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Master of Life and Death

Robert Silverberg

Book Overview: 

When Roy Walton becomes the new director of the UN division of population control, after the director is assassinated, he becomes the most hated man in the world. Being Director involved him in not only population control, but a terra-forming project on Venus, and negotiations with aliens. Not only that, but some people were trying to kill him. To stay alive, he had to become The Master of Life and Death

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Oh, sure, euthanasia would stick; it was a sane and, in the long run, merciful process. But this business of uprooting a few thousand Belgians and shipping them to the open spaces in Patagonia would cease.

Lang and his experimenters were struggling to transform Venus into a livable world. If it worked, the terraforming engineers could go on to convert Mars, the bigger moons of Jupiter and Saturn, and perhaps even distant Pluto, if some form of heating could be developed.

There would be another transition then. Earth's multitudes would be shipped wholesale to the new worlds. Perhaps there would be riots; none but a few adventurers would go willingly. But some would go, and that would be a partial solution.

And then, the stars. The faster-than-light project was top secret, so top secret that in Popeek only FitzMaugham knew what was being done on it. But if it came through....

Walton shrugged and turned back to his work. Reports had to be. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Silverberg's third published novel is _much_ better than the one he published this same year (_The 13th Immortal_). This is a kind of reflection on Nazism and how power corrupts even well-intentioned people. The only flaw here is that Silverberg doesn't seem to be able to quite figure out how to fin

Fast read with no added filler. It's crazy how much happens so fast to our lead character, and at times I felt his anxiety as everything piled up. The plot was a bit too "neat" at times with solutions coming very easily. Overall a quick solid scifi read.

Lot of interesting science fiction themes, and typical sci fi tropes. A good plot that fit together well, but some of the characters were a bit 2 dimensional and merely foils for the main characters vision, akin to what you get with Ayn Rand's work. It sped along well though with a captivating serie

As Assistant Director of the Bureau of Population Equalization, Roy Walton’s job is to ensure the planet’s sick children, elderly, disabled, and criminally insane persons are identified and euthanized as quickly as possible. He has the power to forcibly relocate whole communities from overcrowded ci

Future Grand Master Robert Silverberg’s fifth sci-fi novel, "Master of Life and Death," was originally released as one-half of one of those cute little "Ace doubles" (D-237, for all you collectors out there), back to back with James White’s "The Secret Visitors." Published in 1957, this was one of "

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