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The Man in the Maze

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  892 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
It is the future, technology is advanced, lives are long, and the galaxy has been partially colonised by humans. Linking the disparate human worlds together are diplomats and agents who travel the starways. One of these men is Richard Muller, and now he has the greatest opportunity of his career.

Humans at long last have met an intelligent alien species. Muller is sent to m
Mass Market Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 1969 by Avon Books (first published 1968)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,628)
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mark monday
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fuck the world and fuck the people in it. right? fuck 'em. you spend your life trying to do things, accomplish things, putting yourself out there. do people even remember those things? does the universe even care? you are just a cog in the great world-machine that doesn't even want to know you, that doesn't recognize the things you've done. who could ever want you, you are a useless part now that you are

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you have many accomplishments, many great deeds. so why was that done to you, why are your
Jan 04, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve said it before and here see it demonstrated excellently again – science fiction is best when it works as a metaphor.

The Man in the Maze, Robert Silverberg’s 1968 publication, is a psychological study about an ancient alien world and alien technology, mysterious and incomprehensible, reminiscent of Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama and also similar to Bradbury’s There Will Come Soft Rains, as a dead planet is kept functioning by unfathomable extraterrestrial machinery.

I think Silverberg had an i
Mar 17, 2015 Sandy rated it it was amazing
In one of Robert Silverberg's novels from 1967, "Thorns," the future sci-fi Grand Master presented his readers with one of his most unfortunate characters, Minner Burris. An intrepid space explorer, Burris had been captured by the residents of the planet Manipool, surgically altered and then released. Upon his return to Earth, Burris was grotesque to behold, resulting in one very withdrawn, depressed, reclusive and psychologically warped individual indeed. And a year later, in the author's even ...more
Denzil Pugh
Oct 27, 2012 Denzil Pugh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I pulled this sci-fi novel from the depths of my bookshelves, looking for the magic that existed in the writings of the masters of the genre. In so many science fiction books of the 50's and 60's, writers like Isaac Asimov, Clifford D. Simak, and Robert Heinlein concentrated on the ideas, the aspects of mankind progressing out of their own microcosm here and out to the universe. Once in the stars, most sci-fi writers found that the universal themes they thought about were also at the very core o
Jan 05, 2008 Mark rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
Absolutely fascinating setting - an extinct alien race apparently grew more an more paranoid and built a maze around their city with each outward circle becoming more and more lethal. Potentially interesting protagonist - a man who became an inverse telepath (constantly broadcasting his feelings, particularly his base impulses/pyschosis/etc to those nearby) and repulsing everyone around him so that he feels driven to isolate himself in the middle of the alien maze.

However, I didn't find the sto
Feb 28, 2015 spikeINflorida rated it it was amazing
This is now my third R.Silverberg book and it is another fantastic 5-star read. Only one other author has so profoundly moved me like this...and that is A.C.Clarke. I highly recommend this book! At approximately 200 pages, it's a whole lotta bang for the buck. And for a proper review...refer to a spot-on GR review by "Denzil". Next is Shadrach in the Furnace.
Tom Tabasco
Apr 19, 2015 Tom Tabasco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Phenomenal novel , like all the others I've read by Silverberg . Like his other ones, it can be read at different levels and it has a depth that - judging by the other reviews here - is often ignored or not understood. The Philoctetes, a tragedy written by Sophocles, is the inspiration for this story. The human condition , the fragility of trust and the pain of betrayal , the withdrawal into oneself, our psychological defenses , all these issues are dealt with in the novel.

Just like Philoctecte
Jan 29, 2011 T4ncr3d1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Muller conosceva bene il labirinto, ormai. Sapeva tutto delle sue insidie e dei suoi miraggi, dei trabocchetti e delle trappole mortali. Viveva al suo interno da nove anni. Un tempo sufficiente a trovare un modus vivendi con quel luogo, anche se non con la circostanza che lo aveva costretto a rifugiarvisi."

Questo è uno di quei libri per cui ti fa troppo male dover usare l'etichetta sci-fi, perché è un autentico capolavoro della letteratura contemporanea. Nemmeno il più brillante romanzo di gene

Jan 05, 2010 Laughinglioness rated it liked it
Shelves: sciencefiction
Aside from the blatant sexism infused throughout this novel, I really really enjoyed the main plot of the story and the three men both in the literal physical maze, as well as their own internal "mazes" of both emotional, psychological and moral design.

In the newer edition that I read, Neil Gaiman has written an introduction which does allude to the sexism/objectification of women though not with as much of a warning as I would have liked. There simply is no excuse for this theme both to the ex
Feb 08, 2011 Mea rated it it was amazing
In retrospect, I'm willing to overlook the sexism, (Silverberg's character's are often ridiculously sexist) because the book is simply that good.
The hero, a man who chooses to act as diplomat to an alien race, is changed by them into something they can tolerate. Unfortunately, other humans, in particular his lover, are now revolted by his proximity; he literally makes her skin crawl. In anguish he retreats to The Maze.

Not a bad punishment for a chauvinistic SOB, don't you think?
Mar 29, 2016 Eggp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
inside out exile
wallowing in bitterness
time to use him up.
Mar 02, 2014 Alex rated it really liked it
After a nine-year self-imposed exile to an alien planet, Richard Muller is called upon to be the saviour of humanity. However, there's one problem: he has come to despise the human race for their past treatment of him, and he feels he owes nothing to anyone.

