Thumbs up for Musings and Meditations: Reflections on Science Fiction, Science, and Other Matters by Robert Silverberg. Nonfiction/essays.
As with any book of essays, not all equally interesting; but the best far outnumbered the lesser. My copy sprouted a forest of shredded post-it notes. I read “The Death of Gallium” and “The Handprints On the Wall” aloud to unsuspecting friends; “Oh Avram, Avram, What a Wonder You Were!” sent me scurrying to order the book (The Avram Davidson Treasury) which the essay was first written to introduce; and I acquired myself some C. L. Moore, William Tenn and a half-dozen others based on Silverberg’s enthusiasm. You will probably be inspired by other parts, but if you are a science fiction fan, it’s hard for me to imagine that you could read this and not be inspired something in it.
I mourn for the dodo, poor fat flightless bird, extinct since the eighteenth century. I grieve for the great auk, virtually wiped out by zealous Viking huntsmen a thousand years ago and finished off my hungy Greenlanders around 1760. I think the world would be more interesting if such extinct creatures as the moa, the giant ground sloth, the passenger pigeon, and the quagga still moved among us. It surely would be a lively place if we had a few tyrannosaurs or brontosaurs on hand. (Though not in my neighborhood, please.) And I’d find It great fun to watch one of those PBS nature documentaries showing the migratory habits of the woolly mammoth. They’re all gone, though, along with the speckled cormorant, Steller’s sea cow, the Hispaniola hutia, the aurochs, the Irish elk, and all too many other species.
— from “The Death of Gallium”
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