Rough Trade by Robert Silverberg
Paperback – PS Publishing – December 2023 – 407 pages
This was my first story for the W.W. Scott crime-fiction magazines, written in June, 1956, probably a week or so after my graduation from Columbia. It has just a touch of autobiographical material in it. During my undergraduate years I had been living in a residential hotel on West 114th St. in Manhattan, a few blocks from the Columbia campus once a grand apartment house, now carved up into one-room accommodations. The other inhabitants of the hotel included such notable literary figures as Harlan Ellison and Randall Garrett, plus an assortment of Columbia graduate students, a few very ancient widows living on pension checks, and various transient figures of uncertain origins. One day as I was coming home I heard furious shouts coming from the building, and when I reached it I saw that one of those transient figures had evidently reached a parting of the ways with her roommate, because her upper story window was open and she was hurling his possessions into the courtyard far below. I still remember the sound the radio made as it hit the pavement.
And so begins this long-overdue collection of criminally overlooked capers and revenge yarns penned over the past sixty-plus years by the great Robert Silverberg . . . each story almost lovingly served up for your entertainment, and with nary a cell-phone or TV remote to be seen anywhere. Ah, those were the days and, folks, these were the stories!