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Silverberg, Robert
book-date: 1970
cvr art:
cvr price:
Frank Frazetta

Book= Fine-
Dustjacket= near-Fine

(Blank) back cover shows some rubbing wear; front cover has very little wear - so the DJ protector has done its job.

After an initial explosion of output in the mid to late fifties (he won a Hugo for "best new author" in 1956) , Silverberg slowed down when the magazine market shrank, and took on other projects including history books for a few years. In the late sixties, he became noticed for a more mature, artistic style, garnering Hugo & Nebula nominations for his 1967 novel Thorns and the magazine version of "Hawksbill Station," and then winning a Hugo for "Nightwings" and a handful of Nebula awards for short works plus the novel A Time of Changes.

Downward to the Earth - a novel from Robert Silverberg's artistic renaissance of the late Sixties/early Seventies. This is revised from serialization in Galaxy magazine (4 parts from November 1969 to March 1970.)

From the shrouding fogs of its Mist Country to the lunatic tropical fertility of its jungles, the planet Belzagor was alien in the extreme. Before the decolonization movement, it had been part of Earth's Galaxy-wide empire. But the Nildoror and Sulidoror, Belazagor's two intelligent species, had been given their independence, and once again they ruled themselves. The Nildoror were great elephant-like beings; and the Sulidoror were were husky bipeds covered with dark red fur, and had long arms tipped with terrifying claws. How could such creatures, without any technology to speak of, run an entire planet? Yet they did, and they had one thing that had always eluded human understanding - the ceremony of rebirth. Somehow this mysterious rite linked the two species. Edmund Gunderson, a former colonial official, was returning to Belzagor after an eight-year absence. Officially, he was a tourist, but in reality he was seeking redemption - redemption for the crimes he had committed against the Nildoror and Sulidoror. During an emergency, he had commandeered a group of Nildoror for a labor detail. Using a fusion torch, he had forced them to obey, and on his account they missed their rebirth. To atone for this misdeed, Gunderson had decided to journey alone through Belzagor's jungles. When he reached the Mist Country, he would offer himself as a candidate for rebirth - even if it would mean the end of his life as a human!

The cover and 1 illustration by Frank Frazetta were comissioned for this book by the Science Fiction Book Club. Often known for having some of the worst artwork, sometimes they got things right, and in this case- spectacularly so. More than just a nice looking painting, Frazetta shows just how good at illustration he is by perfectly capturing the character and described appearance of the two intelligent species native to Belzagor: the Nildoror and Sulidoror. This is the first edition (1970), with "Nelson Doubleday" on spine - that was the imprint used when they did original hardcovers as compared to hardcover reprints. The paperback didn't come out until 1971.

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