First-Person Singularities by Robert Silverberg
Three Rooms Press: 10/31/17
eBook review copy; 384 pages
First-Person Singularities by Robert Silverberg is a very highly
recommended collection of eighteen stories by Silverberg all told in the
first person singular. This is a wonderfully written collection of
many favorite stories that showcases Silverberg's enormous talent over
five decades, from 1956 to 1997, or from when Silverberg was 21 to when
was 62. The volume features an introduction by
John Scalzi. Each story is then introduced by Silverberg and he also
shares additional inside information about it.
Ishmael in Love: A well-educated dolphin is in love with a human woman.
Quote:"Misguided human beings sometimes question the morality of using
dolphins to help maintain fish farms. They believe it is degrading to
compel us to produce fellow aquatic creatures to be eaten by man. May I
simply point out, first, that none of us work here under compulsion, and
second, that my species sees nothing immoral about feeding on aquatic
creatures. We eat fish ourselves."
Going Down Smooth: A computer is a little bit off balance, perhaps
crazy, in this story. Quote: "They call me mad, but I am not mad. I am
quite sane, to manypower
exponential. I can punctuate properly. I use upper- and lower-case
letters, do you see? I function. I take the data in. I receive well. I
receive, I digest, I remember."
The Reality Trip: An alien being wearing a human disguise is trying to
fend off the unwanted attention of a fellow resident in the Chelsea
The Songs of Summer: A story featuring multiple first person narrators. A man travels to the future and tries to take control.
The Martian Invasion Journals of Henry James: A retelling of Wells’s tale of Martian invaders as if the
invasion had been experienced firsthand by Henry James.
Push No More: A sexually inexperienced Jewish boy happens to be a poltergeist.
House of Bones: The story of a man who finds himself stranded many thousands of years
in the past.
Call Me Titan: Typhoeus, one of the Titans awakes, and looks for members of the old pantheon.
Our Lady of the Sauropods: A scientist visits the L5 space
satellite/habitat where the reconstructed dinosaurs are kept. Quote:
"What a brilliant idea it was to put all the Olsen-process
dinosaur-reconstructs aboard a little and
turn them loose to recreate the Mesozoic! After that unfortunate San
Diego event with the tyrannosaur, it became politically unfeasible to
keep them anywhere on earth..."
There Was an Old Woman: A man, one of thirty-one identical siblings,
writes about his mother, a scientist with a theory. Quote: "Each of us
was slated for a different profession. It was the ultimate
proof of her theory. Genetically identical, physically identical except
for the minor changes time had worked on our individual bodies, we would
nevertheless seek out different fields of employment. She worked out
the assignments at random..."
The Dybbuk of Mazel Tov IV: Mazel Tov IV is a planet that has been
colonized by Jews
fleeing from persecution by their fellow Earthlings. Quote: "But there
was no arguing the phenomenon away. There was the voice of
Joseph Avneri emerging from the throat of Seul the Kunivar, and the
voice was saying things that only Joseph would have said, and Joseph had
been dead more than a year. Call it a dybbuk, call it hallucination,
call it anything: Joseph’s presence could not be ignored."
Caliban: "The tale of the
one ugly man in a world of people who have made themselves look like
Passengers: Aliens can take over human minds, as "passengers" and
control them. Quote: "It is always like that when a Passenger leaves us.
We can never be sure
of all the things our borrowed bodies did. We have only the lingering
traces, the imprints."
Now Plus N, Now Minus N: A story written in the first-person plural about somebody who is
getting stock market information from his future self and relaying it to his past
The Iron Star: The after effects of a supernova are noted on a distant world when an alien race is encountered.
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: "My mind is cluttered with other men’s fantasies: robots, androids,
starships, giant computers, predatory energy globes, false messiahs,
real messiahs, visitors from distant worlds, time machines, gravity
repellers. Punch my buttons and I offer you parables from the works of
Hartzell or Marcus, appropriate philosophical gems borrowed from the
collected editorial utterances of David Coughlin, or concepts dredged
from my meditations on De Soto. I am a walking mass of secondhand
imagination. I am the flesh-and-blood personification of the Science
Fiction Hall of Fame."
To See the Invisible Man: A man is sentenced to one year of invisibility.
The Secret Sharer: This story is a rewriting of Conrad's plot where a ship's captain finds a stowaway on board.
My review copy was courtesy of Three Rooms Press.