Robert Silverberg is a masterful writer–one who excels at the craft of putting words together. He should be, after spending years of putting down one word after another. I can never fault Silverberg on his language skills, so any criticisms have to be laid on the door of his plots. Often have I sat on his front porch with text in hand, asking why should such skill belabor such a poor concept, but I’m happy to say that in “Death Do Us Part” (a short story published by OMNI Online), Silverberg has managed to come up with a story worthy of his efforts.
Marilisa is 32 years old and has just married a man ten times her senior–it is the future, and everyone undergoes the Process to live beyond the normal four to five score of humans. Her friends think it’s strange that she’s marrying such an older man, but Marilisa just views him as her first husband. Which is why it bothers her when he starts talking about how they will love each other forever.
This is great storytelling, taking a simple idea and bringing it to the personal realm. I wish that more of Silverberg’s stories had this simple ring of truth. The only poor thing here is the ending–once you’ve gotten the emotional impact of the plot, Silverberg searches for a way to stop, but drags it on past a reasonable denounment.
[Finished 9 January 1997]