The Masks of Time PDF ì The Masks PDF/EPUB ²

The Masks of Time [Reading] ➿ The Masks of Time By Robert Silverberg – Thomashillier.co.uk Vornan 19 fell from the sky naked and landed on the Spanish steps in Rome on Christmas afternoon toward the end of the Millennium And for Leo Garfield things would never be the same For he is an ackno Vornan fell from the sky naked and landed on the Spanish steps in Rome on Christmas afternoon toward the end of the Millennium And for Leo Garfield things would never be the same For he is an acknowledged expert in the time reversal properties of sub atomic particlesand Vornan claims to come from far in the future Whether or not he is telling the truth a The Masks PDF/EPUB ² nervous and edgy world accepts the charming and magnetically charismatic Vornan as some kind of messiah Even Garfield and his fellow scientists fall under Vornan's spell But has he really traveled across time or is he just a charlatan and a fraud A compassionate and powerful novel worthy of comparison to Stranger in a Strange Land.


10 thoughts on “The Masks of Time

  1. Sandy Sandy says:

    I had long thought that Philip K Dick's 1964 '66 period was the most intensely productive and prolific streak that any sci fi author of note has ever enjoyed with nine major novels produced during those three years But as it turns out Robert Silverberg seven years PK's junior has got him beat by a mile During the three year period 1967 '69 Silverberg somehow managed the superhuman feat of releasing no less than 15 novels six in '67 three in '68 and six again in '69 and all of them reportedly of a very high and literate uality Silverberg's fiction began to mature immensely in '67 by which time he had already released some two dozen full length sci fi novels since his first in 1954 and a look at the book in uestion 1968's The Masks of Time will serve to reveal how capable a writer he had become by this point Released in May of that year as a 75 cent Ballantine paperback the novel deservedly garnered a Nebula Award nomination it ultimately lost to Alexei Panshin's excellent Rite of Passage and stands as a wonderful intelligent entertainment to this day 45 years later Although there have been dozens of sci fi books dealing with an individual's use of a time travel device to visit the past or future in Silverberg's book we get a look at such a visitor from the outside The book is narrated by Leo Garfield a California based physics professor who is chosen by the US government to be on an escort committee comprised of five other scientists It seems that a man claiming to be from the future and named Vornan 19 has suddenly appeared on Rome's Spanish Steps on Christmas Day 1998 Already a sensation in Europe his imminent arrival in the US has the government than a trifle concerned Riots have already broken out among the cultists known as the Apocalyptists who believe the world will end on January 1 2000 and for whom a man claiming to be from the year 2999 represents a total negation of their philosophy But is Vornan a legitimate time traveler from the future or merely a clever and charismatic faker? That is what Leo and his five fellow academics an historian a biochemist an anthropologist a philologist and a cosmic psychologist must decide as they chaperone Vornan 19 around the country and ultimately the world The Masks of Time manages to be a pleasing creation on several levels The book is exceptionally well written Silverberg seems to have an unfailing knack for delivering just the right word or phrase literate fascinating and exciting It features a wealth of well drawn characters and makes ample use of the newly liberated sexual attitudes of the era as the field of sci fi loosened up with the rest of the world Vornan is clearly bisexual in nature and Leo and his Arizona friends Jack and Shirley are avid proponents of casual nudism This is the sort of novel that just bursts with imaginative touches on nearly every single page be it the green slime bugging devices the floating pneumochairs or the artificial life forms created by Leo's biochemist associate Silverberg shrewdly makes some accurate predictions as to devices in the near future such as electric cars music cubes a telephone answering machine and something that forcefully suggests today's Internet and hilariously has Vornan reveal the secret of mankind's origin on Earth hint It has to do with jettisoned space garbage His novel features one wonderful set piece after another including one in an upstate NY mansion where a monstrous party in Vornan's honor is held With Mobius strip walls moving floors and ceilings bizarre partygoers mechanical insect maids et al this psychedelic kaleidoscope of a segment is surely some bravura work from Mr Silverberg; at least as mind bending as anything in Dick's oeuvre and as vividly detailed as the best of Alfred Bester Other memorable seuences include a visit that Vornan and his guides take to the NY Stock Exchange to a legalized and automated Chicago brothel to the amusement center in the moon's Copernicus Crater this same lunar pleasure spot was extensively featured in the author's 1967 novel Thorns and as the cult of Vornan grows to his reception by millions in the countries of South America Causing problems wherever he travels Vornan is a mystifying character and the reader will be hard put to get a precise handle on this sexually rapacious elusive and ambiguous man from the future Ultimately he causes not only worldwide upheaval but also rifts amongst the sextet of scientists four men two women significantly and amongst Leo Jack and Shirley as well Whether seen as a Christ figure or parody of Robert A Heinlein's Valentine Michael Smith Vornan surely spells trouble for all surrounding him Personally I found the story absolutely unputdownable; when I read a book at the office instead of doing the work I'm supposed to be doing THAT'S a sure sign of a gripping page turner Just two minor uibbles with what is otherwise a fantastic piece of work First when Leo travels from California to DC by plane leaving at 1010 AM Pacific time and arriving at 10 AM Eastern time I get the feeling that the author has confused his time zones a wee bit Or am I missing something here? And then at the novel's end when Vornan expresses his wish for a personal crowd shield think protective force field so that he might walk among the South American mobs in safetyhadn't it already been established on pg 5 that Vornan is capable of emitting an electrical field similar to an eel's giving a whole new meaning to the expression future shock that would render such a device redundant? Oh wellguess you can't play it TOO safe when a million worshippers are trying to pull you to bits uibbles aside this really is some wonderful writing from Mr Silverberg here very plainly coming into the full flush of his considerable powers


