77. The Dawning Light


Robert SIlverberg, Discon 1963
Randall Garrett, Discon 1963

Silverberg and Garrett wrote the sequel to The Shrouded Planet as a single novel rather than in separate novelettes. After the three-part serialization of Dawning their collaboration mostly ended, with a half-dozen stories dribbling out during 1958 including one last novelette set on Nidor, “All the King’s Men,” in the January 1958 Astounding.

Silverberg later wrote about their collaboration.

We worked out the plots of these books together; then one of us would begin writing a first draft (often that would be Garrett) and the other one would revise and type up the final draft. Sometimes we had two typewriters going at once. But Garrett liked to work late at night, and I didn’t; sometimes I’d go to sleep and find a bunch of new pages waiting for me in the morning, which I would revise while he slept. In stylistic matters I generally had the last word; on issues of plotting, I usually deferred to his greater story-telling experience.

Gordon Randall Phillip David Garrett was older than Silverberg – everybody was – and steeped in fandom since his teen years. His first sale was a “Probability Zero” yarn for Astounding in 1944, though his first real fiction went to Other Worlds in 1950. By then he was a fixture on the midwestern fan circuit, a larger-than-life character who appeared in costume in seemingly every photo, wrote humorous poems for every fanzine, performed an endless series of filk songs (“filk” was the fannish word for folk songs redone with references science fiction or fandom), and whose womanizing sometimes spilled out into hallway brawls.

Garrett pushed out three stories a month in the late 1950s, published under a number of pseudonyms and house names to give readers a false sense of variety. Many of the tales have still not been properly credited. Fortunately for him, a dozen different f&sf magazines existed in 1956 to receive them. When the magazine world crashed he turned to novels, again often in collaboration or under pseudonyms. Garrett now has an unenviable reputation as a worse serial groper of women than even Isaac Asimov, though the similarity continues in that both were seemingly reined in by their last and devoted wives. Garrett’s was Vicki Ann Heydron, who wrote the Gandalara fantasy series mostly alone based on Garrett’s notes, a fact she hid just as she hid the viral meningitis that soon put him into a hospital until his death.

Cover art by H. R. Van Dongen

Gnome Notes

Dawning is a 1959 book and so is stuck in the well of confusion about the order of release of Gnome titles. The copyright date is later than Merril’s SF: ’59, but since Dell copyrighted Merril, that’s not dispositive. The first newspaper mention is in fact earlier than a Gnome mention for Merril. The back panels are the same. I’m putting SF: ’59 first based on the assumption that Greenberg would have gotten it out within two months of Dell’s copyright, but I could easily be persuaded otherwise.

If the handwriting seems to be from two people, that’s because it is. The dual autograph is an interesting variation of the other joint autographs by Gnome collaborators.


Frederik Pohl, If, January 1960
There are strange sights and events, but you must not linger on 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.

Contents and Original Publications

• “Prologue” (original to this volume).

• Chapters 1-24, “The Dawning Light” (Astounding Science Fiction, March, April, and May 1957).

Bibliographic Information

The Dawning Light, Robert Randall (pseud. of Robert Silverberg and Randall Garrett), 1959, copyright registration 25Aug59, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 59-9316, title #77, back panel #40, 191 pages, $3.00. 5000 copies printed, 1530 remaindered. Hardback, black boards, spine lettered in red. Jacket design by W. I. Van der Poel, Jr. “First Edition” on copyright page. Manufactured in the U.S.A. by H. Wolff, New York. Back panel: 32 titles. Gnome Press address given as P. O. Box 161, Hicksville, N.Y.


None known.


The Dawning Light, black boards, red lettering