The Last Song of Orpheus
by Robert Silverberg
Review by Mel Jacob
Subterranean Press Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781596063105
Date: 30 September 2010 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The first major piece from Robert Silverberg since 2003, The Song of Orpheus, retells the stories and legends associated with the musician. Silverberg relates it in storyteller fashion. Orpheus is doomed to repeat the cycle of his life forever. The son of Apollo, he is given the gift of music, but it has a price. As told by Silverberg, Orpheus is tempered by the gods with love and death. He ends making a sacrifice of himself, but must repeat the cycle forever.
He wins his love Euridice from Hades only to lose her by looking back despite his promise to Hades. He considers this the greatest tragedy of his life. There is no forgiveness nor anyway to undo his act.
Periodically he takes wandering journeys away from his kingdom in Greece. He accompanies Jason and Odysseus on their voyages. In his journeys he sees a common thread among all belief systems and returns wanting to rid his kingdom of the bloody rites practiced by some. In his view, all gods are one and various worshippers address only one aspect and not the whole.
A fascinating writer with a major body of work, he has delighted readers with many novels and short stories. In 2004 the Science Fiction Writers of America made Silverberg a Grand Master. Among his many works, he has had a long history of both fiction and nonfiction related to historical themes. The Song of Orpheus takes him to the realm of myths and legends.
Subterranean is noted for its eclectic collection of short works. Silverberg's adds further distinction to these offerings.