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Previous BotM--DISCUSSIONS > 2009-07 Dying Inside: Is Dying Inside Science Fiction?

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message 1: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) | 338 comments I finished reading Dying Inside this morning and I have to put the question out there: Is this book really science fiction?

I only have a few minutes before I have to go, so I'll just post the question and add my input later. (I have to ruminate on what I'll write in my review too.)


message 2: by Barb (new)

Barb (barbtrek) | 40 comments I think it is science fiction but definitely "soft" sci fi!


message 3: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
Yes, soft SF definitely... one of those books that people would refer to as "speculative fiction" rather than science fiction, I guess. Maybe, if it had been written by someone who is not so famous for SF, it would have been shelved/categorized as literary fiction rather than SF?


message 4: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) | 338 comments In my opinion, the only reason it's classified as science fiction is because it was written by Silverberg. The only "science" in it it the questionable science teacher who was into parapsychology and discusses statistics. If Silverberg had delved more into WHY David was telepathic or had him finding a group of telepaths and forming a community, then I might say it's science fiction. In the case of "Dying Inside", the telepathy is merely a tool to explore the psyche of someone who is very disaffected and doesn't mesh with society.

I suspect that if Silverberg had not been famous for SF, it would be shelved in general fiction.


message 5: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 626 comments I would agree, Sandi. While I was reading this, I actually "perked up" when we got to the science teacher portion. I kept hoping that he would finally get serious about his gift and get out of his guilt ridden funk. Sadly, that was not the case.


message 6: by Nick (new)

Nick (doily) | 974 comments In the 1970's, before the Star Wars phenomenon came, science fiction was much more concerned with philosophical issues, social change, and intimate psychology. I think "Dying Inside" is a reflection of those concerns and acts as a good representative of the science fiction of that era. At the time, I was an adolescent and I didn't really get what was so intriguing about the book. But I knew it was reflective of a certain zeitgeist in the science fiction world. And re-reading it today, those concerns still come through and, I think, make it valid science fiction. It's not my favorite Silverberg, but it is thought provoking.


message 7: by Kelly (new)

Kelly (sisimka) I think it counts as science fiction, but I don't know that it really matters if it is or it isn't. It's what the author, and ultimately, the publisher decides. Who is going to buy this book - how should we market it.


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