The Book of Skulls

The Book of Skulls

Robert Silverberg / Jul 16, 2019

The Book of Skulls Seeking the immortality promised in an ancient manuscript The Book of Skulls four friends college roommates go on a spring break trip to Arizona Eli the scholar who found and translated the book

  • Title: The Book of Skulls
  • Author: Robert Silverberg
  • ISBN: 9780345471383
  • Page: 114
  • Format: Paperback
  • Seeking the immortality promised in an ancient manuscript, The Book of Skulls, four friends, college roommates, go on a spring break trip to Arizona Eli, the scholar, who found and translated the book Timothy, scion of an American dynasty, born and bred to lead Ned, poet and cynic and Oliver, the brilliant farm boy obsessed with death Somewhere in the desert lies theSeeking the immortality promised in an ancient manuscript, The Book of Skulls, four friends, college roommates, go on a spring break trip to Arizona Eli, the scholar, who found and translated the book Timothy, scion of an American dynasty, born and bred to lead Ned, poet and cynic and Oliver, the brilliant farm boy obsessed with death Somewhere in the desert lies the House of Skulls, where a mystic brotherhood guards the secret of eternal life There, the four aspirants will present themselves and a horrific price will be demanded.For immortality requires sacrifice Two victims to balance two survivors One by suicide, one by murder.Now, beneath the gaze of grinning skulls, the terror begins

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      Published :2018-010-18T22:03:49+00:00

    About "Robert Silverberg"

      • Robert Silverberg

        Robert Silverberg is one of science fiction s most beloved writers, and the author of such contemporary classics as Dying Inside, Downward to the Earth and Lord Valentine s Castle, as well as At Winter s End, also available in a Bison Books edition He is a past president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the winner of five Nebula Awards and five Hugo Awards In 2004 the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America presented him with the Grand Master Award Silverberg is one of twenty nine writers to have received that distinction.


    365 Comments

    1. Together with Dying Inside, standing atop his prolific career as a classic.His 1971 novel The Book of Skulls, nominated for the Hugo Award, is a psychological thriller, really more of a horror book than sci-fi, and really – if I think about it – this is one of those works that does not fit easily into any recognizable genre.We’ll call it speculative fiction.Four travelers go on an unusual quest across the country looking for a mythical opportunity to live forever. Silverberg’s traveling [...]


    2. i have a soft spot for The Book of Skulls. it is a thoughtful tale of college students on a road trip slash quest slash metaphysical odyssey, their destination a secret to immortality. the only problem with obtaining this secret is that major bummer, The Grim Reaper. one of the group has to be sacrificed (i.e. murdered) and another must die by his own hand. the cast of 4 are stereotypes: the studly poor guy, the studly rich guy, the queer, the jew. although on friendly terms, they are decidedly [...]


    3. Robert Silverberg is possibly the most underrated sf writers of all time, considering that he has been writing sf since the 50s, won numerous Hugo, Nebula and other major sf awards, and is a Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master. In spite of all this he never seems to be "in vogue" these days, most of the younger generation of sf readers today have never read anything by him. I believe this is indicative of how criminally underrated he is and the ongoing decline of civiliza [...]


    4. This heavily character-driven novel begins and continues like an interesting jaunt through america in a classic road-trip novel, but it eventually becomes something much more on two fronts that might possibly be just one.Is it really about joining a secret society cult based on a the Book of Skulls that promises immortality at a price? Or is it really about exploring one's sexuality, with the majority of emphasis being on homosexuality?I'm not saying that being a homosexual is the route to immor [...]


    5. I liked the idea behind this, and I even liked the way Silverberg set up the four characters, stereotypes that over the course of the novel are pried open and exposed for the often hypocritical things they are. The writing, too, is pretty good, lyrical and intense. The psychological building up and tearing down of the characters works really well, and it's not easy to predict who will commit the murder, who will be the sacrifice, etc. The only real problem for me was that I kept having to check [...]


    6. Wow.I've always known Silverberg is one of the Great Old Ones. A cornerstone of the genre, author of books like Nightwings, Thorns and Dying Inside that are classics in the genre, and would be classics outside the genre as well if the consensus cogs would get their heads out from up the bums of D. DeLillo, I. McEwan and so forth for long enough to notice. But it's one thing to admit a writer into your personal canon and and quite another to be reminded, knee to the groin, uppercut to the jaw, no [...]


    7. One of my friends here whom I usually agree with liked this book a great deal. He notes it is a psychological thriller (and indeed it is) and found it more a horror read. I can see that. But it never opened up to me that faror maybe I just never got so involved.I go 3 stars here but I'm bound to say it was a close thing I considered 2. However I can see that this is a well done book. it was just a case of the book never drawing me in.We have here a shifting point of view as each of the participa [...]


