Robert Silverberg’s Reflections: March 2016



‘Where Silverberg goes today, the rest of science fiction will follow tomorrow’

Isaac Asimov


Reflections is a regular column by multi-award-winning SFWA Grandmaster Robert Silverberg, in which he will offer his thoughts on science fiction, literature and the world at large.

This month: ‘Writing Under the Influence’

“Nothing comes from nothing,” said the Greek philosopher Parmenides, 2500 years ago. He meant that everything in the Universe has an antecedent in some pre-existing form, be it the Moon, Mount Olympus, or the merest snowflake: things did not simply appear out of nowhere. The Roman poet Lucretius said it again five centuries later: “Nothing from nothing ever yet was born.” King Lear agreed: annoyed that his daughter Cordelia can’t express her love for him in words, he angrily retorts, “Nothing will come of nothing,” and thereby starts a great deal of trouble for everybody.

What is true for mountains and snowflakes is true for novels and short stories, too: no work of fiction ever sprang into being without some predecessor to inspire it . . .


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.