Review: Nightwings by Robert Silverberg

Nightwings by Robert Silverberg

Now that I have a Kindle, I find myself easily swayed by those $1.99 ebook promotions. Amazon is smart with those impulse buys! Earlier this month, I impulsively Nightwings by Robert Silverberg, which won a Hugo Award in 1969 for best novella.  The e-book from Open Road Media has an illustrated biography Silverberg along with photos. He’s a very prolific writer with multiple Hugo awards, but he’s new to me. Originally written as 3 novellas for magazine publication, this version combines all three parts into a short novel.

Nightwings opens up into a future Earth, thousands and thousands of years in the future–the Third Cycle of the human race. During the Second Cycle, the technology grew exponentially and humans made contacts with other beings. Like any good science fiction novel, the humans got cocky with their god-like power over the world, thus causing their downfall. Roum (formerly Rome) lay in ruins, with a mix of old relics such as skycrapers and new buildings. A mix of old and new like the Rome we know now.

In this future, the Watcher is part of a guild who uses a combination of old (Second Cycle) technology to “look” into deep space. He one of thousands who are looking out for an alien race who has put a claim on Earth since the Second Cycle, when humans mistreated some of their people. The planet is on the brink of invasion, but no one is truly ready. They’ve been on alert for so long, they believe the warning is just a fairy tale. The Watcher, along with his fellow travelers a Flier girl and a guildless Changeling, try to find their new roles on a changing planet.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a science fiction novel that drew me in like this one. My brain can’t always soak in enough of detailed world building, especially when it’s so different than the ground I walk upon. Nightwings was different because Silverberg drew up on familiar places and relics (albeit with a bastardized name, as would be expected since language evolves) like Roum and Jorslem (Jerusalem).  After all, I was still on Earth, just Silverberg’s future version of it.

Even though Robert Silverberg’s writing is new to me, reading Nightwings felt like cuddling up with a familiar friend. I do love classic science fiction and will definitely read more of Silverberg’s works.

What are you reading this weekend?

What’s On Your Nightstand: Nomi Eve

What's On Your Nightstand-From Left to Write

I love reading historical fiction, and Nomi Eve’s newest book Henna House is in my current to-be-read stack. Of course I had to ask her to share what books are on her nightstand. Not only did she send a terrific list, she even sent a photo of her adorable dogs!

Nomi Eve headshot

As you can see from the photo, my stack of books isn’t on a nightstand, but in our front hall, keeping company with our dogs.  Usually the stack of books lives upstairs by my bed, but the dogs are big readers, so I thought they should get into the shot.

Nomi Eve's dog and books

My nightstand holds a real mix.

There’s George Eliot’s Middlemarch, which I have been avoiding re-reading for two years now.  I loved this book twenty years ago and decided to re-read it, but can never quite get through the first few chapters.

Next up is a The Yemenite Cookbook, which I am reading in order to find recipes that match the foods I mention in my novel, Henna House.  I am going to be doing some food-themed events and want to be able to supply recipes to book clubs.

The next book is John Searles’ Help For the Haunted which I recently read.  If you haven’t read this one yet, pick it up.  It is beguiling, creepy, and beautifully written.

Then I have a couple of my old favorites that I dip into every now and then for inspiration.  There’s Three Junes by Julia Glass and Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier and The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon.  I also have Lord of the Flies in my stack.  I recently re-read this, and then recommended it to my 14 year old son who thought it was just terrible, but he couldn’t put it down, so how terrible is that?

Last but not least I have a book called Decoding Darkness by scientist Rudi Tanzi.  My husband is an Alzheimer’s researcher and he used to work in Dr. Tanzi’s lab.  I’ve never really understood what the heck my husband does, so I read Tanzi’s book in an effort not to feel quite so stupid at parties when there are lots of scientists around.

Thanks for sharing your list Nomi. I’m glad to see I’m not the only person who’s reading multiple books at a time.

Nomi Eve is the author of Henna House and The Family Orchard, which was a Book-of-the-Month Club main selection and was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award. She has an MFA in fiction writing from Brown University and has worked as a freelance book reviewer for The Village Voice and New York Newsday.

Her stories have appeared in Glimmer Train StoriesThe Voice Literary Supplement,Conjunctions, and The International Quarterly. She lives in Philadelphia with her family.

Visit Nomi’s site to learn more about her 100 Book Club Challenge. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Book Club Discussion: The Underground Girls of Kabul

The Underground Girls of Kabul From Left toWrite Book Club

Our book club has been abuzz for the past couple of weeks as we read our advance copies of  The Underground Girls of Kabul by investigative journalist Jenny Nordberg. Today, on the book’s release date, we can finally share our discussion of this thought provoking look into a well-known secret practice in Afghanistan: families with no sons […]

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10 Gifts For Book Lovers That Are Not Books

10 Gifts For Book Lovers That Are Not Books

My birthday is less than a month away, so I’ve been making a wish list of bookish things (hint to hubby). Want to surprise the book nerd in your life? Wrap up one of these gifts for book lovers that are not books. After all, we do more than read. Sometimes. They’ll shower you with hugs […]

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Giveaway: Ark Storm by Linda Davies

Ark Storm by Linda Davies

Why not celebrate the weekend a day early with a giveaway? The folks at Tor have offered a copy of their new thriller Ark Storm by Linda Davies to one lucky From Left to Write reader. My husband and I have a fondness for disaster movies (but not Sharknado), and I personally enjoy reading thrillers […]

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What’s On Your Nightstand: Lauren Willig

Lauren Willig headshot

When I met Lauren Willig this summer at Blogger Bash NYC this summer, she was being mobbed by women eager to read her books. I’d never read any of her books before meeting her, but she’s quite the prolific writer of historical fiction novels with a dash of romance. She gave me a copy her […]

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