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A Rediscovery of Clifford D. Simak - A Reading Challenge

DaveWixon

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Joined
Oct 20, 2014
Messages
13
Hi Dave,

I am pleased that you found your way to this forum. It's nice to read from someone who knew Cliff personally.

I know that you are managing the estate of Clifford Simak. That is indeed on the SFWA site.
What I always wanted to ask: In the Project Gutenberg[/URL] 5 works of Simak are freely available, which were often reprinted by various small publishers since about 2008. There are Hellhounds of the Cosmos[/URL]" (1932), The Street That Wasn't There[/URL]" (1941), Empire[/URL]" (1950), "[]Project Mastodon[/URL]" (1955) and The World That Couldn't Be[/URL]" (1958). Why this works, why not others?
All the mentioned works have been published from 1923 to 1963. If I understand the United States copyright law[/URL] correctly, it means: If the copyright was renewed, the works would have to be 95 years still protected after their appearance. If the copyright was not renewed, they are public domain.
Are only the mentioned 5 works Public domain, or all published before 1963?

Incidentally, it is recently at CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform published a new book: "The Clifford Simak Collection[/URL]". (The book is still missing in my bibliography[/URL].) Besides the mentioned 5 free works, there are also included "Cosmic Engineers[/URL]" (1939), "Ring Around The Sun[/URL]" (1952) and Galactic Chest[/URL]" (1956). I hope the publisher has paid the fees. ;) Or are these three works now also Public Domain?
OK, let me try this again:

Let me start by saying that answering your questions may take a while, and for that reason I may skim over some of the intricacies I would otherwise put in my answer... (Being a lawyer of sorts, I am -- you are warned! -- quite nit-picky (that's a colloquialism, Ralf; it it puzzles you, please say so.))
The basis problem with those copyrights is that the writers of the 30's, 40's, 50's -- sometimes even later -- generally did not understand the need for renewal. As Gordy Dickson told me, most of those older writers had no idea that a story that had once been published might be able to make them more money at a later time. Moreover, I suspect that if they thought about the issue at all, most of those writers would have assumed that the publishers would renew the copyrights.
All too often, publishers never did so.
That was particularly true in the early part of what I call the Science Fiction Age. In fact, some publishers were so clueless that they never put the (very much required!) copyright notice in their magazines -- in that case, under the copyright law of the time, the stories in those magazines went into the public domain immediately.
In addition, on occasion publishers would put the copyright notice into the magazine but then fail to actually file the copyright application form with the Copyright Office -- again, the story would not be copyrighted, and would fall into the public domain.
(And I'm willing to bet that there were times when the copyright notice appeared in the magazine and the publisher filed the paperwork -- but the Copyright Office lost it...there's just no way to tell, now -- but one has only to look at the Registers of Copyright Entries (the big, BIG books, which can be found in certain libraries, that list copyrights) to realize that those people were quite primitive... Most of those volumes are clearly mere photocopies of typewritten pages, and it's all too easy to envision typographical errors, omissions, etc.)
Eventually, authors learned that they needed to renew their copyrights themselves (and so did some of the magazines, leading to the unusual situation where a copyright might be renewed twice...) But an author cannot renew a copyright that was never created in the first place. And even when everyone was getting better, magazines still, even into the 60's, would occasionally forget to put in the copyright notice (that was the case with a number of stories). (I'm doing this note while away from home, so I can't check my files; but I think that "Galactic Chest" fell into one of those categories.)(I have spent a lot of time trying to dig up copyright information, believe me!)
EMPIRE, however, was kind of a special case: Cliff disliked it so much that he refused to allow any reprints; and I suspect that might be why he never renewed its copyright.
Let me add, finally, that U.S. Copyright law is far more complicated than most people realize -- it has been amended a number of times over the last century, generally having the effect of increasing the length of protection available to the author. But that also makes for more confusion, alas.
 

DaveWixon

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2014
Messages
13
Hi Dave,

I am pleased that you found your way to this forum. It's nice to read from someone who knew Cliff personally.

For some reason I don't understand, when I try to reply to Ralf's post, it appears in my reply box with a lot of URL's added, that don't appear in Ralf's original posting -- undoubtedly something the computers are doing, for some reason; but the only way I can then reply to Ralf is by going throught the box and deleting all of those URL's...
I just did that again, so that I could tell you what's been going on. I'll probably experiment by replying to someone other than Ralf, just to see if the same thing happens...
 

DaveWixon

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2014
Messages
13
Wow! Dave, as we're fans of Simak's works, its a privilege to have you with us then, as you obviously knew him very well. I imagine he spoke about his writing sometimes, and I daresay you asked him at some point which books he was most proud of? I'd be fascinated to hear any remembrances you have on that front. Its a funny thing, but not many interviews with Clifford Simak seem to have survived (at least I've only found a couple posted on the internet).
Well, if you've noted that I had some difficulty in posting a reply to Ralf, then perhaps you'll forgive me for picking you out as the guinea pig if my attempt to see if I would encounter the same problem with someone other than him... It appears I did not. Thank you for your time.
 