  2. Manny Manny says:

    Vornan 19 has travelled back in time to the present day the late 90s as imagined in the early 70s His mission is to warn vaguely about an impending millennial catastrophe and have sex with a lot of peopleIt transpires that there's some doubt about whether he's really a time traveller But there's no doubt at all about the sex


  3. Charles Dee Mitchell Charles Dee Mitchell says:

    I have read enjoyed and given positive reviews to enough Silverberg novels that I am comfortable with writing this one off as boring


  4. Roddy Williams Roddy Williams says:

    Following Heinlein's 'Stranger in a Strange Land' which showed an 'innocent' Messiah transforming human society and creating chaos Silverberg presents us with a much structured and indeed literary examination of Humanity's need for faith and what a double edged sword that may beThe setting is 1999 or at least it begins on Christmas day 1998 when Vornan 19 a visitor from the far future manifests naked in a public suare in RomeThe date is symbolic for the purposes of the novel since although the visitor claims no knowledge of Christ or the date of his birth many people see his coming on this day as a religious sign whereas there is the subliminal suggestion to the reader that he may be the antichristEarth at this time is gripped by a new religious mania an apocalyptic cult who believe that the world will end at the turn of the century they are destructive and Bacchanalian seeing sex and rioting as the preferred activities with which to fill one's time in the final months before destructionVornan of course stands in the face of their beliefs since if he is indeed from the future then the world is not going to end The novel is the journal of scientist Leo Garfield who has been conducting experiments in how to send subatomic particles into the past His assistant Jack Bryant appears to be on the verge of discovering how to produce limitless free energy and in a possible crisis of conscience uits his job to live a self sufficient life in the desert with his wife This becomes an occasional retreat for Garfield until he is recruited by the government to be one of a group of scientists assigned to accompany Vornan 19 on his exploration of the USFrom the outset Vornan undermines as does Valentine Smith in SIASL the moral codes of society He finds our need to cover our nakedness amusing and is happy to have sex with male or female with no sense of guilt or shame Religions are a mystery to him and he explains later in the novel that life on earth emerged through aliens in the area having dumped some of their organic waste on a sterile earth from which our biosphere eventually emerged In one way or another he manages to obliuely destroy the lives of several individuals Beliefs are destroyed just as casually since Vornan having already dropped the bombshell that the future does not know who Jesus is goes on to confirm that religion capitalism sexual fidelity and the concept of money are unknown to people of the futureIt's a vastly underrated novel and deserves to be reappraised as not only one of Silverberg's best works but one of the best SF novels of the 60s


  5. Bryan Thomas Schmidt Bryan Thomas Schmidt says:

    Compelling inspiring thoughtful and challenging My favorite Silverberg after Lord Valentine's Castle and the first two Prestimion books Truly powerful and stands the test of time A must read


