Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Petri Salin on Silverberg

A friend of mine, Petri Salin, well known for his short stories in the science fiction fandom here in Finland, wrote this to me in e-mail about Silverberg:

Olen hiukan eri mieltä Silverbergin rikosnovellien tasosta. Minusta ne ovat hämmästyttävän päteviä. Ja mitä tulee siihen että oikeastaan niissä (ainakin kolmessa) on ihan sama tarina on vain osoitus siitä ammattitaidosta jolla Silverberg operoi. Vaikka kuvio on sama niin jokainen novelli on omaperäinen ja toimii erittäin hyvin omilla ehdoillaan. Juuri se teki minuun vaikutuksen - se on ammattilaisen merkki jos mikä.

I'll try to translate:

I beg to differ about the quality of Silverberg's crime stories. I thought they were astonishingly competent. And as for the fact that they (at least in three of them) have basically the same story over and over, it is only the indication of the craftsmanship with which Silverberg works. Even though the pattern is the same in each story, every story is also original and works very well in its own conditions. That's what impressed me most - that's the sign of a true professional.

Well said and thanks, Petri! The Silverberg book received only two reviews that I know of - one negative (actually very negative), one so-so, but more enthusiastic and knowledgeable than the other one. Maybe there would be enough demand for a collection in English, too. I'm sure there would be enough buyers - this could be something for a published like Bleak House Books or Busted Flush Press.


Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

I've read much of Silverberg's SF and some of his nonfiction, but I had no idea he'd ever written crime stories. I'd read this book if it were to get published over here.

Ed Gorman said...

I want to note that the Silverberg-Garrett collection got at least two very strong, positive reviews that I know of. Bill Crider wrote one and I wrote the other. I wouldn't compare it to his finest work such as Dying Inside or The Second Trip but I will say that the stories are very solid, enjoyable pulp stories from the Fifties. My favorite uses a robot gunslinger that Michael Crichton would make the centerpiece of Westworld. There's also one called "The Mummy Takes" A Wife" that is a flat out hoot, riffing on and referring to numerous horror tropes. Bob Silverberg was a better writer at age twenty than many are thirty years into their careers. And the lengthy introduction, in which Silverberg discusses his early career, shows just how serious he was about his craft from the git-go. Thanks, Juri.

Juri said...

Ed: this was about the small collection of Silverberg's crime stories that I published here in Finland in Finnish, not about his collaboration with Garrett, and earlier on I linked to your and Bill's reviews about A LITTLE INTELLIGENCE. I'm still thinking that one could compile a pretty good collection of hardboiled crime stories by Silverberg from Guilty and Trapped and such magazines of the late fifties and early sixties.