16 de outubro de 2013

Robert Silverberg: (...) science fiction is a category of commercial publishing, and the boundaries began to push back at me (entrevista)

Já restam entre nós poucos autores de ficção científica que ainda viveram a época em que o género, antes de se alargar para vôos mais altos em formato de romance e ganhar outras aspirações literárias, vivia de forma enérgica nas revistas da especialidade, as célebres pulps. Robert Silverberg é um deles - viveu a Golden Age, a New Wave e o que se seguiu, e manteve uma presença constante e destacada no género. Foi publicado pela primeira vez em 1956, quando ainda era estudante, com o romance Revolt on Alpha C, destinado para um público young adult; e a partir daí publicou inúmeros contos e romances, em fantasia e ficção científica. Venceu por várias vezes os prémios Hugo e Nébula, e na sua prolífica carreira literária ainda arranjou tempo para se notabilizar também como antologista - na viragem do milénio, os ambiciosos projectos Far Horizons e Legends são duas montras fabulosas de alguns dos melhores autores contemporâneos da ficção científica e da fantasia.

Numa excelente entrevista a R. K. Throughton para o blogue da Amazing Stories, o criador do universo de Majipoor e autor de romances como A Time of Changes e The Book of Skulls fala sobre o seu percurso literário desde os anos 50, a sua obra, as suas inspirações e ambições. Dois excertos:
Amazing Stories Magazine: You tasted your first success writing science fiction when the pulps were in full swing. (...) The volume of your output during that time was simply amazing. Please give us a taste of what life was like in those chaotic pulp days and share with us how you traversed from a college student into one of the most widely published science fiction authors of the day.
Robert Silverberg: I was still an undergraduate when I began hitting my stride as a high-volume producer of pulp stories. By the summer of 1955, between my junior and senior years, I was selling stories every few days, and that continued all through my senior year and onward into my post-collegiate life. In achieving this I had great help from Randall Garrett, a writer six or seven years older than I was who moved into the building where I was living near Columbia. Garrett had sold some first-rate stories to most of the magazines of the period, but he was hampered by alcoholism and a lack of writerly discipline. Seeing in me a potential collaborator who would keep him hard at work, he took me downtown and introduced me to the major editors of the day — John Campbell of ASTOUNDING, Howard Browne of AMAZING, Bob Lowndes of the Columbia group of magazines, etc. At first in collaboration with Garrett, and then on my own, I became a valued contributor to the magazines these men edited, and to many others, too and, by the time I was 21, I was selling everything I wrote as fast as I could write it. (And that was plenty fast.) It was a wild, exciting time. I married my college girlfriend a couple of months after graduation in 1956, I moved into a lovely apartment on one of Manhattan’s best residential streets, and in the summer of 1957 I paid my way over to England to attend the first European Worldcon (with a side trip for us to Paris.) Before I quite understood what was happening I was living all of my adolescent fantasies—and I guess I have continued to live them ever since.
ASM: After your assault on the awards’ lists in the late 60s and early 70s, you took some time off from writing. When you returned to writing, you introduced the world and all of your salivating readers to Lord Valentine’s Castle and the world of Majipoor. As we turned every page in anticipation, you exposed us to yet another facet of this jewel known as Robert Silverberg. How would you characterize this third act of your career, and how had you changed as a writer? 
RS: In the early 1970s I had, like many other science-fiction writers, gone in for some degree of literary experimentation, pushing the boundaries of the field as far as I could. But science fiction is a category of commercial publishing, and the boundaries began to push back at me—the readers made it clear that they wanted more emphasis on storytelling than on experimentation. So I took a few years off to regroup and when I returned it was with a renewed emphasis on storytelling, notably in LORD VALENTINE’S CASTLE.
A entrevista completa, bem mais longa e detalhada, pode (e deve) ser lida aqui.

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