  6. Phil Giunta Phil Giunta says:

    On Christmas Day in 1998 a charismatic being in the form of a nude man materializes from a shimmering electrical field in the middle of Rome Calling himself Vornan 19 he claims to have traveled back in time 1000 years to observe the cultures of primitive Earth Soon after the United States government assembles a motley team of five scientists to escort Vornan across the nation around the globe even to the moon colonies all the while studying him in an attempt to determine or debunk his authenticity Yet Vornan offers little than nebulous scraps of information about the future and evades direct uestions about the mechanics of time travel asserting ignorance about all matters scientific and technical Rather Vornan admits to being little than a bored dilettante from the future seeking to amuse himself by partaking in the sexual customs of “underdeveloped” humans He reveals only that he hails from a land known as the Centrality and that poverty starvation even death have been eliminated somehow during the 1000 years between our time and hisAmong Vornan’s cadre of guardians is Leo Garfield a middle aged physicist stymied in his current academic career and in need of a distraction It is his through Garfield’s point of view that we experience the escapades of Vornan 19 for it is with Garfield that Vornan forms the closest bondVornan’s habitual venery not only extends to the female scientists of the group but almost any random woman or man he happens to encounter in his travels Despite Garfield’s attempts to keep him in check Vornan manages to leave chaos and frustration in his wake wherever he goes Whether that is intentional or a merely the result of being a stranger in a strange land is anyone’s guess His popularity in the media rapidly escalates to the chagrin of a cult known as the Apocalyptists who believe that the world will end on January 1 2000 Their public protests and orgies become fervent as they rail against Vornan even while he amasses a rabid following of his own To desperate millions around the world this prophet from the future brings hope and wisdom He becomes their new messiahIs Vornan 19 merely a simple observer from the future seeking an escape from ennui and indolence or is he a sham taking advantage of a gullible and “underdeveloped” humanity?The Masks of Time was published in 1968 during the Vietnam War and a period of violent civil unrest in the United States People sought hope euality peace but most of all meaning and many of them looked to various new age religions and cults to find it Robert Silverberg deftly adopted all of these elements into the tale of Vornan 19 While the story opens with the amusing and engaging arrival of Vornan in Rome the second chapter is loaded down with exposition during Garfield’s initial visit with his friends Jack and Shirley in Arizona From there the pacing remains uneven but the story held my attention to the end


  7. Mark Jensen Mark Jensen says:

    Three and a half stars Pretty good Silverberg novel about a mysterious visitor from 1000 years in the future The book takes place in 1999 and not so dissimilar to our own 1999 many people are convinced of a disaster at the new millennium never mind that it actually started in 2001 which is pointed out in the book The Appocolyptists riot engage in debauchery and generally stir up trouble Then Vornan 19 appears from the future putting the world into even turmoil The narrator is an eminent physicist who has experimented with time travel succeeding in sending electrons back in time by a few seconds and has been tasked with a team of other specialists to study Vornan and try to determine if he's really from the future or a hoax One amusing aspect of the book which was written several years before the time frame the world of 1999 is both much advanced than even 2017 today and much primitive There are permanent cities on the moon rapid rocket travel across the globe a society that even without the debauchery of the Appolyptists is uite debauched enough on its own etc not that this ualifies as advanced in my opinion However phones are still plugged into the wall people use data cubes and spools presumably of microfilm for readers etc None of this detracts from the story but it is kind of amusing to read about these anachronisms


  8. Kurt Reichenbaugh Kurt Reichenbaugh says:

    I don't want the 3 star rating to indicate that I didn't think this book was all that bad I liked it while I was reading it I could see that it provided an opportunity for Silverberg to make observations about society on the verge of chaos especially considering the time the book was written I also enjoyed the story itself Think of a visitor from 1000 years in the future visiting our time now Now consider that visitor isn't a deep thinker a historian or a scholar Instead he's a vapid guy who wants to get laid a lot That's the novel in the simplest synopsis Imagine a youtube or instagram influencer traveling back in time to 1000 years ago If they don't get killed outright imagine how little they would know of the era they're visiting and the sort of things they'd want to do So yes there is a lot of fun ideas and satire in this book It did run a bit long however and the ending is about what you'd expect But it's worth reading if you're a fan of 60's science fiction


  9. Dan Dan says:

    At first I thought this book was going to be a 5 star Just like Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange World we are introduced to the same type of intriguing main character Vornan 19 fraud or time traveler and he starts out by doing and saying really interesting things If only Silverberg could have sustained the interest he generated in his premise After the introduction to the main character 9 pages we don't see him again for 80 pages almost 40% of the way into the book Instead we get to see who the welcoming committee will be YawnWhen we finally do meet Vornan 19 again the action picks up only to then be slowed down by tortuous slow description Page 105 107 three paragraphs Page 108 is its own paragraph as is page 109 Add to all the description the novelty at least if you're a late 60s flower child of free love and the glorification of uninhibited nudism and you have a recipe for the tritest titillation imaginableDespite all the 1960s period centered mishandling of his premise Silverberg is too good a craftsman in his writing to ruin the story altogether He does manage to keep the reader wondering what Vornan 19 will do next all the way to the end I just wish Silverberg could have risen above the time period in which he wrote this novel to truly do the concept justice


  10. Eddie Eddie says:

    I found this book very disappointing I many unanswered uestions the protagonist not the first person narrator basically ruined everything and then never answered any uestions I kept waiting for them to resolve something but it never happened Additionally I would say I thought it was overly sexualized not explicit mostly but nearly everything revolved around it By the time I realized it wouldn't just be a little I wanted to see it through to resolution which I felt never happened Didn't love it


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