The Man in the Maze by Robert Silverberg. It is the future, technology is advanced, lives are long, and the galaxy has been partially colonised by humans. Linking the disparate human worlds together are diplomats and agents who travel the starways. One of these men is Richard Muller, and now he has the greatest opportunity of his career. Humans at long last have met an intelligent alien species.
Muller is sent to m It is the future, technology is advanced, lives are long, and the galaxy has been partially colonised by humans. Muller is sent to make initial contact, but the mission does not go well. Muller is cursed by the aliens. His brain is modified so that his subconscious thoughts radiate from his mind. This makes his presence unbearable to humans. Embittered, he choses to live out his life in an abandoned city of murderous mazes on a long-dead planet. For decades Muller is left alone, but suddenly he is needed again. Humans have made contact with a second and even more dangerous species, one seemingly bent on destroying humanity.
The only hope is Muller.
His brain can broadcast the thoughts that might convince the aliens that humans are sentient and their equals. A team from Earth make a perilous entry into the maze, confront Muller, and convince him to come to the aid of his former colleagues. Get A Copy. Mass Market Paperback , pages. Published February by The Hearst Corporation first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews.
To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Man in the Maze , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. I think Silverberg had an idea about an archeological alien labyrinth and then built his story around that idea. And it is a damn good idea. The maze was built by a race eons extinct, and the labyrinth exists as a monument to isolation and to dangerous inclusion. Akin to Kurtz and Raskolnikov, Muller is a tortured soul. Silverberg, never one for light hearted mirth or comedic relief anyway, has in The Man in the Maze created one of his darker works, this is a spiritual vehicle that goes to the heart of the darkness that lies in the human soul and serves as an allegory for the byzantine walls we put up to keep others out.
View all 4 comments. May 07, mark monday rated it it was amazing Shelves: z-robert-silverberg , alpha-team , rain-man-reviews , new-wave , scifisss. View all 39 comments. I belong to the human race. While some dated details and the treatment of barely existent female characters bothered me, the ideas he was working with also fascinated me so much that I sought out more of "You speak as if you belong to an alien race" Rawlins said in wonder.
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While some dated details and the treatment of barely existent female characters bothered me, the ideas he was working with also fascinated me so much that I sought out more of his work. The premise of "The Man in the Maze" is wonderfully intriguing: Richard Muller is a famous space explorer, who made first contact with the only other sentient species in our galaxy.
But his glory came at a terrible cost; those aliens did something to him that makes his presence intolerable for other humans. His life more or less ruined, he exiled himself on the planet of Lemnos, in the middle of a strange and deadly maze left behind by a long-vanished civilization. But a crisis of Earth pushes an old, Machiavellian colleague of Muller, Charles Boardman, to seek him out to ask for his help in dealing with the threat against their home world.
This book really is about is alienation, about feeling completely ostracized and trapped.
Muller is obviously trapped in a situation where being around others proves impossible, but he can't bring himself to reject them the way he has been rejected. Ned Rawlins is also trapped, in a situation where he must do something morally reprehensible for the greater good and struggles to come to terms with that. The maze is the characters' minds, the various traps and snares are their memories, their inner wounds they are sometimes not even aware of themselves. Muller's "disease" is fascinating: people can't stand him because he makes them feel exactly the way they do The maze protects him, but it also protects other people, the same way the many walls we put between ourselves and others serve as a defense mechanisms.
But metaphor aside, it is also just a wonderful idea: the abandoned planet shows no trace of its former inhabitants, but a self-regulating, life-sustaining but completely empty city designed to trap and kill those unworthy to get to its heart. Its really a futuristic archaeologist' wet dream!
Silverberg, for all his good ideas, didn't have a very sophisticated perception of women I remember reading an article about James Tiptree Jr. That definitely cost the book a star in my rating; but I still really loved the core idea of the story, and I was surprised by how affected I was by it. Despite it's flaws, this is a beautifully written book that contains the kind of ideas that will stick to your brain for a long time after you turn the last page. Highly recommended for fans of old school sci-fi.
Mar 17, Sandy rated it it was amazing. In one of Robert Silverberg's novels from , "Thorns," the future sci-fi Grand Master presented his readers with one of his most unfortunate characters, Minner Burris. An intrepid space explorer, Burris had been captured by the residents of the planet Manipool, surgically altered and then released.
