Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dying Inside” as Want to Read:
Dying Inside
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dying Inside

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,918 Ratings  ·  257 Reviews
In 1972, Robert Silverberg, even then an acknowledged leader in the science fiction field, published a book that was immediately hailed as a masterpiece. More than three decades later, Dying Inside has stood the test of time and has been recognized as one of the finest novels the field has ever produced. Never wasting a word, Silverberg persuasively shows us what it would ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by Orb Books (first published October 1972)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dying Inside, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dying Inside

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
mark monday
Dying Inside is a sterling example of 70s New Wave science fiction. it is about a telepath whose powers are fading. dude is a miserable, depressive asshole who whines endlessly about his life. the end.

wait a sec, maybe that sounds like a bad read to you? well my friend, let me tell you... throw that impression away! this is a marvelous book from beginning to end. it is thought-provoking, often delightful, often hard-edged, completely enjoyable. Silverberg is such a masterful writer and many time
...more
Lyn
Jan 11, 2016 Lyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Goodreads friend recently asked if Silverberg lacked the matinee firepower of Heinlein or Asimov because he had no masterwork, no centerpiece to which critics could point, no one work that served as an identity. Silverberg, Grandmaster though he is, lacks a Stranger in a Strange Land or Foundation or Dune.

I submit here, to the court of science fiction literature, that Dying Inside is such a work.

Dying Inside is Silverberg’s 1972 science fiction / fantasy classic about telepathy and so much mor
...more
Jeffrey Keeten
May 18, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
"The sensory shutdown is not always a willed event, naturally. It happens to us whether we like it or not. If we don't climb into the box ourselves, we'll get shoved in anyway. That's what I mean about entropy inevitably nailing us all in the long run. No matter how vital, how vigorous, how world-devouring we are, the inputs dwindle as time goes by. Sight, hearing, touch, smell-everything goes, as good old Will S. said, and we end up sans teeth, sans eyes, sans tastes, sans everything. Or, as th ...more
Apatt
Jun 25, 2015 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, favorites
Robert Silverberg is one of science fiction all time greats, there is no doubt about that in my mind. He belongs up there with Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein etc. If you have never heard of him it would be because he is the most criminally underrated sf authors ever. I have said virtually the same thing in my previous review of his book Nightwings, and I will probably be saying the same damn thing again next time I review one of his books simply because it bears repeating.

Among long time avid sf reade
...more
Stephen
4.5 to 5.0 stars. Robert Silverberg is one of those writers that has never disappointed me and Dying Inside is no exception. This is often considered Silverberg's best novel and, while not my personal favorite of his, it is easy to see why.

The story is told in the first person by a telepath, David Selig, who is slowly losing his ability to read minds. David, despite his ability to read minds, is almost completely isolated from the rest of society and is unable to form any close attachments. He
...more
Stuart
Dying Inside is likely the most powerful SF tale of a telepath losing his powers that has ever been written, and is required reading for anyone wanting a taste of the best of New-Wave SF from the early 1970s (much better than Daniel Keyes' Flowers of Algernon, in my opionion). It is also extremely personal and autobiographical, since Silverberg’s prodigious output of the late 1960s was starting to slow down. Regardless of how far we should read into protagonist David Selig’s brilliant, lonely, f ...more
Jon
Jul 12, 2009 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: Beyond Reality July 2009 Selection
3.75 stars

I felt like the telepath, the mind-reader, the voyeur while reading this novel. Silverberg sucked me in to the mind of David Selig so completely that I had to force myself to take a break from the book after hours of voracious reading to come up for air and perspective. It appears to be the autobiography of a telepath, but reads like a confession of mind crimes, social ineptness and stunted maturity. He fears his gift is fading and dying, and he flops impotently against the impinging s
...more
Stefan
Nov 07, 2010 Stefan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg is the painfully intimate portrait of David Selig, a man who has been blessed (or cursed, as he might say) with the gift of telepathy. He has learned to live with the ability, but now finds that his amazing power is slowly disappearing, leaving him ordinary again. Throughout the novel, Selig is literate, insightful and self-deprecating as he mercilessly dissects his own life. I found him less than likable, but completely fascinating. He leads an almost meaningle ...more
Sandi
I finished Dying Inside this morning and I'm still not sure what to say about it. Perhaps I should start by saying that I don't believe this is science fiction at all. I kept looking for the science part and it just wasn't there. I believe that it would have been classified as general fiction if it hadn't been written by a famous science fiction author.

I have to say that I have met few fictional characters that are more pathetic than David Selig. He's not pathetic because he's losing his telepat
...more
Nikki
This is the first book I've managed to sit down and read straight through in quite a while, so I have to acknowledge here the quality of it first: it is one of those books that reminds you that speculative fiction of all stripes can be just as reflective on the human condition as any navel-gazing literary fiction. The characters are for the most part not very likeable -- there's something despicable in all of them, and especially in the narrator, Selig. But there are some amazing bits too: Selig ...more
Matt
Jul 07, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
One of the touchstone novels that seperates the true affectionado of science fiction from the more casual fan or the affectionado of pulp adventures with fantastic tropes.

