Nightwings
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Nightwings

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  1,026 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Only at night, on the winds of darkness, can she soar. And it was Avluela the Flier's ebony and scarlet wings that led the Watcher to the seven hills of the ancient city from which, in a moment of weakness, the watcher failed his vigil, leaving the skies and deep space unguarded. The invaders came and conquered. With Avluela lost in the turmoil of the conquest, the Watcher...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by iBooks (first published January 1st 1969)
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The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le GuinNightwings by Robert SilverbergEnemy Mine by Barry B. LongyearThe Emperor's Soul by Brandon SandersonEquoid by Charles Stross
Hugo Award Winners: Best Novella
2nd out of 44 books — 2 voters
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Golden Compass by Philip PullmanA Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingMistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Best Fantasy: Unique Worlds
359th out of 374 books — 294 voters


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Community Reviews

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Apatt
This review is for the novel version of Nightwings, which is comprised of three tightly linked novellas.

Robert Silverberg is possibly the most underrated sf writers of all time considering how long he has been at it and the numerous awards he has won and been nominated for. For some reason he just does not seem to be "in vogue" these days. It is a pity that most of the younger generation of sf readers today have never read anything by him.

What Silverberg does better than almost any sf authors w...more
Terry
A short and elegaic SF novel in the 'dying earth' tradition that follows the wanderings of a member of the Watcher's Guild as he looks to the stars in anticipation of a foretold alien invasion of Earth. His companions include a beautiful young 'Flyer' (the "Nightwings" of the title) and an enigmatic Changeling.

As the story unfolds we see great changes come over both the main character and the earth itself. I enjoyed this story for the tone it conveyed as well as the world & characters that w...more
Nate D
Another impulse $2 street-vendor paperback from the 60s. I would probably not be all that likely to read this if someone actually tried to pitch it to me (in the post-utopian post-post-apocolyptic future, the remainder of human civilization has reformed into a quasi-medieval guild system intermixed with interstellar visitors/invaders, mutants, etc, and our protagonist must move, with earth, through a series of stages towards a sort of redemption). But found at random with a vaguely surreal cover...more
Ali Çetinbudaklar
4,5/5

Stanbool'u(İstanbul) nasıl sevmez ya çok yadırgadım buçuk puanı ordan kırdım :).

Her defasında yineliyorum ama Silverbeg'un aşmış bir romanı, Dying Inside ile başlamam Silverberg'u kendi gözümde kadim seviyelere yükseltti. Daha sonradan çok da kadim seviyelerde yazılmamış olan Uzaylı İstilacılar romanını okusam da hala benim için yeri apayrıydı. Gece Kanatları ile yine o bendeki seviyesinin sınırlarını zorladı.

Roman bende Zelazny'nin herşeyiyle müthiş 5 üzerinden 6'lık Lord of Light ve Plane...more
Clark Hallman
Nightwings is another great Robert Silverberg science fiction novel. This edition contains an introduction written by Silverberg in 2002, which provides a very interesting discussion of how he came to write the three novellas that make up Nightwings and what his life was like when he was writing them. His friend, Frederick Pohl, was editor of Galaxy, the leading science fiction magazine at the time, paid Silverberg $500 each to publish them. The first novella, Nightwings, was published in the Se...more
Simon
At first I found that I wasn't particularly engaged by the story but I was expecting science fiction when in fact this is more science fantasy in the Dying Earth tradition. Indeed, it works much more as a fantasy novel than SF and once I had made the mental adjustment to the right mode, I began to enjoy it much more.

The human race has gone well past its peak and is now in the third age in which much of the technological marvels that it attained in the previous age have been forgotten and what is...more
Michael Alexander
Silverberg at his best has a real elegiac quality to his prose, but still keeps it simple enough to cut through your defenses. This isn't his absolute best, but it's some of his prime material.

A simple, eloquent piece of Dying Earth writing, with plenty of atmosphere and what slowly turns out to be a pretty interesting retelling of the fall of Rome and the rise of Christianity. No Book of the New Sun here, for sure, but I just love the tone. The breathtaking description of the Fliers, the Watche...more
Brian
Nightwings isn't really a science fiction book, for all that it takes place in the far future. I actually think a lot of it would work better as straight fantasy, but that would get rid of all the obvious time-changed place names like Jorslem and Roum and Eyrop and prevent as many illusions to real history. One of the other reviews casts it as a retelling of the fall of Rome and the spread of Christianity, which does make a lot of sense.

