“Roum is a city built on seven hills. They say it was a capital of man in earlier cycles. I did not know of that for my guild was Watching, not Remembering …”
So begins Nightwings the Hugo award winning novella by Robert Silverberg, and the first of three novellas in this collection.
It may be because I’d recently read Rome A History in Seven Sackings (entertaining and recommended) and The Roman Empire and the Silk Routes (enlightening, but dry in some places), but whatever the reason, I was instantly charmed. The book was well worth a read, especially if you like sci-fi that is optimistic, as I do. Yes, history does rhyme, but I don’t think that all is hopeless. There have been improvements in the human conditions, and both non-fiction books I just mentioned will bear witness to that.
I liked it enough to even read the forward by the author. Nightwings was written in 1968, when the country was in turmoil at home, and in Vietnam aborad, and Mr. Silverberg’s own life was in chaos, as he’d lost his studio (It had burned down along with all his reference books–even with Wikipedia and Google, that would be painful. Granted, I don’t have a studio, just a corner and a bookshelf, but still, I get it.)
The hero and heroine in Nightwings experience doubt of history and science, and come face to face with alien invaders bent on domination. The solution wasn’t the typical, but it was believable, and hopeful.
The version of the story I’m linking to is the collection that contains Nightwings, Among the Rememberers, and The Road to Jorslem. You can purchase Nightwings on its own, but I couldn’t find the other two novellas. I would recommend just buying the whole collection at Amazon US, United Kingdom, Nook, Apple, GooglePlay, or Kobo. Or you can borrow the collection on Scribd.