I like pulp adventurers with fantastic tropes, but that's hardly the sum of either science fiction or fantasy.

Alot of people report being rather stunned by this book, as they didn't think science fiction was this broad or this well written. This is one of the books I turn to when pretentious literary snobs challenge my taste in
...more
Simon
After reading a couple of only average Silverberg novels, it's great to have my faith in the author's ability reaffirmed by reading another of his greats.

Like The Book of Skulls this is almost only incidentally SF, that is more character driven than anything else. Yes, it is about someone who is a telepath, one of the classic tropes of the genre, but it is never really rationalised or understood. But that wasn't really the point, rather it was about how someone coped with being different from ev
...more
Sam
Apr 06, 2008 Sam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This is an astounding piece of fiction. I refrain from calling this science fiction for several reasons: the fantastic elements, while central, aren't beyond the normal scope of mainstream fiction, the novel is a character study, and the novel has none of the classic clichés of science fiction.

I was very surprised when I started reading this novel to discover just how well-written it is (this being my first Silverberg endeavor). It must be admitted that Silverberg is not a stylist at the level o
...more
Kelly
Aug 03, 2009 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dying Inside is a book I might never have picked up myself. I'm so glad I read it. As discussed in our group, Beyond Reality, it's not classic 'Science Fiction', but as it's written by a well known science fiction author, Robert Silverberg, it falls easily within the genre.

The human protagonist, David Selig, is 'enhanced'. He is a telepath and has been probably since birth. But his power is fading, and the story is about how he is coping with the loss, as he feels he is dying inside.

It's a sad
...more
Michael
Apr 30, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In his forward to "The Stars, My Destination," author Neil Gaiman says that one of things that dates the fastest in literature is science-fiction. That statement applies to "Dying Inside" which is clearly a novel of its time period, but still works today because the novel focuses on a character and not the technology involved.

David Selig is a man born with the strange ability to read people's thoughts. While many of us would think it's a blessing, David finds it a bit of a curse. David quickly
...more
Sarah
Dec 29, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Sometimes it's difficult to separate form from content. This is a well written book that explores a good concept - the downside of being able to read the minds of others - thoroughly. It's soft sf, content to explore the psychological and social ramifications of the gift/curse without providing explanation of how David Selig came into possession of it. In short, right up my alley.

So why the lukewarm rating? For starters, I found the book fairly dated. I have read my share of timeless SF, but th
...more
Rob
Mar 10, 2012 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
...I can see why this is a notable book among it's contemporaries. Silverberg approaches the novel in a way you don't see a lot in science fiction novels. It is a pretty dark and introspective book. I'm not sure everybody will appreciate the ending but I thought it was fitting. Dying Inside is a book that can make the reader uncomfortable by laying bare the innermost thoughts and feelings of the characters. It usually isn't pretty, but like it or not, most of us will recognize a lot in what Seli ...more
AC
Mar 19, 2016 AC rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I hate Sci-Fi. Almost all of it. Don't know why. It just doesn't work for me.

I read Silverberg's Downward to the Earth -- Silverberg is a long out-of-print sic-fi author (though kindle has revived his fortunes) -- and thought the book was just fabulous. A take on Conrad's Heart of Darkness, wonderfully written, sensitive... wondrous...

This one is harder for me to assess. The premise is good and many of the details. It is a Sci-fi set in Silverberg's own time, and in one of his (and my old haunts
...more
Elizabeth Hunter
Jan 06, 2010 Elizabeth Hunter rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I found this book intensely disappointing. I'm usually very impressed with Silverberg's work, but here he seemed to be channelling the same vein of zeitgeist that gave us Portnoy's Complaint and other laments of the middle-aged white/Jewish guy whose dick doesn't rise as quickly in his forties as it did in his teens.

The premise is excellent: a guy who's been a telepath all his life, mostly secretly, finds that his powers are fading and has to cope with the loss of his superpower and the prospec
...more
Doğukan Şık
Mar 04, 2016 Doğukan Şık rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yine çok farklı bir kitap. Bir yazarın birbirinden bu kadar farklı şeyler yazabilmesi olağanüstü. İçeriden Ölmek insanların zihnini okuyabilen David Selig'in hikayesi. Gücün bilimsel yönünden çok psikolojik tarafı inceleniyor.
Kitapta belli bir kurgu yok. Bazen geçmiş bazen şimdiki zaman anlatılıyor. Bu kısımların birbirine karışmaması için kısa bir sürede okunması gerekiyor.
Denis
Feb 27, 2016 Denis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: softcover
Essentially, it's the story of a telepath, and how he copes with the loss of this blessing/curse of an ability later in life. Expertly developed both story and characters. Grade A Silverberg. Definitely one of my all time favourites.
Steven
Feb 23, 2010 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Living, we fret. Dying, we live. I'll keep that in mind.” Somehow this novel about a mind-reader losing his powers has a reputation for 'not really being science fiction.' I don't think it matters. I think a statement like that consigns genre fiction to a drumhead trial; in other words, the discussion of whether SF can be 'good' is already over. When talk starts about what is and isn't SF it just makes me realize how little I care about the lines that divide fiction. And I bet one of the reason ...more
Kris
Nov 08, 2012 Kris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you met David Selig in real life, you wouldn't like him. In fact, you might even be repulsed. You know it, he knows it, the book knows it. There is an overwhelming sense of awareness at how unlikable the main character is, and he even asks the question, "Would I be this screwed up if I wasn't telepathic? Did my telepathy cause my misery, or would I be miserable anyway?"

