Face of the Waters – Robert Silverberg

Robert Silverberg is an excellent writer, so it is hardly surprising that I enjoyed his book The Face of the Waters. Taking cues from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and the Odyssey, Silverberg tells the story of a community of humans living on an inhospitable ocean planet, who must search for a new home after they are exiled from their island by their alien hosts. He excels in inventing weird and wonderful spectacles for his characters gasp at and be threatened by, such as seaweed disguised as nets that attack sailors and giant floating amoebas. Silverberg handles characterisation well, his characters including a doctor who is persuaded out of celibacy, a megalomaniac businessman and a cynical priest. The point of this review is that if you are given an opportunity to read this book, you should take it.

Fun fact: I own a few Robert Silverberg books. Including this one, they are Lord PrestimonAt Winter’s EndThe Queen of SpringtimeMajipoor ChroniclesThe World InsideSon of Man, and A Time of Changes. That’s eight books. I pick most of these up at op-shops, although I found the Majipoor one at a school fete. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Robert Silverberg is a popular author in my part of the world. He certainly should be, he’s good enough.

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