Robert Silverberg
- The man in the maze

 

I have to be honest: I only took this book because I generally like this writer. And I read... without really understanding its ineterest... And here I apologize to all people who love this book, as it seems there are a lot!: I did some research on the net after I read this book, to see what can be this "key to appreciate the book" I didn't find... but only found a lot of websites claiming "this book is great!!!", without really explaining -what- makes it so great...

To explain myself, I'm going to sum up the story a little, although very little, as you get clues about the story really little by little: In a long long future, man went on some other planets, he lives on some of them, and knows some others exist, but didn't try to live on them, for this or that reason. On one of these planets is a giant maze [="labyrinth", but even more complicated], over tens of km², that surrounds a town and is full of (deadly) traps: it' s kind of the giant defense system of this town, to sum up. Very few people managed to go through this maze, only one succeeded actualy: "the man in the maze". It seems he wanted to leave others, humanity... he's had a kind of "gift" for a few years, that makes his company rather unpleasant for people who approach him... But some people decided to take him back on Earth: it seems they need him, for a most important mission... about which I cannot say much, as you learn details about it only from the middle of the book, maybe after!

And that is the problem with this book: You learn the story-line very very slownly. You will tell me it can be a way to maintain the reader's attention... excepted that, personaly, it bores me! You really understand why they went through all the galaxy to get one specific person back on Earth or why this person decided to go away from any human only at the end of the book... and it becomes boring very quickly, because you can't get where the writer wants to lead you! Especialy as in the end, the writer doesn't take the time / have time to really give some thoughts about ideas he speaks about... for only two lines! Of course it will be interesting for those who want to know "the rest of the story", but for those who like thinking a bit when reading, it will be most boring! Because, when you think of it...

 

*******MEGA SPOILERS, READ IT ONLY IF YOU ALREADY READ THE BOOK********

It seems there are some common points between the "extra-galatics" and those who built the labyrinth... but how much?
Hydrians seem to use the same way to communicate that extra-galactics (my theory: they gave this "ability" to the hero, in order to communicate with him when he went on their planet... but he is so selfish, "ego-centric" that he didn't understand it until he came back on Earth, and rather than trying to find out how it works, he prefered going away from his friends or relatives, in order not to make them "suffer" from it): can we say Hygrians and extra-galactics have some kind of link? Which one then? A way to criticise Humans' selfinshness "only me is important / knows everything, and better than my neighbour!"?
As no other living form was found, it makes 2 races using this "feelings"-communication, one only using words, over 3: some way to criticise our "spoken" language, that we always consider as perfect, but actualy very "weak" to express one's feelings: it would seem natural that other races develop other ways to communicate, more appropriate to express what really makes us "humans" / a little evoluated animals: communicating through feelings.
Or some way to criticise this bad habit Humanity always has, that is to always consider itself as the center of the world, the only one that can hold "the truth", because there cannot be any other truth: within one year, the hero didn't manage to communicate with Hydrians, who taught him their "language" still, and he could have tried to teach them ours... this is why I think he didn't really try. He doesn't seem to really like these people after all, those people who aren't even able to speak, who can't even recognise "basic geometric figures". Even when he comes back on Earth he doesn't even take the time to understand that it's probably in order to communicate with him that they gave him this "ability": he only rejects humans, as they reject him, and hates those who gave him this ability, because it' s always better to put the blame on others...
And so on and so on...

********END OF SPOILERS*********


To sum up: a lot of questions aren't answered... and it's rather frustrating...
Once again, if you only need to read some story to appreciate a book then you should probably love this book, Silverberg giving the reasons/details of the story very little by very little. But if you like more "thoughtfull" things then don't give this book too much attention!
...Or explain me the "key" to this book, because I really didn't get it: when I see so many people on the net who absolutely love this book, I begin to wonder what I missed that could have made me love this book!

 

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