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Dying Inside (1972)

by Robert Silverberg

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,5314911,579 (3.7)61
David Selig was born with an awesome power - the ability to look deep into the human heart, to probe the darkest truths hidden in the secret recesses of the soul. Then, one day, his power began to die.
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» See also 61 mentions

English (44)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Story: 3 / 10
Characters: 6
Setting: 6
Prose: 5

Another directionless piece. Dying Inside isn't simply about a telepath: It is about a telepath that is losing its powers. Some books go too far into an idea. Basically, Dying Inside is the opposite of an origin story. There is very little forward action in the book: Most of it is a retrospective and a lot of irrelevant, contextual information as well. For example, there is one chapter entirely composed of an essay the main character ghostwrites. Certainly, it shows how he makes a living. However, those 10 pages (5% of the book) could have been better spent (or simply removed).

Not recommended (for anybody: Well, telepaths only). ( )
  MXMLLN | Jan 12, 2024 |
Silverberg's speaker-protagonist David Selig is a freak telepath who has concealed his talent for his whole life and is now losing it, i.e. "dying inside." The book is framed as a memoir; it includes biographical reflection along with events more immediate to its writing. Selig ghostwrites academic papers for pay, and pieces of these appear embedded in the larger text. The narrative isn't very linear, and sometimes it indulges in stream of consciousness, but it didn't feel very experimental or avant-garde to me; these modes were suited to the subject matter.

I enjoyed this book, which seemed to me very vividly of its time, the exhausted post-countercultural moment of the beleaguered nineteen-seventies--letting go of anxious utopian and mystical aspirations. The story moved quickly, and while there was a fair amount of plot in retrospect, it felt very much like an exploration of character throughout, both Selig's own and his understanding of the people to whom he had been close.
2 vote paradoxosalpha | Dec 21, 2023 |
This book was psychological sci-fi, with the main character being a telepath. So we have a lot of descriptions of people's minds and this is what the author really good at. But here comes the first downside for me, unfortunately. Maybe it was just a problem with my edition, but there were so many pages with descriptions without any paragraphs and I didn't find it out to read like this enjoyable.
The entering of people's minds was so well written so I don't understand why did the author focus on the women's outside appearance so much. There were so many descriptions of women's breasts and I mean probably of every woman in the story. That seemed so unnecessary.
The last thing to point out is that the book was switching timelines of the main character during the story. So it was a bit confusing sometimes.
I don't read psychological sci-fi very often, but this one was ok. The main story didn't interest me much, but the descriptions of people's minds were just on point as said before. ( )
  Mandalor | Jun 21, 2022 |
Þessi bók var tilnefnd til fjölda af helstu vísindasögu- og fantasíuverðlauna á sínum tíma. Framúrstefnuleg og óvenjuleg. Silverberg lýsir lífi Seligs, einstaklings sem hefur notið þeirrar náðargáfu að geta lesið hugsanir annarra. Öfugt við afburðahetju sem við mættum búast við að lesa um líkt og í öðrum slíkum sögum hefur þessi geta einangrað hann og að mörgu leyti skemmt hann. Þegar sagan hefst er hann byrjaður að missa máttinn og glímir við þunglyndi og örvæntingu vegna þessa. Djúp saga sem tekur á samskiptum og hliðarverkunum ofurhæfileika. ( )
  SkuliSael | Apr 28, 2022 |
Surprisingly fresh science fiction, which is what it was called back then, but today we'd call it speculative, or really could be shelved with straight fiction given the fuzziness of the boundaries nowadays. From Silverberg, I had only ever read a few books from the Majipoor Chronicles as a kid, then picked this up thanks to Among Others. If I had started with this, I may have explored more of his bibliography. Great narrative voice, fun depressing philosophy of ennui. Of course, the reader wants more from this character and is deeply disappointed in how banal a life he has lead, but that's the point and it's executed well enough to be interesting. Misogyny and mild racism trigger warning, but it's 70s sci-fi, deep in the mindset of a jerk, whaddya gonna do, *le sigh.*
( )
  invisiblecityzen | Mar 13, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Silverberg, Robertprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abadia, GuyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Alpers, Hans JoachimEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Erlich, Richard D.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eschbach, AndreasVorwortsecondary 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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Dedication
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.
Quotations
David Selig is 41 and counting. Slightly above medium height, he has the lean figure of a bachelor accustomed to his own meager cooking, and his customary facial expression is a mild, puzzled frown. He blinks a lot. In his faded blue denim jacket, heavy-duty boots, and 1969-vintage striped bells he presents a superficially youthful appearance, at least from the neck down; but in fact he looks like some sort of refugee from an illicit research laboratory where the balding, furrowed heads of anguished middle-aged men are grafted to the reluctant bodies of adolescent boys. How did this happen to him? At what point did his face and scalp begin to grow old?
Aldous Huxley thought that evolution has designed our brains to serve as filters, screening out a lot of stuff that’s of no real value to us in our daily struggle for bread. Visions, mystical experiences, psi phenomena such as telepathic messages from other brains—all sorts of things along these lines would forever be flooding into us were it not for the action of what Huxley called, in a little book entitled Heaven and Hell, “the cerebral reducing valve.” Thank God for the cerebral reducing valve! If we hadn’t evolved it, we’d be distracted all the time by scenes of incredible beauty, by spiritual insights of overwhelming grandeur, and by searing, utterly honest mind-to-mind contact with our fellow human beings. Luckily, the workings of the valve protect us—most of us—from such things, and we are free to go about our daily lives, buying cheap and selling dear.
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David Selig was born with an awesome power - the ability to look deep into the human heart, to probe the darkest truths hidden in the secret recesses of the soul. Then, one day, his power began to die.

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