Dawning Light, The

The Dawning Light is technically the sequel to The Shrouded Planet: it was published separately and consists of a serialized novel plus a short story published in Astounding a year after the earlier tales. In truth, the two books are together a single continued story. “All the King’s Horses,” which ran in the January 1958 Astounding, remains uncollected.

One upside of the pseudonym Robert Randall was that Robert Silverberg and Randall Garrett could now sign their titles. As shown below, Silverberg contributed the “Robert” and Garrett the “Randall,” a delightful easter egg to find in a used copy.

Silverberg and Garrett upped their insane pace of production in 1957, publishing more than 100 stories in sf magazines, in addition to the ones that make up this book. Their neighbor Harlan Ellison added four dozen more. Good though they were, this was not a way to run a genre, especially one in which the number of magazines was declining rather than increasing. Any three minds were too limited to dominate a genre of ideas. Magazines were filled with B- and C-grade stories. By 1960 a mere half dozen magazines would survive, paperbacks showed little interest in original novels, and Who Killed Science Fiction? was the name of the Hugo-winning fanzine. The trio’s published magazine sf dropped by 90%. Gnome would be similarly afflicted.

Contents and original publication:

• “Prologue” (original to this volume)
• Chapters 1 – 24 (originally published as “The Dawning Light” in Astounding Science Fiction, May, April, May 1957)

Frederik Pohl reviewed the book for the January 1960 If.

There are strange sights and events, but you must not linger to examine them, for the skin of solid plot and thought that sustains the story is only millimeters thick, and if you pause to reflect, you will plunge through the crust.

The Dawning Light, by Robert Randall (pseud. of Robert Silverberg and Randall Garrett), 1959, 25 Aug 59, title #76, 191 pages, $3.00. 5000 copies printed (1530 remaindered).

Hardback. Black cloth with red lettering. Jacket design by W. I. van der Poel, Jr. “First Edition” on copyright page. Manufactured by H. Wolff. Back cover: 32 titles. Gnome Press address is given as P. O. Box 161, Hicksville, N. Y.