Upon his return to Earth, Burris was grotesque to behold, resulting in one very withdrawn, depressed, reclusive and psychologically warped individual indeed. And a year later, in the author's even In one of Robert Silverberg's novels from , "Thorns," the future sci-fi Grand Master presented his readers with one of his most unfortunate characters, Minner Burris. And a year later, in the author's even more masterful "The Man in the Maze," we encounter still another space explorer who had been surgically altered by aliens, but this time, the alterations are mental, rather than physical, although no less devastating to the subject's sense of self-worth.
Silverberg's writing had entered a whole new phase as regards craft and literacy in , and "The Man in the Maze" shows the author in the full flush of his newfound abilities. In "The Man in the Maze," the reader encounters ex-interplanetary diplomat and space explorer Dick Muller, whose career had been going along swimmingly until, at around age 50, he'd been called upon to make contact with the first intelligent civilization that humankind had thus far encountered: the residents of Beta Hydri IV.
After many months of seeming indifference to Muller's presence amongst them, the Hydrans had seized the Earthman and, for reasons never learned by either Muller or the reader, operated on his brain.
On his return to Earth, Muller discovered that his fellow humans could no longer abide his physical presence. Unable to turn off his repellent mental aura, Muller had immured himself at the center of the ancient maze on the dead planet Lemnos; a murderous, million-year-old labyrinth with limitless means of destroying intruders.
After nine years, however, a ship lands on Lemnos, containing Charles Boardman the man, now 80, who had sent Muller on his disastrous mission to the Hydrans , Ned Rawlins a year-old space cadet, whose father had been a friend of Muller's and a ship's complement. Their mission: to somehow penetrate to the heart of the killer maze and persuade Muller to come out and undertake an even more dangerous mission.
It seems that an extragalactic race has recently entered our galaxy and begun to enslave Earth colonies at the outer fringes, and that only a man with Muller's peculiar condition might be able to communicate with them. But will the understandably bitter and neurotic recluse be at all interested in helping the humans who had earlier rejected him? In the book's tremendously exciting first half, robot probes and then a trained group of soldiers meet horrific ends as they endeavor to map a path through the concentric zones of the maze.
In the book's next section, Rawlins encounters Muller and uses lies and psychological manipulation to wheedle the bitter hermit back out. Silverberg presents us with frighteningly strange animal life on Lemnos and, via flashback, a glimpse of those Hydrans, a race of aliens that is truly alien. Ditto for those extra-galactics, when we finally encounter them near the novel's end; that elusive "sense of wonder" that is the hallmark of all great sci-fi is to be had in great abundance here.
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Silverberg's writing itself is of a very high order, too. He gives us marvelous dialogue, and his descriptions of some of the worlds that Muller had visited are both highly imaginative such as the Earth colony on planet Loki, where the residents deliberately seek to attain weights of pounds and more by means of "glucostatic regulation" and oftentimes almost poetical "He had slept beside a multicolored brook under a sky blazing with a trio of suns, and he had walked the crystal bridges of Procyon XIV.
And then there are the passages that are almost psychedelic in nature such as when Rawlins traverses the maze's distortion field , a warm-up of sorts for the lysergic passages in the author's novel "Son of Man. For example, Silverberg tells us that Lemnos has a month year in one chapter and a month year in another. Similarly, he tells us that Lemnos has a hour day in one chapter and a hour day 50 pages later. And he is guilty of some slight instances of ungrammatical writing, extremely untypical for him, such as when he writes " The bottom line is that "The Man in the Maze" is literate, exciting, suspenseful, adult sci-fi with an interesting trio of lead characters and a fascinating story line.
One of my bibles, "The Science Fiction Encyclopedia," gives it a mere seven-word description "a dramatization of the problems of alienation" , but this reader found it to be so very much more. Now, Mr. View all 6 comments. I pulled this sci-fi novel from the depths of my bookshelves, looking for the magic that existed in the writings of the masters of the genre. In so many science fiction books of the 50's and 60's, writers like Isaac Asimov, Clifford D. Simak, and Robert Heinlein concentrated on the ideas, the aspects of mankind progressing out of their own microcosm here and out to the universe.
Once in the stars, most sci-fi writers found that the universal themes they thought about were also at the very core o I pulled this sci-fi novel from the depths of my bookshelves, looking for the magic that existed in the writings of the masters of the genre.
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