die someday, “a common human sorrow, that great shock of middle age”. I don’t feel Silverberg has particularly interesting or profound things to say about that shock. So, another approach maybe?

(...)

Please continue reading over at Weighing A Pig ( )
  bormgans | Jan 31, 2017 |
My favorite of his novels, and I think his masterpiece. The story of a man who can read minds, and is a complete and utter loser both in spite of and because of it. By turns funny and sad, it turns heartbreaking when his abilities begin to fade. Everything about it works. ( )
  unclebob53703 | Feb 21, 2016 |
I remember when this this book came out to critical acclaim. I was so looking forward to reading it and was SO disappointed when I did! Joanna Russ' "And Chaos Died" came out somewhere around the same time, also highly acclaimed. I didn't like that one either as both were written in a very internalized, stream of consciousness style. These two books really marked a paradigm shift in how science fiction was defined. ( )
  glindaharrison | Oct 19, 2015 |
I remember when this this book came out to critical acclaim. I was so looking forward to reading it and was SO disappointed when I did! Joanna Russ' "And Chaos Died" came out somewhere around the same time, also highly acclaimed. I didn't like that one either as both were written in a very internalized, stream of consciousness style. These two books really marked a paradigm shift in how science fiction was defined. ( )
  glindaharrison | Oct 19, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Silverbergprimary authorall editionscalculated
Abadia, GuyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Alpers, Hans JoachimEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Erlich, Richard D.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freas, Frank KellyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harman, DominicCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Korusiewicz, MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodríguez, CarlosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stege, GiselaTranslatorsecondary authorsome 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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