Flies: A Brief Remembrance of Better Days
This'll be a short one, just to keep the blog active. I don't want another 5 years to go by before I post again. I'm serious about building an audience.
Just some random thoughts to share.
I was going through my old,dusty books today and I came across my old dog-eared Del Rey paperback of The Best of Robert Silverberg. In my younger days, when life was better, simpler, girls actually noticed me and I could actually eat like a normal human being without pain, I was a huge fan of the old master. Whenever we science fiction geeks got together in high school, a name we all revered was Silverberg. And going through that old book made me remember why.
Silverberg was one of the guys aspiring science fiction writers always wanted to emulate, like aspiring rock guitarists of a previous generation always pretended to be Eric Clapton.
Someone asked me once what my favorite Silverberg moment was. I honestly couldn't answer him. Not because there weren't any, but because there were so many. Whenever we want to convince someone who's been trained on Joyce, Steinbeck and the stories in The New Yorker , we almost inevitably hand the unsuspecting skeptic one of the 2 people to begin with: the late great Ray Bradbury or Silverberg.
And dammit, if Silverberg doesn't make the case for us far better than any half-assed lecture or essay would.
"Nightflyers" "Passengers" "This is The Road", The Masks of Time, "After the Myths Went Home",
"Hawksbill Station", "At The End of Days", "Sailing to Byzantium" "The Silent Invaders", Up The Line, Son of Man, Star Of Gypsies - you literally get out of breath trying to all the great stories the man's written. And as incredible as it sounds-at least, as incredible as it was for me to discover- the man's still writing at the tender age of 79.
But with the wages of wisdom that are my salt and pepper temples-which occurred far younger than they should have in the course of nature-I think I now have an answer to that long-ago query, I know the answer because I reread it today and it slammed me in the head just as hard as it did when I first read it nearly 2 decades ago. It still raised goosebumps on my skin like it did when I was 14.
"Flies" is one of Silverberg's older works, from the period a lot of older fans consider his peak years. It was Silverberg's contribution to Harlan Ellison's legendary Dangerous Visions. And it richly deserved to be in that tome. Hell, if Silverberg had scrawled it on the back of a napkin while he was getting laid in the bathroom of a bar, any editor that had seen it and tossed it aside should not only have been fired, he (definitely he, this was 1967, remember?) should have been blackballed so hard, the dandruff fell out of his scalp.
I thought about giving a full review dissecting the work here. I was even eager to do it. But you know what?
The words simply eluded me.
The story is so incredibly charged, lush and existential in tone, that any words I used would just dilute it's impact.
That and I'm too damn tired right now....................lol
I'll simply say this- please go and read the story. It's been republished half a dozen times since DV. It'll be very easy to find. Invest 20 minutes of your life and read it slowly. I know people don't read anymore. As shameful as that is.
But please read this. You'll be glad you did. Trust me.
Until next time, my friends.