    8. Because he has garnered no fewer than eight Hugo and Nebula Awards over the years, has been inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Hall of Fame, and has been, since 2005, anyway, an SFWA Grand Master, it might be difficult to credit the notion that Robert Silverberg might also be a writer of horror. And yet, there it is, the 55th book under discussion in Jones & Newman's excellent overview volume "Horror: Another 100 Best Books"; namely, "The Book of Skulls," which [...]


    9. Different then what I imagined, not really being a SF book. This is more a story about a philosophical and spiritual journey. Nevertheless, quite enjoyed it. Interesting, and though predictable at nature, I still found myself engulfed by the end.


    10. This is a book I have been meaning to read for some time but you know things kept on getting in the way (like other books) so now I have finally been encouraged to read it and here we are.The book itself is part of the SF masterworks series - an excellent series I am so glad to see they have decided to start issues new editions of. However I will admit that I struggle see how this warrants such a place in the series although I am not as naive as to think that all science fiction contains stories [...]


    11. 4.0 to 4.5 stars. Robert Silverberg can flat out write a great story. I have probably read about ten of his books (meaning I have many more to go) and I have never been disappointed. This story follows four college friends from vastly different backgrounds traveling to Arizona in search of a ancient monastery that they believe holds the secret to eternal life. The problem is for two of them to live forever, the other two must die. In addition, to learning about how the group learned of the Book [...]


    12. THE BOOK OF SKULLS is one of the best horror books I've ever read. Mostly because it's a psychological character study of a group of young men on a "spiritual" quest, that takes them on a journey to the SW United States. Here, they are to learn the secrets of a strange cult. But what do they really know about what they're getting into? And more importantly, how well do they really know each other? This novel is a bit of an unknown gem.


    13. I don't know what to say about this book. To summarize, it is the story of a ragtag group of four college students who spend their spring break trying to find immortality through a mysterious cult in Arizona. I know, I know, run-of-the-mill plot. The catch is, according to the terms of immortality, only two of the group can live forever - the other two have to die: one must commit suicide and the other must be murdered. Now it gets interesting! The first half of the book describes their old-fash [...]


    14. My favorite Silverberg noveld that is saying a lot. Silverberg is one of the finest writers to come out of science fiction and fantasy. The Book of Skulls is both one of his straighter fiction tales and, at the same time, the most esoteric. The plot concerns four college students on a journey to find a hidden monastery in Arizona. (There's more of those in Arizona than you would think!) They are motivated by a promise of immortality. However for two to gain this, one must die by his own hand and [...]


    15. Robert Silverberg is one of the most 70s of sci-fi writers, I think. Here, via four college students on a road trip into immortality. Despite oscillating contradictorily between feeling that the characters were too archetypal and being impressed with their nuances, this was ultimately somehow really compelling to me. And those characters really carry it in the end, since the whole story is told via their four alternating viewpoints. I think the tension between well-developed and oversimplified t [...]


    16. Silverberg is a good SF author, and though not one of my faves, I've enjoyed his work very much. But not this book.I don't know, maybe wasn't in the mood, but I found that the internal Odyssey of the four characters just didn't touch me. Silverberg spent page after page desvribing past experiences and thoughts that have no real interest and are mundane to say the least, and in effect out of the 300+ pages of the book only about 70-80 advance the plot. A pity, because the underlying premise is ve [...]


    17. Elevator pitch time: Robert Silverberg's "Sci Fi Masterwork" The Book of Skulls is In the Company of Men meets The Holy Mountain* but in, you know, prose. Only I'm pretty sure I'm expected to forgive all of the scorchingly misogynist** elements of the former because it's a product of its time. Only I'm kind of failing at the forgiving thing. But it has enough remarkable qualities to make me really want to find a way to forgive it, but forgiving it feels like a bit more gender treachery than I'm [...]


    18. Storyline: 4/5Characters: 5/5Writing Style: 4/5Resonance: 3/5Behold a work that falls into a category I rarely encounter: an artistic gem and engaging narrative which remained steadfastly off-putting. Silverberg's portraits of youth are exceptional. A chapter at a time, first-person perspectives rotate through the four college students' vacation and their road trip adventure. Our author gives an intimate look at their inner confidence and buoyant hopes yet manages to simultaneously provide the c [...]


