Dying Inside: A Brief Summary

Dying Inside is a remarkable novel written by Robert Silverberg that delves deep into the tumultuous life of David Selig, a telepath who finds himself losing his extraordinary gift. First published in 1972, this thought-provoking piece of literature has captivated readers with its unique exploration of the human mind and its themes of loneliness, identity, and mortality.

Plot Overview

The story of Dying Inside revolves around David Selig, a man gifted with telepathic abilities that have been part of his life since childhood. However, Selig’s telepathy begins to fade, leaving him feeling isolated and disconnected from the world around him. As he loses his ability, he struggles to come to terms with the fact that he is no longer special.

The novel takes readers on a journey through Selig’s memories, as he recounts his life experiences and interacts with various individuals who are unaware of his diminishing telepathic powers. As he navigates his challenging circumstances, Selig is forced to confront his own existential crisis and grapple with the question of what it means to lose a part of oneself.

Award-Winning Recognition

Dying Inside has received extensive critical acclaim and has been recognized with several prestigious awards. In 1973, the novel was nominated for both the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award for Best Novel, two of the highest honors in the science fiction and fantasy genres. Although it did not win these particular awards, it remains a standout work in Silverberg’s impressive literary career.

Critical Acclaim

The novel has garnered tremendous praise from critics and readers alike for its profound exploration of human emotions and the complex nature of telepathy. Silverberg’s meticulous character development and introspective narrative style have received widespread acclaim, allowing readers to empathize with Selig’s struggle to maintain his sense of self.

The novel’s thoughtful examination of loneliness and identity has been hailed as a masterpiece of science fiction literature. With its richly layered storytelling and psychologically compelling plot, Dying Inside paints an evocative portrait of a man grappling with the loss of his unique gift.

Memorable Characters

David Selig: The protagonist of the novel, David Selig is a telepath who is slowly losing his extraordinary abilities. As he experiences this decline, he must confront the implications it has on his identity and sense of self-worth.

Carolyn: Selig’s ex-wife, Carolyn is portrayed as a strong-willed and independent woman. She serves as a significant influence on Selig’s life, with their complex relationship adding depth to the narrative.

Susan: A former lover of Selig, Susan represents a connection to his past and the emotional baggage associated with it. Her presence in the story highlights the impact of relationships on our sense of self.


Dying Inside is a thought-provoking novel that explores the challenges of losing one’s unique abilities and the impact it has on personal identity. Through Silverberg’s intricate storytelling, readers are drawn into the complex world of David Selig as he grapples with his fading telepathy. This book continues to be celebrated for its exploration of human emotions and its profound introspection into the fragility of the human mind.

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