‘Where Silverberg goes today, the rest of science fiction will follow tomorrow’
This month: One-Hit Wonders
The history of science fiction is marked by the presence of writers who gave us one story of such great impact that it totally overshadowed the rest of their work and turned them into one-story authors. Certain classic examples come immediately to mind: Daniel Keyes and “Flowers for Algernon,” Jerome Bixby and “It’s a Good Life,” Judith Merril and “That Only a Mother,” T.L. Sherred and “E for Effort,” Wilmar Shiras and “In Hiding,” Tom Godwin and “The Cold Equations.” Then there are the writers who visit our field only long enough to contribute just a single unforgettable story and then never write a second one: A.J. Deutsch, for instance, who wrote “A Subway Named Moebius,” T.R. Fehrenbach, author of “Remember the Alamo,” or Malcolm Edwards, whose lone story was the splendid “After-Image.” Even Cordwainer Smith was a one-hit wonder from 1950, when his astonishing debut story “Scanners Live in Vain,” was published, until the appearance of his second story, “The Game of Rat and Dragon,” in 1955. Among novelists, the same phenomenon exists: Walter M. Miller’s only novel was A Canticle for Leibowitz, George R. Stewart’s was Earth Abides, Bernard Wolfe wrote only Limbo; David Lindsay is known just for A Voyage to Arcturus, Daniel Galouye for Dark Universe, Ward Moore for Bring the Jubilee.
You can read the rest of the column here, and find Robert Silverberg’s eBooks here – including Reflections and Refractions, a collection of his non-fiction columns. Please note: each column will remain on the site for one month only.