    19. "Non ho mai creduto che aprire la propria anima porti alla scomparsa del dolore. Serve solo a diffonderlo un po' in giro".Romanzo atipico di uno scrittore atipico: Robert Silverberg è uno scrittore di fantascienza, acclamato per la sua capacità di muoversi autonomamente tra i generi, i cui romanzi sono noti per l'approfondimento psicologico, che ha la priorità su tutti gli altri aspetti.Anche in questo romanzo è così: se gli elementi più fantastici (il Libro dei Teschi, il Ricettacolo, la [...]


    20. 'Eternities must be balanced by extinctions'.Book of Skulls.Four college roommates head to the Arizona desert to locate a cult who claim to have found the secret to eternal life. According, that is, to an esoteric document called The Book of Skulls, which one of them had translated. The catch? Only two can become immortal, whereas the other two must die.All four characters get to tell the story their own way through a loosely alternating set of narratives in the stream of consciousness style, pu [...]


    21. I am not sure why people describe it as horrorybe because it is so horribly bad? There is no suspense, spookiness, gore or thrill in this story. The storytelling itself was lacking A LOT. No suspenseful up-building, the shifting narration doesn't make any sense in the end (plus I never cared much for the gimmick of telling stories from different views but here it adds zero cleverness to the presentation of the characters), even though this is a short one it felt dragged.The characters are stereo [...]


    22. i've always been really fascinated by silverberg, even though i never seem to be too crazy about any of his books. for one thing, his output was astonishing. by his own count he habitually wrote over a million words a year; often publishing five stories a month he published 23 novels between 1967 and 1972 alone, including many of his most famous ones (and multiple hugo/nebula/locus award nominees) yet when you read his work, it doesn't feel like it's just been tossed off; it feels like tight, fu [...]


    23. Seriously, how often do you read a book and think this is unlike any other book I've ever read NEVER happens. The Books of Skulls is fucking sensational and utterly unique, mysterious, brilliantly constructed and insanely well written. Yeah it absolutely has some issues, some dated jargon, especially it has an uncomfortable focus on homosexuality as something 'other', but although this is very much a book outta the 70's and reflects that, it also has the feel of something timeless, inspired in t [...]


    24. Another 5-star masterwork of Robert Silverberg. Not really science fiction. of a dark fantasy. An excellent character study with a startling conclusion. This story redefines "Spring Break". Strongly recommended.


    25. Read for the Science Fiction Masterworks Challenge, the Second Best Challenge, and the LGBTQ Speculative Fiction Challenge. This novel was nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus in 72-73, but won none of them.This book gave me a bit of a roller-coaster ride. I was excited about it to start with. The premise is awesome; four young men, college kids in the late 60s, go out to a desert cult in the wilds of Arizona. Their mission? To achieve immortality. To accomplish this, two must die and two w [...]


    26. Wow. I mean Wow.The words, the voices, they were delirious. Psychotic. Ecstatic.Silverberg's prose, while not as poetic as Peter S. Beagle's, was as close to flowing perfection as I can remember seeing in most authors I've read. Perhaps I'm biased, since many topics touched upon were - how shall I put it - something I have a weakness for. Especially the narratives spoken from Ned and Eli's points of view. Especially Ned's. He, if he had ended up being an English professor, or writer, would be on [...]


    27. Right off the bat, I thought this book was well written. A one sentence summary 's about four college roommates (in the 70's) who travel across the country (to Arizona) seeking immortality. Although in order to gain immortality, of the four, one must self sacrifice and one must be killed. (okay that was two sentences, lol!) I liked that this story was told with the four POVs. Each character had a different background and a different personality. I tend to gravitate towards books that are written [...]


    28. 3-starsThis was my introduction to Robert Silverberg. Apparently he was--or maybe still is--well respected in science fiction circles. However, I’m not real big on sci-fi, but thankfully this wasn’t a sci-fi book. I picked it up thinking it was a horror book, but it wasn't really that either.The story itself involves four college friends, each sort of a stand-in for a certain personality type, one of whom, believing he may have found the secret to eternal life in an obscure religious text, p [...]


    29. Бях чела "Трите стигми на Палмър Елдрич" за първи път на примерно 14. Преди няколко месеца, когато я четохме за клуба, имаше хора, които бяха възмутени от отношението към женските персонажи, а за мен то си беше съвсем в реда на нещата дори и при препрочитането, защото имах споме [...]


    30. A book about four college guys who head to Arizona to find a secret society that grants immortality to two people in every grouping of four that petition them. The second half was great, the first half was ok. Well-written, interesting first person perspectives. The only thing that bothered me is that the author thought it necessary to make his characters hate women so much. I don't know if he was going for some sort of realism or if he's just a misogynist himself so he thinks all college men mu [...]


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