Most books I've read in which the prominent characters possess some kind of supernatural ability usually have the character d
...more
Sandy
Apr 08, 2013 Sandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although author Robert Silverberg had come out with no fewer than 21 major science-fiction novels between the years 1967 and '71, by 1972, his formerly unstoppable output was beginning to slow down. He released only two novels in '72, "The Book of Skulls," in which four young men seek the secret of immortality in the desert Southwest, and one of his most renowned, "Dying Inside." After this latter work, there would be no full-length works until 1975's "The Stochastic Man" and 1976's "Shadrach in ...more
Unai
Nov 30, 2015 Unai rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vi la reseña de este libro en soniaunleashed y no voy a negar, que el titulo me entró por lo ojos. Me tomo con cuidado las incursiones en la ciencia ficción viejuna, no porqué no me guste, sino porque suele ir a la encía a poco que te descuides. Aquí tenemos a un personaje que es un puto coñazo neurótico, que roza lo despreciable y desde luego, incomodo de empatizar. Pongamos un Woody Allen setentero, pero sin puta gracia, ironía, ni sano cinismo, tan solo neurosis y el pequeño detalle, de que…. ...more
Daniel Gonçalves
He might be classified as a science fiction author for commercial purposes, yet Silverberg may have written “Dying Inside” with the clear conviction that he was pushing the boundaries of his own abilities. For one, this book is adorned with a careful, elegant prose that explores very deep into the human heart and its conditions. Thus, I believe the term “literary” best defines the nature of this novel.

Regardless of the label or genre, “Dying Inside” is a wonderful well of subtle surprises. Th
...more
Ben
Aug 03, 2011 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good but quite depressing read. For me it spoke of lonliness as the most terrible aspects of being human, as a price of being any kind of individual. Of how despite the unique aspects of our characters that enable us to be someone no one else can be: and so do and see things in a way no one else can our own problems and difficulties stifle our potential. That ironically lonliness despite being a personal interior emotion of isolation depends so much on the actions of the people around us. ...more
Heidi
(not finished/paused)

I'm roughly 40% into this book, but it's a really hard nut to crack - too hard for my taste.

Part of it reads like a psychiatric report. Everything else, seen through the eyes of the protagonist and written in first person present tense (something I've always struggled with) and with a somewhat stream of consciousness like quality to it, almost stinks of self-pity, coming from an unlikeable character with barely any redeeming qualities who seems to hate pretty much everyone a
...more
Mike
Oct 30, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
As soon as I read the first page I knew that I had read “Dying Inside” before. I just hadn’t remembered the title. Since I have soooo many books piled up to read, I chose to skip giving this good novel a re-read. Instead, this is my review from having read it When Dinosaurs Walked the Earth.

This book is about a telepath. He’s a mind reader from his early childhood, but he hasn’t become some super-sleuth who solves crimes, or an evil mastermind who exploits his power for power and wealth beyond e
...more
Bill
Jul 08, 2009 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
It's sad that Science Fiction as a genre isn't taken seriously as important
literature. If it was, then Dying Inside would certainly have gotten more
widespread attention or even considered for prestigious literary awards.

As it stands, I never would have heard of it if not for Goodreads.

I'm not giving this 5 stars, only because there were a couple of parts of
the story I could have done without, like our hero's term paper writings. Sorry,
strike one for a yawn or two.

But this is a special story. It'
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Life During Wartime
  • Dark Benediction
  • The Complete Roderick
  • Jem
  • Emphyrio
  • Mockingbird
  • The Child Garden
  • Pavane
  • The Centauri Device
  • Bug Jack Barron
  • Non-Stop
  • The Inverted World
  • Bring the Jubilee
  • Warm Worlds and Otherwise
  • Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
  • The Dancers at the End of Time (Dancers at the End of Time, #1-3)
  • The Rediscovery of Man
  • Empire Star
4338
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
More about Robert Silverberg...

Share This Book



“It was like that all the time, in those years: an endless trip, a gaudy voyage. But powers decay. Time leaches the colors from the best of visions. The world becomes grayer. Entropy beats us down. Everything fades. Everything goes. Everything dies.” 16 likes
“I'm an urban New Yorker to the last molecule.” 3 likes
More quotes…