DaveWixon

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2014
Messages
13
My copy of Shakespear's Planet:

Curiously awful cover. Terrific book, though. Have read it several times.
wow, that IS an awful cover! I've seen a lot of Simak books, but not that cover -- can you identify the publisher for me?
 

J-Sun

Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
4,889
wow, that IS an awful cover! I've seen a lot of Simak books, but not that cover -- can you identify the publisher for me?
According to this it's an SFBC (UK) variant of a Sidgwick and Jackson.

I'm not sure what's causing the URL problem but one thing you're doing is replying within the QUOTE tags (which may be causing a conflict between Ralf's links and your inability to link - the "no links until a certain number of posts" is intended and is to discourage spammers) and there is a multi-quote option so that you can respond to several posts in one reply and you can edit any post for a period (I think Brian's got it to an hour or so now) so you can fix old posts or experiment within a single one.
 

Ralf 58

Simak Bibliograph
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
97
Location
Potsdam, Germany
OK, let me try this again:

Let me start by saying that answering your questions may take a while, and for that reason I may skim over some of the intricacies I would otherwise put in my answer... (Being a lawyer of sorts, I am -- you are warned! -- quite nit-picky (that's a colloquialism, Ralf; it it puzzles you, please say so.))
The basis problem with those copyrights is that the writers of the 30's, 40's, 50's -- sometimes even later -- generally did not understand the need for renewal. As Gordy Dickson told me, most of those older writers had no idea that a story that had once been published might be able to make them more money at a later time. Moreover, I suspect that if they thought about the issue at all, most of those writers would have assumed that the publishers would renew the copyrights. ...
Hi Dave,
thanks for the comprehensive explanation. I understand that it is not so easy to say whether a particular work is protected or not. So it depends on whether the publishers have the copyright given or not.

I have now discovered that the central copyright Directory is accessible here:
http://www.copyright.gov/

There you will find 51 entries for Clifford Simak (Important: Behind some entries sometimes hide several works!)
But apparently there are only the works in which have been awarded or renewed since 1978.
If one looks older works, you have to see perhaps here:
https://archive.org/details/copyrightrecords

That's a science in itself!
 

Ralf 58

Simak Bibliograph
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
97
Location
Potsdam, Germany
Well, if you've noted that I had some difficulty in posting a reply to Ralf, then perhaps you'll forgive me for picking you out as the guinea pig if my attempt to see if I would encounter the same problem with someone other than him... It appears I did not. Thank you for your time.
I'm sorry that you apparently had difficulties to respond to my post. Maybe it was actually because I had very many and very long links in my text that you quoted. Sorry!
 

Ralf 58

Simak Bibliograph
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
97
Location
Potsdam, Germany
wow, that IS an awful cover! I've seen a lot of Simak books, but not that cover -- can you identify the publisher for me?
Dave,

you can quite easily find out all the publishers of the works of Cliff. Visit my Bibliography! :):):)



Here, for example, the settings for "Shakespeare's Planet" with the details of the desired edition.
I obviously can not accept any liability that all information is correct. Very few books I had myself in hand.

Another good source is the ISFDB. There are more recently summary pages with the covers. For example, here for "Shakespeare's Planet".
 

DaveWixon

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2014
Messages
13
Dave,

you can quite easily find out all the publishers of the works of Cliff. Visit my [Bibliography[/

Hello, again, Ralf! Forgive me for being out of touch -- I've been heavily involved in what I hope are the end-stages of a project to get more Simak stories into the markets (more details later, I hope!)


Just wanted to tell you that I'm pretty sure I have visited your bibliography in the past -- at least, that screen shot of your logo looks very familiar...
But the kind of information you -- and most other bibliographers -- have put online has not been my major focus, for this reason: since Cliff's death, I've been trying to figure out what stories he wrote and published, and then to locate copies of them all... It was thus of less concern to me whether a particular story had been published, say, in Germany and France and Russia -- than whether a story existed and could be found, so that I could add it to the Estate's roster.
(Of course, all publications of Cliff's work are and will continue to be of importance to the Estate; but the priority was to find all the stories, first.)
As of this writing, I have 141 Simak stories of less-than-novel length -- a number that seems to take into account every story mentioned by those bibliographers I have found...
(Tantalizingly, there are hints in some of Cliff's papers that he might have done a goodly number of other stories. When I say that, I do not mean to refer to stories he wrote but could not get published -- I have about a dozen of those -- but stories that appear to have been sold to a magazine publisher, but of which I can find no other trace...)

