Recalled to Life

Robert Silverberg
Recalled to Life Cover

Recalled to Life


Recalled to Life saw magazine publication in 1958, just towards the end of the time that Silverberg was cranking out SF adventures at the rate of 1000's of words per day. This novel, however, has a more thoughtful tone than other work I have read from that period. Although it is still thinly written and spotty with underdeveloped situations, the novel has characters with interesting, complex motivations along with a plot about the public reception of new medical technology that still resonates today.

Resurrecting the recently deceased sounds like one of those plot elements along the line of brain transplants. It is completely implausible and you know there are going to be complications. Silverberg makes his novel work by focusing on just the few days before and the immediate months following the revelation of the procedure to the public. We do not have to read through chapters of background and failed experiments. Take it on faith that in a somewhat grimy laboratory in New Jersey, a group of medical specialists have used money provided by a creepy oil tycoon to perfect the resurrection of the dead. Silverberg choses as a protagonist James Harker, a politician who has fallen from grace with his party and decides to sign onto the Beller Lab group as legal counsel and PR man. They are going to need him. You expect scientists in these novels to be nerdy, but this crowd has not only traitors in their midsts but prove to be surprisingly OK when it come to committing capital crimes.

Recalled to Life is a short and entertaining period piece.