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Saturday, July 9, 2016

A MIND WORTH KNOWING

"Before Man goes to the Stars, he should learn how to live on the Earth."
 - Clifford D. Simak

"These are the stories the Dogs tell when the fires burn high and the winds blow from the North.

'What was Man?' they will ask.  or   'What was War?'"
 - Clifford D. Simak

  
City, a patch-work novel of  eight short stories written from 1944-1951, 

was a hauntingly beautiful series of tales told by intelligent dogs and robots about the legends of long gone humans. 

You just don’t get more sense of wonder than that.

Clifford D, Simak wrote a different kind of science fiction. 

A kinder, gentler science fiction. 

His characters were adults, ordinary people from the mid-west, 

and his stories often had the feel of small any town America. 


 In 1965, Mr. Simak wrote ALL FLESH IS GRASS ...

which doesn't even have an entry in Wikipedia!!  

As you can see from the cover, it details the story of a small town placed under an invisible dome.

Like King's UNDER THE DOME

it tells how being cut off from the world makes people act different, and of course, there’s the mystery of who put the dome over the town and why?

Simak was honored by fans 3 times with Hugo Awards and the Science Fiction Writers of America made him their 3rd Grand Master.

It's hard to believe Stephen King never heard of him.  He heard of John D. MacDonald.  Sigh.



Decades before Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (1990), MASTODONIA (1978) was published.  

It has the feel of something written in the 1950's, full of wonder and awe. 

It is a charming wonderful tale of time travel. 

Simak's characters are always so engaging and full of life, 

it makes the simplest of them lovable and almost tangible -- even the strange entity that is Catface.

I am currently listening to it on audio book.

 A Novel of Lost Souls ...

Robots refused entry into Catholicism, search out the most remote planet they can find at the rim of the galaxy: End of Nothing.

They labor for 1000 years, building their own vast computerized Pope, dumping into him all the data their "sensitive humans" have found throughout the galaxy with their mental probings.

Enter two human lost souls:

One, Tennyson, a Doctor on the run from a political upheaval on his planet, 

The other, Jill, a reporter looking for the story of her life.

Then, the unthinkable happens, one of the sensitives says she has discovered the literal Heaven!

Murder, betrayal, and intrigue follow.

 Best of all in this cast of charmers are some wonderfully Simak-ian robots: 

a beguilingly crusty electronic Pope and his splendidly idiosyncratic robot Cardinals. 

Mark of Goodreads says of it: 

"Simak's books have such a gentle folksy voice, as if Prairie Home Companion decided to write science fiction."

***
 “It's just a bow and arrow, but it's not a laughing matter. It might have been at one time, 

but history takes the laugh out of many things.

 If the arrow is a joke, so is the atom bomb, 

so is the sweep of disease laden dust that wipes out whole cities, 

so is the screaming rocket that arcs and falls ten thousand miles away and kills a million people.” 
***

WHY DON'T YOU GIVE CLIFFORD D SIMAK A TRY?

These are the stories the Dogs tell, when the fires burn high and the wind is from the north.
Read more at: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/897548

20 comments:

  1. I haven't heard of him either, even though I used to be a huge sci fi fan years ago. But at least I'm in good company with Mr King. :)

    Susan at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

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    1. I discovered him by the title of one of his books I spotted as a young boy prowling the aisles in the library: TIME IS THE SIMPLEST THING. :-)

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  2. Some classic science fiction there. Ironic King never heard of Simak's story.

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    1. Perhaps Mr. King was not much of a sci fi fan?

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  3. I have read Clifford Simak, Roland, at least a couple or more of his novels. Yes, they have a gentler tone than most space operas or epics, but he spoke of universal truths. I second your recommendations. His stories and Asimov's older stories both show a different understanding of societies in the time they were written. I read him years ago, when I was trying to read every science fiction author I could find at our local library. I've not read all of King's books, either, only what appeals to me.

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    1. Yes, he did, indeed, speak of universal truths and advocated a kindness towards those around us that is missing today in most of today's bestsellers. :-(

      Like you, I found him at our local library. I have only read a very few of King's books. His worlds are usually too cold and cruel for me.

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  4. City sounds very intriguing...and I love the cover!

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    1. It is fascinating, and that is the best cover I have seen for it. TIME IS THE SIMPLEST THING may be his best. :-)

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  5. Well, I do love Small Town America books. Right now I'm reading a novel about Julia Grant (Mrs. Ulysses) and I know she will be encountering Mark Twain before long. Then I'm moving on the Gore Vidal's BURR. But, who knows?

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    1. Gore Vidal has quite the way with words -- I like his essays better than his fiction though. I think you would like the heart of Simak. :-)

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  6. I have to be honest, I've never heard of Clifford Simak before, but I'm pretty intrigued now.

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    1. Project Pope has a strong woman character. It is an intriguing concept, too.

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  7. Oh my goodness, Roland. Simak is one of my absolute favorite of the "old school" SciFi writers. I think my hubby and I have just about everything he wrote. His alternate history novels that incorporate goblins and such are so different from other fantasy. Then there's traveling to the stars. As I writer he didn't think it would ever be possible for us earthlings to reach other planets, so in his books it's about teleportation in various forms. Love, love, love Simak.

    Really? King never heard of him?

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    1. We are just now finding out how space travel has harmed our own astronaunts. Simak may have been right after all!

      THE ENCHANTED PILIGRAMIGE (Where the Evil Dwells) and THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE TALISMAN were great alternate history fantasies, weren't they?

      I am disappointed that his THEY WALKED LIKE MEN is not out in audio book format. That one had a truly creepy way for aliens to take over the world: they bought it!

      I cannot understand how King did not know of him either!

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  8. This author is fascinating, so why is he not on my bookshelf? Guess I'll have to remedy that. I feel as though I've just had another "reticular activation" moment here today, Roland. Now when I'm out and about, I'll see Simak everywhere.

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    1. Take a chance on him, Lee. I think you would like MASTODONIA -- which I am currently enjoying in audio. A time-traveling dog, a long lost love returning, and childhood friends re-united. :-)

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  9. Looks like some fascinating stuff. I enjoyed the quote at the beginning.

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    1. I thought you might. Simak has heart and imagination -- a great combination!

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  10. Sounds like something very different. Thanks for the recommendation!

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    1. He is different: warm where many modern authors are cold. :-)

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