A lot of the interest I had in the book came out of the se...more
Sandy
Originally appearing as three separate but linked novellas in the pages of "Galaxy" magazine, Robert Silverberg's "Nightwings" was, remarkably, the author's 35th science fiction novel in 15 years; just one of six that he came out with in 1969 alone (the others being "Across a Billion Years," the remarkable "Downward to the Earth," "Three Survived," "To Live Again" and "Up the Line"). Released during one of Silverberg's most prolific and highly creative phases, during which he pushed back the par...more
Troy
Ah - I read this book at 13 and created a stained glass window from the inspiration!
Althea Ann
Have you ever noticed the weird psychological effect where, if you're reading a new edition of a work, it just doesn't "feel" old (but if you're reading an old paperback with yellowed pages and a half-naked chick on the cover, it will undoubtedly feel dated?) Well, this copy of 'Nightwings,' which was written in 1968, does, admittedly, have the unclad female (tho' such a pretty, tasteful one!), but it's all new and shiny, and I didn't feel the story seemed dated at all. Interesting.
Anyway.
Silver...more
Marc Goldstein
An old watcher, a female flier, and a changeling travel to Roam. Set on earth thousands of years in the future. The planet and its people are exhausted. The watcher searches the skies for an alien invasion he believes will never come. In exchange for shelter in Roam, the flier agrees to sleep with the prince. One day he sees the invasion fleet. He sounds the alarm and watches helplessly as the alien fleet conquers the earth. During the brief battle, he is separated from the flier. The changeling...more
Jessica Lynn
Oddly enough I read this in my British Lit class in high school. I was absent one day and came back to find we had started a sci-fi book. Needless to say the class was a bit off track. Luckily I ended up really enjoying it and actually finished it way before everyone else.

Nightwings was a wonderful story about the fall of humankind and the wanderings of an old man. the story takes place in the future of only a shadow of the past world. Great cities are no longer what they used to be and even t...more
Dinofly
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Donna
It's been many years since I've read any Robert Silverberg and I am reminded how much I liked him back in the day. This is a set of three novellas telling of a far future earth in which mankind has risen to immense heights and fallen just as far. The story is narrated by a Watcher, one of the guild that is tasked with watching the stars for signs of an alien invasion. It's a seemingly meaningless task as thousands of years have passed with no sign of the invasion--until suddenly it occurs.

In th...more
M. Tatari
Gece Kanatları, Silverberg'den okuduğum ilk kitaptı ve eğer diğerleri de bu kadar iyiyse tüm eserlerini bir çırpıda okumak istiyorum!

Bildiğimiz dünyanın çok ileri bir tarihinde insanlığın İzleyiciler, Egemenler, Koruyucular, Anımsayıcılar vb. loncalara ayrıldığı, dinlerin ve şehirlerin zamanla isim değişikliğine uğradığı (örneğin Hristanlar, Yahdiler ve Perris, Roum, Stanbool) bir yerde geçiyor Gece Kanatları. Hikayemizin baş kahramanı yaşlı bir İzleyici. Onun gözünden dünyanın yeni halini, işga...more
Albert Myburgh
I feel as if I have done this book an injustice by reading it in too many sessions with too many interruptions in between. It should be read in only a few sessions at most. There is a brooding rhythm to the writing, lyrical in a strange alien way, as alien as the post-apocalyptic world it has as its setting. That in itself makes it a masterful piece of writing. After reading this, along with 'Book of Skulls' and 'Dying Inside' I will definitely attempt to get hold of and read everything Robert S...more
Chris
I read this the first time in college, when I was a lonely freshman. I found it in a student run library in our giant dorm complex, and it was perhaps the first book I read from beginning to end in one sitting. Thank goodness this library was open 24 hours day. I left the library crusty-eyed and foggy-brained, but deeply moved. Another ten years or more passed before I decided to read it again. It is difficult to revisit things once loved, as they may no longer hold the magic they once had. Ende...more
Rob McFarren
Good read. Enjoyable, classic science fiction. A world and characters that bring the story alive, or is it the other way around?
William Korn
One of the very best short novels from one of the very best SF writers of the 20th century. Nightwings is a lyrical exposition of how pride leads to a fall and how falling can lead to redemption. This is not an especially unusual theme, but the setting - far in humanity's future - is beautifully constructed from the point of view of one of the fallen. The characterizations of the people of the Third Age are equally beautiful, and remarkably deep for such a short book. Over the years I have read...more
Joe Santoro
Wow, this was a great book! It starts out a a pretty typical post-apocalypse story, but it goes way further. We get some real prophetic bits on the downfall of man... great interaction with alien races.. all very believable. The main character is very interesting, humble yet not too mopey, and the people he meets along the way are all interesting tropes that shine a light on a particular trait in humanity that the author wants to explore.

My only complaint is I'd love a sequel to see what happens...more
Diane
This is one of my favorite books. It tells the story of sin and redemption - not only of one lonely wanderer, but all of fallen mankind.