I suppose, now that I think about it, that a number of those publications you list in your bibliography were actually authorized by me -- isn't that an interesting coincidence?!!?
I hope to arrange for more listings for you, before long.
Take care,
Dave
 

Ralf 58

Simak Bibliograph
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Potsdam, Germany
Hello, again, Ralf! Forgive me for being out of touch -- I've been heavily involved in what I hope are the end-stages of a project to get more Simak stories into the markets (more details later, I hope!)


Just wanted to tell you that I'm pretty sure I have visited your bibliography in the past -- at least, that screen shot of your logo looks very familiar...
But the kind of information you -- and most other bibliographers -- have put online has not been my major focus, for this reason: since Cliff's death, I've been trying to figure out what stories he wrote and published, and then to locate copies of them all... It was thus of less concern to me whether a particular story had been published, say, in Germany and France and Russia -- than whether a story existed and could be found, so that I could add it to the Estate's roster.
(Of course, all publications of Cliff's work are and will continue to be of importance to the Estate; but the priority was to find all the stories, first.)
As of this writing, I have 141 Simak stories of less-than-novel length -- a number that seems to take into account every story mentioned by those bibliographers I have found...
(Tantalizingly, there are hints in some of Cliff's papers that he might have done a goodly number of other stories. When I say that, I do not mean to refer to stories he wrote but could not get published -- I have about a dozen of those -- but stories that appear to have been sold to a magazine publisher, but of which I can find no other trace...)

I suppose, now that I think about it, that a number of those publications you list in your bibliography were actually authorized by me -- isn't that an interesting coincidence?!!?
I hope to arrange for more listings for you, before long.
Take care,
Dave
Hi Dave,

The logo of my website you may know as an illustration of a French collection of Simak tales. The graphic designer Philippe Gady gave me permission to use the image.


I am very curious if you can give us information about stories of Cliff, we do not yet know.
I limit myself in my bibliography on published printed works. But there are at least two stories that Cliff has written, but they were never published. Further information is available on Scott Henderson's website:
"The Cubes of Ganymede" (1931)
"I had no head and my eyes were floating way up in the air" (1970s)

Because I have evaluated over the years all sorts of sources, I'm actually pretty sure that there are no other stories, other than the published and listed in my bibliography, as well as the two mentioned unpublished stories.

But we should never say "never". The stories "Nine Lives" (publ. 1957) and "A Pipeline To Destiny" (publ. 1963) were forgotten for years. They were missing in the bibliographies of Muriel Becker (1980) and Phil Stephensen-Payne (1991) and were only rediscovered later.

So I am very curious if you can give us more unknown works. !!!

Best regards
Ralf

PS: I allow myself a hint: When replying you can let stand complete the QUOTE-tags or complete delete from [ Q U O T E ] to [ / Q U O T E ]. If you let it stand, write your comments please always behind the closing tag ([ / Q U O T E ]). Otherwise it looks like in your last post. You can not tell who of us wrote which text. (Sorry for my bad English).
 

Ralf 58

Simak Bibliograph
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
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Location
Potsdam, Germany
Once again, something about Clifford Simak. I list all the stories of him which have been published in anthologies of Groff Conklin:
(The links to the stories refer to my Simak bibliography, the links to the books indicate the ISFDB)

Lobby [1944]
in: The Best of Science Fiction [1946]
also as: The Golden Age of Science Fiction [1980]


Tools [1942]
in: A Treasury of Science Fiction [1948]
(not in the Berkley editions 1957, 1958 and 1965)


Desertion [1944]
in: The Big Book of Science Fiction [1950]
also as: The Classic Book of Science Fiction [1978]


Limiting Factor [1949]
in: Possible Worlds of Science Fiction [1951]


Courtesy [1951]
in: Crossroads in Time [1953]



To be continued.

Ralf
 

Ralf 58

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Bick

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I was lucky enough to come across a heap of old Galaxy magazines, and others, in a used book store, for a buck each. I picked up three issues in very good condition, all with Simak stories in them. The stories are Honourable Opponent (1956), Operation Stinky (1957) and Shadow World (1957), which are in the following issues I bought:



Also in these magazines, stories by Sheckley, Sturgeon, Blish, Knight, Tenn etc. Good issues by the look of it.
 

Bick

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Okay, I read quite a few Simak books in the latter half of last year and then took a brief hiatus, just for variation. This year I plan on reading at least another 3 Simak books each quarter. To kick off 2015, I've started off by reading "All Flesh is Grass", and 10 pages in I'm loving it. A fuller review in due course...
 

BAYLOR

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Okay, I read quite a few Simak books in the latter half of last year and then took a brief hiatus, just for variation. This year I plan on reading at least another 3 Simak books each quarter. To kick off 2015, I've started off by reading "All Flesh is Grass", and 10 pages in I'm loving it. A fuller review in due course...
Terrific book.(y)
 
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