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3.76  ·  Rating details ·  2,449 ratings  ·  213 reviews

In the Hugo Award-winning Nightwings, as the Watcher is led from his vigil by Avluela the Flier, the invaders come and conquer. Now, headed for the Holy City - home of the Rememberers, keepers of the past - the Watcher hopes to recapture his youth and find the beautiful woman he loves. But Avluela holds more than love for the Watcher - and mankind. She knows of the riddle
Mass Market Paperback, 190 pages
Published August 1979 by Avon (first published 1969)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  2,449 ratings  ·  213 reviews

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Jun 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nightwings, Robert Silverberg’s 1969 work is a very Ursula K. LeGuin type novel.

It is actually, three novellas put together to make a novel sized work, anchored by the Hugo award-winning novella Nightwings.

This is set in the far future, thousands of years, and the earth has survived, generations ago, a cataclysmic apocalypse which destroyed the “second cycle”. The first cycle would be where we are now, the second beginning when we first met aliens. Society is regimented into occupational guilds,
Aug 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
This is another excellent novel from Silverberg’s most prolific period that depicts a far-future Earth that has seen greater ages, and now has become a backwater destination for alien tourists. Humanity is segregated into rigid guilds, including the narrator who is a Watcher assigned to scans the heavens for signs of alien Invaders. When they do arrive, it is not with the expected intentions, and when the story’s narrator discovers why they have come (a secret lost in Earth’s far past), he is to ...more
Bryan Alexander
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, dying-earth
Nightwings is a far future science fiction novel. Well, a fix-up novel, consisting of three linked short stories.

I first read the short story "Nightwings" when I was around 13 years old. I didn't understand all of it, but the ending demolished me. That same week I read Poul Anderson's "Goat Song", which had a similar effect: mental stretching and emotional shattering.

I reread it now, almost 40 years later, thanks to a nice Kindle sale.

Nightwings takes place thousands of years from now. Humanity
Nate D
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012, sci-fi
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
May 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Silverberg creates a fascinating depiction of a far future Earth that has seen the rise and fall of several "cycles" of human civilization. The fatal blows dealt to civilization are inevitably the result of human hubris, the last of which resulted in catastrophic environmental devastation. Now it is essentially a desolate backwater, serving as a destination for alien tourists. In the current cycle, humanity has been segmented into guilds, based on occupation, special abilities, genetic engineeri ...more
Jul 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 were
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 allusions 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
Oct 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Silverberg is a good writer, in that he writes intelligently and mellifluously. He is generally a joy to read. But here, I found the world-setting more interesting than the actual story he tells. I have to agree with Frederick Pohl, who loved the first novella but had reservations about the following two. (MINOR SPOILER ALERT). By the second novella, it becomes clear this book is something of a picaresque. Each novella takes place in a different city (Rome, Paris, Jerusalem) and the main charact ...more
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-horror, scifi
It usually takes a while to get into the world of a fantasy novel -- unless you are in the hands of a master like Dunsany or Tolkien -- so I wasn't sure how I felt about Nightwings until I finished the book. By that time, I had a much better feeling for Robert Silverberg's Earth of the future than I did at the beginning.

I suspect that part of my problem is that the novel I read was actually three novellas pasted together: The original Nightwings followed by Perris Way (the weakest of the three)
Mar 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah - I read this book at 13 and created a stained glass window from the inspiration!
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The ultimate tale of redemption, renewal...and coexistence. Such a wonderful story in less than two hundred pages. For a proper review, look for those written by Sandy, Apatt, and Stuart.
Jan 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, sf
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
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Clark Hallman
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Silverberg (born 1935) is a remarkably prolific science fiction writer who is always competent but also capable of genuine beauty. This novel from 1969 portrays an Earth of the very distant future in which human society has become frozen into a rigid inflexible guild system devoted to being on watch for an alien invasion. While Silverberg's ironic edge is never far away, the book presents a fascinating future history and has moments of beautiful lyricism and humanity.
I should add one more thing
Seth Tisue
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Vincent Stoessel
A very short read and a true classic (Hugo Award for Best Novella) . Silverberg eloquently threads a tale that spans eons through the first person singular lens of it's protagonist. Parts of the style and story recalled Zelazny to me and that's a good thing. Like an accidental tourist, we learn of the world as it is and the world that was. There are some great quotables in this novella and I'm glad that I finally had a chance to read this #scifi classic.
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A very moving book, I absolutely loved this book and I would highly recommend it to almost anyone. This book is very special to me.
Pam Baddeley
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A re-read after many years. It is not so much a novel as three connected novellas, the first of which, called 'Nightwings', won the 1969 Hugo novella award. I've just re-read it in The Hugo Winners 1963-1968 so will first reprise what I said in my review of that volume:

I still enjoyed 'Nightwings' and found in it a prefiguring of Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun series, published over ten years later. Set in the far future on an Earth which is old, having seen many cycles of civilisation, it
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Silverberg was one of the best sci-fi writers I encountered as a boy and young man, years ago, obviously, but I have not read much sci-fi for the past 30 years or so.

On an impulse (the kind which has repeatedly been costly to me over the years, as books are my greatest weakness), I purchased this copy in a Kindle version and read it in just a few evenings.

This is the sort of "grand" science fiction that writers like Clarke ("2001") wrote, in that it covers many themes elemental to human existenc
Jamie Rich
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nightwings (Kindle Edition) by Robert Silverberg

For a story written in 1968, it holds up well!

Originally a there part series in a magazine, then put together in book form. The characters are pretty one dimensional, but remember where they came from. They still drive the plot, and have many surprises along the way. And yes, considering the dismal times in which it was written, a surprisingly wonderful end!
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dieser Roman ist ein Fix-up von drei Novellen von Robert Silverberg - "Nightwings" (1968), "Perris Way" (1968), und "To Jorslem" (1969). "Nightwings" gewann 1969 den Hugo Award für den besten Novella. Der Roman enthält alle drei wurde im Jahr 1969 veröffentlicht. Diese deutsche Übersetzung "Schwingen der Nacht" wurde 1971 veröffentlicht.

This novel is a fix-up of three novellas by Robert Silverberg - "Nightwings" (1968), "Perris Way" (1968), and "To Jorslem" (1969). "Nightwings" won the 1969 Hugo
May 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Marc Goldstein
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 04, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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 f

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