Robert Silverberg’s Reflections: April 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: ‘Thinking About Homer’

Homer? Homer? Why write about Homer in a science fiction magazine? The Iliad isn’t SF. It’s a gory tale of Bronze Age warfare. (Surprisingly gory. The battle scenes, with Homer describing where the spear goes in, which organs it encounters on the way through, and what happens to the spearee when Achilles has finished spearing him, make Game of Thrones seem as tame as Alice in Wonderland.) A case can be made that The Odyssey, full of monsters and sorceresses, is fantasy fiction of a sort. Even so, why talk about those two mighty poems here?

Because I’ve just been reading a brilliant book called Why Homer Matters, by Adam Nicolson, that opens a line of speculative thought not only about Homer and his great epics but about the history of Bronze Age Europe, a revisionist view of early European civilization that stirs in me the sort of fantasy-keyed thinking that tales of Atlantis do, or Robert E. Howard’s sagas of the Hyborean Age . . .


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.