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Tom O'Bedlam

Written By:Robert Silverberg - 1985

  • Tom O'Bedlam - Robert Silverberg cover



It is 2103 and Tom O'Bedlam, madman, prophet, and visionary, wanders through California, dwelling place of the last humans on a continent decimated by radioactive dust. Tom, caught up in a living vision of distant worlds ruled by godlike beings, is the herald of a new age, a herald no one wants to hear until others too begin to dream of salvation beyond the stars. Yet while many dream, only Tom has the power to make the wondrous visions real, to give people the ultimate escape they desire. Across the universe they must go... if Tom is humanity's last hope—and not its final destroyer.


"Powerful and evocative... intricately plotted... magnificent." —Washington Post Book World

"Brilliant... intertwines the classic themes of science fiction... succeeds as both science fiction and social commentary." —New York Time Book Review

"A wonderful book... Silverberg's probably unique in his combination of unerring characterizations, wildness and freedom of imagination, and—what is most important—unmistakable depth of feeling." —Peter Straub

"Silverberg is our best... time and again he has expanded the parameters of science fiction." —Fantasy & Science Fiction

"No matter is Silverberg is dealing with material that is practically straight fiction, or going way into the future... his is the hand of a master of his craft and imagination." —Los Angeles Times

"Silverberg deftly develops and intermingles his characters... he writes fluently, even lyrically, of ecstatic experience... He is a master painter of altered states tableau... a master, too, at describing alien life forms. ... Tom O'Bedlam is good reading." —Fantasy Review

"Brilliantly imagined... one of the finest writers ever to work in science fiction." —Philadelphia Inquirer

"He is a master at drawing the reader into times and places of which he writes with style, wit and imagination." —Library Journal

"An enjoyable tale, well told and well peopled." —Analog

"Silverberg's eye and ear never seem to falter; there's an almost symphonic grandeur to the thoughtful way [he] weaves the strands of the story together, effortlessly juggling the various motifs, while enhancing the characters' solidity." —Publishers Weekly

"A very well-written SF novel... For sheer command of the language, Silverberg is near the top of the SF field." —Chicago Sun-Times

"In this well-written and compelling novel, master stylist Robert Silverberg examines insanity, the messianic phenomenon and the nature of godhood—and still manages to tell a great story." —Baltimore Sun

"Deserves the attention of readers interested in both adventure and philosophy—a rare mix." —Los Angeles Herald Examiner

"A compelling parable about faith and hope... Silverberg's special gifts for characterization and subtle, intricate plot construction have never been more in evidence. As readable as Lord Valentine's Castle and as forceful as Dying Inside, this highly recommended." —New York Daily News

"One of the great themes of science fiction... his best novel in ten years." —Kansas City Star

"He has the facility of enveloping the reader in a mood, of capturing his attention until he has quite swept him along, as he says... 'toward the culminating moment of insight.' Silverberg performs magic with the medium." —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Visions of other worlds every bit as alien and beautiful as Ray Bradbury's various Martin Chronicles Marscapes... Tom O'Bedlam never resorts to any old-time SF cliches, and its characters keep the reader interested in how they are going to end up. Silverberg fans won't be disappointed." —Roanoke Times & World News