On a future earth, an aging Watcher scans the heavens four times a day, looking for signs of a promised and long-overdue invasion. The Watcher has begun to lose faith in the invasion, however, and feels that his life was wasted in a meaningless occupation.

The book is divided into three sections. At the beginning of the book, the Watcher is traveling to the anc...more
Nicolas
Ce roman est assez étrange. Je n'hésite d'ailleurs pas à dire qu'il est extrêmement troublant au début, du moins c'est l'impression qu'il m'a donné.

Il raconte l'histoire d'un homme, à la fin de l'histoire humaine, soit d'ici quelques bons milliers d'années. A cette époque, la terre a déja eu sa période de rayonnement et n'est plus qu'une planète déchue, attendant les envhahisseurs qui ont pu acheter la planète. Dans cet environnement, on s'attache au pas d'un guetteur, chargé de surveiller le c...more
Herman Gigglethorpe
Nightwings is an unusual kind of alien invasion story (though then again, Silverberg is known for weirdness). The alien conquerors seem to be benevolent and are only conquering Earth because the humans treated them like cattle long ago, and Earth was legally theirs by treaty anyway. The computers are human brains and many groups of genetically engineered people exist, such as the Fliers and the Swimmers.

The narrator (Wuellig/Tomis) is a Watcher, a type of person that uses a mystical artifact to...more
Jlawrence
Lyrical and surreal imagining of a post-apocalypse Earth, told in a simple and compact way, which was also refreshing after some of the *long* tomes I've read recently, and which also sucked me into its strange world.

It follows an old man of the Watcher guild who journeys to what used to be Paris, Rome and Jerusalem, starting in the company of a female Flier (genetically altered to have faery-like 'nightwings' of the title) and an erudite, monster-like Changeling. Everyone, except the mutant Ch...more
Mark
More Silverberg for me. In looking at his body of work, this novella was considered some of his best work. It was really three novellas, or a novel delivered in three serial parts, at a time when Silverberg really needed the work. In the version I had, all three novellas are presented along with a foreward by Silverberg talking about how his house burned down and how he needed the money to cover shortfalls while the insurance company dragged its feet. An interesting glimpse into the economic lif...more
Sarah Sammis
Nightwings is one of those books in my early acquisitions from the days when I had first fallen in love with books and was buying in bulk from the Friends of the Library sale at my local library. I've had the book on my to be read shelf for twenty years (or roughly 2/3 of my life!).

Nightwings is a short book set in the far future where our current modern civilizations have fallen, the world is inhabited in part by extra terrestrials and the earth civilization that remains mimics old medieval soc...more
Katherine Coble
This book was written out of the author's fevered desperation for money. His home was destroyed by fire in February, 1968. He wrote the three novellas-- gathered here in one volume-- for a science fiction magazine.

This is very much a relic of the Science Fiction of the time, focusing on philosophical utopia and the transcendence of difference and conflict.

At its most basic level it is a retelling of the birth of Christianity.

It is undeniably a strong story, but it is also very much a piece of...more
M. Tatari
Gece Kanatları, Silverberg'den okuduğum ilk kitaptı ve eğer diğerleri de bu kadar iyiyse tüm eserlerini bir çırpıda okumak istiyorum!

Bildiğimiz dünyanın çok ileri bir tarihinde insanlığın İzleyiciler, Egemenler, Koruyucular, Anımsayıcılar vb. loncalara ayrıldığı, dinlerin ve şehirlerin zamanla isim değişikliğine uğradığı (örneğin Hristanlar, Yahdiler ve Perris, Roum, Stanbool) bir yerde geçiyor Gece Kanatları. Hikayemizin baş kahramanı yaşlı bir İzleyici. Onun gözünden dünyanın yeni halini, işga...more
Suzanne
I distinctly remember reading the first chapter/book within this work. I still find it intriguing, gripping, and creative. I do not recall the remaining two chapters/books. Whether that's because I did not read them or because they are eminently forgettable, I cannot say. The second chapter is not up the the standards of the first, but is still an interesting look at this society of the future, with some glimpses into its past and the events that led to its creation. The third, however, is deadl...more
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Robert Silverberg is one of science fiction’s most beloved writers, and the author of such contemporary classics as Dying Inside, Downward to the Earth and Lord Valentine’s Castle, as well as At Winter’s End, also available in a Bison Books edition. He is a past president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the winner of five Nebula Awards and five Hugo Awards. In 2004 the Sc...more
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“Having lost our present and our future, we had of necessity to bend all our endeavors to the past, which no one could take from us if only we were vigilant enough.” 2 likes
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