Robert Silverberg Collection

Identity elements

Reference code

TxAM-CRS C000231

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Robert Silverberg Collection



17 boxes

Name of creator


Biographical history

Silverberg is one of the 20th-century's most well-known and important American writers and editors of science fiction. His writing career started in the mid-1950s, with short stories to science fiction magazines. For a period, he concentrated on children’s books, the returned to writing science fiction.

Robert Silverberg was born on January 15, 1935, in Brooklyn, New York. Silverberg attended Columbia University and graduated with a BA in English in 1956. During his time at college he wrote and published the juvenile science fiction novel Revolt on Alpha C (1955), it was to be the first of his long and storied career. Following his graduation from Columbia, Silverberg began writing over the next few years hundreds of science fiction stories, many of which he wrote under a variety of pseudonyms.

By the end of the 1950s, many science fiction magazines, which had been the mainstay of published output for the genre, went out of business, obliging Silverberg to turn to new kinds of writing such as popular science and other nonfiction. At the same time, he continued to write a number of well-regarded and popular science fiction novels. In the 1960s Silverberg averaged nearly 2 million words per year, marking him as one of the most prolific science fiction writers of the age. However, this punishing pace was slowed near the end of the decade by both a hyperactive thyroid gland and a house fire, both of which took a toll on Silverberg.

This slowdown resulted, however, in a more polished and experimental phase in Silverberg's writing. Science Fiction scholar Thomas Clareson notes that from 1969 to 1976 Silverberg "conducted his most deliberate experiments and attained the most command of his material." Barry Malzburg wrote that "in or around 1965 Silverberg put his toys away and began to write literature." Perhaps the most important work of this period was the 1967 novel Thorns, which was nominated for a Nebula Award in 1967 and a Hugo Award in 1968. Other significant novels by Silverberg wrote at this time include The Masks of Time (1968), Nightwings (1969), Tower of Glass (1970), Downward to The Earth (1970), and Son of Man(1971).

In 1972 Silverberg moved from New York to California. Ongoing poor sales for his newer, bolder, and more experimental work caused him to announce his retirement from science fiction in 1975. However, in 1980 he returned to the genre with the publication of Lord Valentine's Castle, a mixture of science fiction and more traditional heroic fantasy that was the first of his famous Majipoor cycle of novels and stories. Majipoor is a planet much larger than Earth, populated by a rich diversity of alien cultures. The success of Lord Valentine's Castle relaunched Silverberg's literary career, and he has gone on to write a number of well-received works, including Sailing to Byzantium (1984), To the Land of The Living (1990), and Kingdoms of the Wall (1993), among many others. He has also continued to write numerous short stories as well as edit and co-edit a number of anthologies, all of which have contributed to Silverberg's reputation as one of the most significant writers in the genre of the last decades.

Silverberg has won a number of awards in the course of his career, including multiple Hugos and Nebulas, as well as numerous nominations for these and other awards. He was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 1999 and was made a Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2005. He has been married twice, once to Barbara Brown (1956-1986) and to Karen Haber (1987-present). He currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Scope and content

This collection consists of numerous manuscripts and related materials - including outlines, notes, and proofs - of works by noted science fiction author Robert Silverberg.

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These materials are stored offsite and require additional time for retrieval.

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Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

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  • English

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Bib #: 2932351

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Archivist's note

© Copyright 2019 Cushing Library. All rights reserved.

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