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In the Beginning: Tales from the Pulp Era

Tales from the Pulp Era: Book 1

Robert Silverberg

The SF Grandmaster's follow up to the career retrospective Phases of the Moon is a glance back to the earliest days of his career. Included with pulp stories not reprinted in decades will be more of the commentary that made Phases so much more than just a collection.

"I have to confess, right up front here, that you will not find a great deal in the way of poetic vision in these stories, or singing prose, or deep insight into character. Nor are these stories that will tell you much that is new to you about the human condition. These are stories in what is now pretty much a lost tradition in science fiction, the simple and unselfconsciously fast-paced adventure story of the pulp-magazine era. They are stories from the dawn of my career, which began in the closing years of that era, and are straightforward tales of action, in the main, that were written partly for fun and partly for money."

--Robert Silverberg, from the Introduction.

Table of Contents:

  • Yokel with Portfolio (1955)
  • Long Live the Kejwa (1956)
  • Guardian of the Crystal Gate (1956)
  • Choke Chain (1956)
  • Citadel of Darkness (1957)
  • Cosmic Kill (1957)
  • New Year's Eve--2000 A.D. (1957)
  • The Android Kill (1957)
  • The Hunters of Cutwold (1957)
  • Come into My Brain (1958)
  • Castaways of Space (1958)
  • Exiled from Earth (1958)
  • Second Start (1959)
  • Mournful Montster (1959)
  • Vampires from Outer Space (1959)
  • The Insidious Invaders (1959)

Early Days: More Tales from the Pulp Era

Tales from the Pulp Era: Book 2

Robert Silverberg

In 2006, Robert Silverberg published In the Beginning, a generous selection of stories from the early, developmental stages of his distinguished sixty-year career. Fast-paced, energetic, and unabashedly pulp-like in their origins and ambitions, those stories proved to be an unexpected gift to Silverberg's many readers. That gift continues with Early Days, a second volume of apprentice fiction as wide-ranging and enjoyable as the first.

Early Days collects seventeen impossible to find stories from the years 1956 to 1958, supplemented by a fascinating introduction and extensive notes on the creation and publication history of each story. Together, these non-fiction pieces constitute both an episodic memoir and an affectionate history of an era when pulp magazines still dominated the SF marketplace.

Without exception each of the stories in Early Days offers honest, unpretentious entertainment. The astonishingly prolific Silverberg may have had a bit to learn back then, but he had an innate understanding of narrative that shines through every one of these tales. The stories range in tone from the grimly dystopian future of "The Inquisitor" to the playful "Space is the Place," in which a maintenance technician from Crawford IX experiences comic culture shock during a mandatory vacation on Earth. "Rescue Mission" revolves around the telepathic connection between two interplanetary intelligence agents. "Housemaid No. 103" provides a humorous glimpse into the romantic difficulties of a far future matinee idol. "Hardwood's Vortex" combines a mad scientist, alien invaders, and the possible end of life as we know it into a single colorful narrative.

Silverberg, of course, would evolve into one of the genuine masters of the genre, and this retrospective collection of early work offers invaluable insights into his development. Silverberg himself calls Early Days "an affectionate tribute to my hardworking self of more than half a century ago." It is all of that and more. Anyone with an interest in Silverberg's career, or in the history and evolution of modern science fiction, needs to read this book. They may not write 'em like this anymore, but once upon a time they did. And looking back has never been so much fun.


  • Introduction by Robert Silverberg
  • The Inquisitor - (1956)
  • The Ultimate Weapon - (1957)
  • Harwood's Vortex - (1957)
  • Quick Freeze - (1957)
  • Six Frightened Men - (1957)
  • Puppets Without Strings (variant of Call Me Zombie! 1957)
  • A Time for Revenge - (1957)
  • Housemaid No. 103 - (1957)
  • Rescue Mission - (1957)
  • Planet of Parasites - (1958)
  • Slaves of the Tree - (1958)
  • Frontier Planet - (1958)
  • The Aliens Were Haters - (1958)
  • The Traders - (1958) (variant of The Unique and Terrible Compulsion)
  • Waters of Forgetfulness - (1959)
  • You Do Something to Me - (1959)
  • There's No Place Like Space! - (1959)