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A World Called Solitude

by Stephen Goldin

A World Called Sollitude - Stephen Goldin
Editions:ePub: $ 4.99Paperback: $ 16.99
ISBN: 978-1466341258
Pages: 348

A lost science fiction classic!

Birk Aaland is a political outcast from Earth's tyranny, and has been living for years on a planet inhabited solely by robots, ever since his ship crashed here.Now another ship has crashed, and there is again a single survivor -- a woman who's desperate to warn Earth of an alien invasion.But Birk is perfectly happy with his current exile -- until a twist of fate intervenes, causing each of them to re-evaluate their lives and their total existence.

Reviews:Tom Easton on Analog Magazine wrote:

The story gains an emotionality that justifies calling Goldin an artist, not merely a writer.

Toni on wrote:

As a woman, it was interesting to enter the mind of a man- and understanding it!
The main character was broken- a hero and a villan all in one. A man who is not meant to be judged but understood. He is truly a reflection of humanity.
But this book is not over philosophical or preachy. Its a fantastic adventure. Prefect for any escapist. The made-up world is so clearly shown with just enough ambiguity for the mind to make it its own.

Never boring this book has a wonderful pace. And is anything but cliched. As soon as you think it will be a cliche- it uses what you think you know against you. The character is beyond generalizing and is truly a whole person.

This book reminds me of The Godfather (the book not the movive) except in sci-fi terms.

Mitchell Glodek on wrote:

Scientist Birk Aaland is a castaway, living alone on an alien planet covered with the deserted cities of a technologically advanced but now extinct civilization, his only companions the millions of robots that quixotically keep the cities operating. Years of solitude, and memories of terrible abuses at the hands of Earth's tyrannical government, have disordered Aaland's mind, and his sanity receives further shocks when another human arrives on the planet with news that the Earth's space empire is under attack by ruthless aliens.

A World Called Solitude has some of the standard adventure and SF elements (space ships, ray guns, robots, strange aliens, warfare) but is primarily a psychological, even philosophical, novel that focuses on people's states of mind and on the relationships of people with each other and with society. Each of the half dozen or so characters (men, women, robots, and aliens) in the novel has an opinion of what he or she owes society and to other individuals, and each character has to make a choice of how to act in relation to others in a stressful situation and then live with the consequences of that decision. There are many (maybe too many) scenes in which people under emotional stress weep or "flip out," and many scenes in which people have emotional arguments.

Goldin tries to do something interesting here, and his writing style is reasonably good, so A World Called Solitude is a worthwhile read. I will likely try some other specimens of his work in the future. I read the 1981 hardcover from Doubleday with the regrettably generic, boring, and inapplicable cover art by Jan Esteves.

About the Author

STEPHEN GOLDIN is a Nebula Award finalist science fiction and fantasy writer who was born in 1947 in the city of Philadelphia. When he was 13, his parents moved to California and, upon reflection, he decided to accompany them. It was a lucky thing he did, too; otherwise, when he went to college, the commute to UCLA would have been quite difficult. He eventually graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor's degree in Astronomy.

His first job out of college was as a civilian space scientist for the U.S. Navy. The urge to write was strong, though, and after several years he left to try writing full time. He only regretted the move every other Thursday, when he would have gotten paid.

After several years of genteel poverty, he took a job as writer/editor for a pornographic humor paper, the San Francisco Ball. In retrospect, this was a great crucible; because of deadline pressure, he had to learn to make his writing dirty, funny, and one draft.

At about this time, too, he began selling novels on a regular basis. While he has, from time to time, held down other full-time employment (he helped design the Star Trek: The Next Generation computer game "A Final Unity" for Spectrum HoloByte and has also written manuals and game design documents for Maxis), his real love is fiction writing and he continues to pursue it.

His first wife was fellow author Kathleen Sky. In the 10+ years of their marriage, in addition to their individual works, they collaborated on a pair of stories ("Painting the Roses Red" and "The Devil Behind the Leaves") about the diMedicis, a family of interstellar swindlers.

Mr. Goldin's current wife is fellow author Mary Mason. They currently live in the San Francisco East Bay area. So far they have co-authored two books in the Rehumanization of Jade Darcy series: Jade Darcy and the Affair of Honor and Jade Darcy and the Zen Pirates. More books in this series are planned.

Mr. Goldin is an atheist whose interests include Broadway show albums and surrealist art. He has lived with cats virtually all his adult life.

Mr. Goldin served the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America as editor of the SFWA Bulletin and as SFWA's Western Regional Director.