World – Silverberg

Silverberg (World 24)

Robert Silverberg (1935 – ; first SF publication, 1954) has written many stories, including Nightwings (in which a Watcher seeks redemption after failing to watch at the moment of invasion) and The Gate of Worlds (an alternate history in which the Black Plague kills three-quarters of Europe, postponing the Industrial Revolution and leaving all the Renaissance-era accomplishments, explorations and conquests to the Russians, Japanese, Turks, Aztecs, Incas, Africans … everyone else. Shakespeare, for example, lives in this alternate world, but sets his plays in the Ottoman Empire rather than Britain).

However, Silverberg is best known for his tales of Majipoor, a planet much larger than Earth but with about the same gravity, because it has very little metal in its crust (and thus very little available for industry). Majipoor has a native intelligent race, but also more than half-a-dozen others that have settled on it over the millennia. Beginning with Lord Valentine’s Castle, Silverberg fascinates us with the intricate dance that is necessary to keep society on an even keel, while unscrolling grand adventures across the massive face of Majipoor.


Deep within the Castle Mount, the home of the Coronal (one of the shared rulers of Majipoor), is the Register of Souls. And here are the dream-speakers, as well — consoles that allow a user to experience the record of any previous lifetime that has come to pass on Majipoor.


 The Worlds of “What If …?”
 Shelley (61)  Piper (21)  Cherryh (41)
 Verne (62)  Norton (22)  Gibson (42)
 Wells (63)  Dick (23)  Clayton (43)
 Williamson (64)  Silverberg (24)  Card (44)
 de Camp (65)  Biggle (25)  Hogan (45)
 Laumer (66)  Wilhelm (26)  Longyear (46)
 Bradbury (11)  Le Guin (31)  Brin (51)
 Heinlein (12)  Niven (32)  McDevitt (52)
 Pohl (13)  Killough (33)  Moon (53)
 Knight (14)  Foster (34)  Bujold (54)
 Schmitz (15)  Pinkwater (35)  Roberts (55)
 Anderson (16)  Robinson (36)  Asaro (56)