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Hunt the Space-Witch! (Trade Paperback)

***½( ) (based on 3 ratings)

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By Robert Silverberg with a new introduction by the author

Science-fiction legend Robert Silverberg reflects on some of his earliest, least-reprinted tales in this new Planet Stories collection! Between 1956 and 1958, Silverberg contributed dozens of short stories and novellas to the digest pulps, each written in the bombastic, high-adventure style of the original Planet Stories magazine. Since then, those tales have re-appeared only rarely (and sometimes never again) in long out-of-print paperback anthologies. This volume, the first of three to come this year, features seven hard-to-find classic Silverberg novellas:

  • Slaves of the Star Giants
  • Spawn of the Deadly Sea
  • The Flame and the Hammer
  • Valley Beyond Time
  • Hunt the Space-Witch!
  • The Silent Invaders
  • Spacerogue

Never before collected in a single edition, these stories reveal the early action-packed tales of one of speculative fiction's most important voices!

272-page softcover trade paperback ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-329-3

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Product Reviews (3)

Average product rating:

***½( ) (based on 3 ratings)

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Very early Silverberg

****( )

First of all, this book is 250+ pages, not 400, so we have 7 30-odd page short stories here dating from the 1950's, some of Silverberg's first published stuff, written as blood n guts space opera with giant scientists, evil alien toad-men, chilling murderous cults, and more. Largely they are adventure tales in a sci-fi setting, with a more or less heroic protagonist.

A lot of the worlds depicted here seem to hint at those later developed in Silverberg's magnum opus Majipoor cycle - kind of providing a lot of the backdrop of the alien universe which only just touches the backward little world of Majipoor. Certainly there are echoes of this early stuff in Lord Valentine's Castle, and that’s a good thing.

There is also a little depth to the stories you don’t always see at first. "The Silent Invaders" is about warring aliens putting aside their differences to help a new "super" generation of humanity evolve - there is only a line or two, like "normal humans are the real enemy" or some such, to hint that perhaps all is not as it seems, and at the end of the story you wonder to what extent the protagonists actions are really his own, and to what extent he has been mentally influenced - controlled, even - by his new charges.

Add in a little introduction by the author about the writing of these stories, and all up there is a fun little book here just waiting to be read.

An enjoyable selection of Early Silverberg

****( )

This is the type of writing I subscribed to Planet Stories for. We have seven stories published in pulp mags in the late 1950s. Several of these are available (although possibly abridged) in the 1972 Dell Paperback Valley Beyond Time. All seven are typical space opera/odyssey with different general plots. I definitely enjoyed the ending of Spacerogue. Several stories were hampered (hence the 4 instead of 5 stars) by the typical problem of short stories that you build up, get development and then quickly finish the story.

A Pleasant Trip Down Memory Lane

***( )( )

This book is for people who think fondly back on old style science fiction. If you're looking for complex plots and modern themes, this is not for you.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a fun, easy read, then this likely is for you. I spent this past Sunday evening with this book, and I certainly don't regret it, any more than I regret re-reading the Martian Tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs every few years.

One great thing about this book is that the stories are short. Given their age, they would be a bit harder to take in larger doses - I had trouble getting into Slan for that reason. These stories are all about 30-35 pages apiece and that feels like the perfect length.

Think of them as the Saturday morning cartoons of SF :) Gift Certificates
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