Phases of the Moon: Stories of Six Decades

Phases of the Moon: Stories of Six Decades

Phases of the Moon: Stories of Six Decades

Phases of the Moon: Stories of Six Decades


Now ibooks proudly presents a collection of Silverberg's best short fiction, as selected by the author. The 1950s: The Road to Nightfall, The Macauley Circuit, Sunrise on Mercury, Warm Man. The 1960s: To See the Invisible Man,Flies, Passengers, Nightwings, Sundance. The 1970s: Good News from the Vatican, Capricorn Games, Born with the Dead, Schwartz Between the Galaxies. The 1980s: The Far Side of the Bell-Shaped Curve, The Pope of the Chimps, Needle in a Timestack, Sailing to Byzantium, Enter a Soldier. Later, Enter Another. The 1990s: Hunters in the Forest, Death Do Us Part, Beauty in the Night. The 2000s: The Millennium Express, With Caesar in the Underworld.


All through my adolescence there was very little I wanted as badly as to see a story bearing my name appear in one of the science-fiction magazines. I was not the happiest of boys—younger and for a long time smaller than most of my classmates, too bright and much too smart alecky for my own good, and—an only child—not very well equipped for the give-and-take of ordinary daily dealings with ordinary people. By no coincidence, I also was a passionate sf-f fan, a devoted reader since discovering H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine and Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea when I was ten. When I discovered the science-fiction magazines of the day—Astounding Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, Startling Stories, and the rest of that gaudy group—I began devouring them voraciously and collected all the back issues I could find.

In those days the magazines were the center of the sf world; any member of the small cult-group that called itself “fandom” who sold a story to one of the professional magazines attained an increment of instant fame and prestige that can barely be comprehended today. (Among the writers who emerged from fandom in the 1940s via those gaudy-looking magazines were such people as Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl, and Arthur C. Clarke.) If I could manage somehow to sell a story, I told myself—just one story!—it would in a single stroke free me from every aspect of teenage insecurity and admit me to the adult world of achievement and community respect. Or so I believed.

And to some degree I was right, since my debut as a professional writer coincided with my transition from awkward, uncertain, maladjusted adolescent to poised and confident adult. But it didn’t happen overnight. I began writing stories when I was barely into my teens—the first, “The Last Days of Saturn,” written in collaboration with my schoolmate (and lifelong friend) Saul Diskin, must surely be one of the worst science-fiction stories ever spawned—and went on writing and submitting them to the sf magazines all through my high-school years, without the slightest success. Eventually, of course, success did come, but there were a few ironic complications along the way.

For one thing, my first sale (barring a couple of semiprofessional things) was a novel that was to be published in hard covers. You might argue that . . .

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