On an ancient labyrinthine planet named Lemnos, Muller is alone aside from the native beasts which he hunts for sustenance. He has come here because, due to an alien operation which happened during a past intergalactic mission, he can't help
Annie Flanders
Aug 17, 2011 Annie Flanders rated it it was amazing
One year I went to a book friend of mine's bookstore in Berkeley, CA because Robert and his wife, Karen, were going to be there. So I'm standing there in line, it's my turn and I said to him, 'one of my favourite books of yours is about this man in a maze, but I can't remember the title of the book.' Robert smiles at me and puts his finger on top of this book. So, of course, I bought another copy so he could autograph it.

Several weeks later, my boss and I were at a museum opening at the de Young
Mar 21, 2016 AC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is pretty good -- though there remains something pulpish about the writing. Still, Silverberg has finally shown me how to start to read Sci-fi.
Dec 03, 2012 Alex rated it liked it
I grabbed this book off a shelf at the library they were selling for like 10 cents. I decided to give it a chance one night when I had nothing else to read. The book is actually pretty good. The plot is interesting, and the story is driven from the viewpoint of three men who are very well fleshed out.
Call me old fashioned, but I could have done without the scenes of sex. Actually there really was no sex, but he continually leads you up to the scenes and describes women as simply a way for men t
John Loyd
Apr 08, 2015 John Loyd rated it really liked it
The Man in the Maze (1969) 192 pages by Robert Silverberg.

This could be classified as a first or second contact novel, but I would more of the psychological variety. Dick Muller is the title character, a man who years ago made contact with an alien species, and when he returned, being in his presence sickened was sickening or depressing, so much so that he decided to exile himself to the maze on Lemnos. The maze was surrounded top and bottom by an impenetrable force field. Only through a doorwa
Jun 18, 2016 Sainte rated it really liked it
Shelves: soooo-good
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stuart Nager
May 08, 2011 Stuart Nager rated it it was amazing
This was the book that really got me reading, not only Science Fiction but reading in general. It was a borrowed book from my orthodontist's office, but I've read it many times since. Four stars for the book, but five stars for the experiences that it started me on. I still love reading it.
David Allen
Sep 18, 2012 David Allen rated it really liked it
Now among my favorite SF novels, this is a study in alienation, despair, ambition, physical perfection, ideals (both shattered and intact) and the human condition. Oh, and there's a maze. Gotta love a book with a maze.
Lucien Romano
Apr 11, 2015 Lucien Romano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although inspired by Sophocles' play Philoctetes, this isn't simply an SF version of a Greek myth. There are many intriguing ideas, including believably alien aliens who are non-humanoid in appearance and behaviour. However, the core of the story is the myth, where the protagonist is used to reveal humanity's true nature.

The only shortcoming for a modern audience is the lack of proper female characters. The few women are there simply to cavort with the men. Silverberg's version of Free Love mean
Isaac Timm
Sep 24, 2008 Isaac Timm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Isaac by: My brother Jake
Shelves: science-fiction
I've been looking for this book on goodreads for ages, I couldn't remember its title for the life of me. It is the best Science Fiction book I've read
Jack Pramitte
Jun 25, 2016 Jack Pramitte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Man is the Maze. Wow, that's a novel!
Jan 11, 2016 Kailey rated it it was ok
I have very conflicting thoughts about this book. It's one of those that you love to hate, bc it's just so good at being bad. I feel like this book is a beautiful painting underneath that has been grotesquely defaced and damaged. It had the potential to be a wonderful story, brilliantly written; but it has all these nasty little marks on it that rob its beauty. One little sentence here and there that sticks out ugly and deformed.

One of the main questions of the book is, "Is humanity basically g
Jack Moreno
Jul 10, 2012 Jack Moreno rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 25, 2012 Ana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: so-so
Cristina Luiz Apesar de este ser o primeiro livro de ficção científica no meu blogue, não foi o primeiro que eu li. Longe disso até. Houve uma altura da minha vida, julgo que deveria ter uns doze ou treze anos, em que os únicos livros que eu tinha acesso para comprar (sem depender de ninguém para o fazer) eram os de uma pequena papelaria/tabacaria ao lado de minha casa. Nessa papelaria, e nessa época, os únicos livros que se vendiam era uma colecção de bolso da Caminho (não estou certa) , que ti ...more
Jim Hoff
Jul 07, 2015 Jim Hoff rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Robert Silverberg's The Man in the Maze transposes mythology (in this case Philocetes) in to a science fiction setting. Dick Mueller, like Silverberg's Minner Burris, is a man who has been transformed by aliens. In this case though, Mueller did not realise it until he re-connected with humanity. It was then that he discovered that something emanated from him which made him repulsive. It is almost unbearable for anyone to be near him for any length of time. Unable to bear himself or his burden on ...more
Dec 30, 2014 Georgene rated it liked it
Recommended to Georgene by: Philip Wickstrand
Shelves: science-fiction
I read this book decades ago, probably not too long after it came out. I was a big Sci-Fi fan in those days. This year, my son gave me this book, which I carried around in my purse for months reading a few pages now and again. Yesterday, I decided to finish it, so I did.

This book has stood the test of time well. While I am no longer the avid Sci-Fi reader I once was, I still found it to be an interesting story. Once really getting into it, the story kept me engaged until the end.
Becca Du
Nov 04, 2015 Becca Du rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, classics
Good si-fi classic book with very interesting thoughts on humanity. I loved the description of the two types of aliens, seemed very different than a lot of sci-fi. I also liked the ideas of the maze and of one's soul slipping out. Rawlings was adorable and so noble.

Only draw back was the complete objectification of women, the only times any were in the book were because one of the guys needed some sex.
May 22, 2015 Facedeer rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Overall this is a decent book, but for some reason my fancy was really caught by one particular detail in it; the method that the expedition seeking the Man in the Maze used to "solve" the deadly puzzles of the maze. (view spoiler). A great change from the usual expectation of this sort of thing, but so very realistic.
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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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