A Rediscovery of Clifford D. Simak - A Reading Challenge

J-Sun

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Just came across this and thought it was interesting: A Way Station Into Science Fiction

Warning, she's still jazzed about the Hugo awards fallout but she eventually gets to Simak. The whole thing's kind of interesting but most folks will probably want to search down to "I decided this would be about Simak in general and Way Station in particular" or even "Anyway, like all human beings, I immediately developed favorites" and go from there. Plus, hey, thread bump. :)
 

Bick

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Thanks J-Sun. I have another Simak on the TBR pile coming up, so this will get a revisit. She's spot on about the non-macho protagonists in Simak.
 

LoZioOscuro

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Just came across this and thought it was interesting: A Way Station Into Science Fiction

Warning, she's still jazzed about the Hugo awards fallout but she eventually gets to Simak. The whole thing's kind of interesting but most folks will probably want to search down to "I decided this would be about Simak in general and Way Station in particular" or even "Anyway, like all human beings, I immediately developed favorites" and go from there. Plus, hey, thread bump. :)

Yes, an interesting post including interesting perspectives not very commonly associated to Simak. Noteworth to see a woman, bon out of USA, SF writer, writing about Simak; I guess those particularities contributed to the unusual perspectives.
Thank you J-sun.
Roberto
 

Ralf 58

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There are good news. In Amazon, a new anthology is announced for the fall:

I Am Crying All Inside and Other Stories: The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak, Volume One

51fm0ysIYGL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg


This is remarkable in many ways:

1. In recent years, only anthologies have been published in English, which the same stories again and again contained. (Namely the stories that are "public domain" and are published in Project Gutenberg). This time there are certainly other Stories.

2. There seems to be a whole series. The subtitle gives hope that this time really all short stories are published. The last attempt 10 years ago, unfortunately, remained unfinished. (see Eternity Lost - The Collected Stories of Clifford D. Simak Vol. 1 and Physician to the Universe - The Collected Stories of Clifford D. Simak Vol. 2)

3. Even for the first volume is announced that a previously unpublished story is included: "I Had No Head and My Eyes Were Floating Way Up in the Air".
This story Clifford Simak given to Harlan Ellison in the 1970s for publication in the anthology "The Last Dangerous Visions". As is known, this anthology has not appeared until now. Apparently, the agent of the Estate of Clifford Simak has returned the rights to this story. (The book is in fact published by the author's agent Dave Wixon who wrote here recently in the forum.)
 

J-Sun

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I made this happen. (Or Bick made me make it happen.) I was delighted to just get a couple of Simak collections in the mail so the universe had to move quickly to make my purchases obsolete. ;)

As a guy who spent mucho dinero on The Collected Stories of Carol Emshwiller, Volume 1 and has been waiting for a year and a half for Volume 2 (which I pre-ordered in November of 2013 because it was due to be released that December), I agree with the caveat on the Simak. The problem with multi-volume sets is that you can't quite believe they'll ever actually come out and, if you wait until they do, then you can no longer buy them because the first ones have gone out of print or everybody's waiting and that causes the project to fail. I give this little chance - 10 stories in the first volume is not very impressive, it's obviously not starting chronologically but will begin as just another resort, and it's not from a major publishing house. But here's hoping I'm completely wrong and it makes it.

Appropriately enough, I was going to post this the next time I got a chance so here it is - extensive reminiscences from a long-time fan writer:

City Slickers, Country Bumpkins, Ants, Robots and Mutants, Part 1
City Slickers, Country Bumpkins, Ants, Robots and Mutants, Part 2
 

Tom Hering

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... 10 stories in the first volume is not very impressive ...

Neither is the cover art. The graphic of a shuttle astronaut performing an EVA with a SAFER unit, while nice enough in its own right, just doesn't say "Simak" to me. I would rather have seen some vintage art from an old Simak paperback or magazine appearance used. Surely some of those images must be in the public domain. (Generally speaking, "public domain" would be any work of visual art that (A.) was created before 1978, and (B.) was published without a copyright notice. All works of visual art created after 1978 are protected, even if they don't carry a copyright notice.)
 
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LoZioOscuro

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Tom and J-Sun wrote agreeable with comments. I myself purchased the first two volumes of Darkside's Press series that should cover all the short stories written by Simak, including western and war ones. Fine volumes, under both points of view of paper and cover quality (not the cover art, that's the same for the two volumes and not that beautiful), graphic and error check. The only fault is... they are two only.
I regret very much that the others that should follow weren't ever printed, but not even half as much as the people who had pre-paid the whole series do... :-(
At any rate, let's wait and cross our fingers.
All the best
Roberto
 

Bick

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I feel like J-Sun - its very good news, but also leaves me feeling very slightly frustrated as I've just found and bought a couple of collections tucked away in a used book store in Dunedin:

autumnland_uk_pb_mandarin1990.jpg
immigrant_uk_pb_mandarin1991.jpg


Having said that, I would prefer to have the older collections anyway. These are not supposed to be top drawer volumes, but I think some of the stories in them are supposed to be pretty good.
 

Bick

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Incidentally, we need David Wixon to come back on the forums and tell us more about the plans with the new books - I see he wrote introductions to all the collected stories in the new volume.
 

Ralf 58

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@Bick
The two Mandarin anthologies are already therefore valuable, because they are only in this form appeared (in paperback), each in only one printing. Most stories in "Immigrant" are previously already appeared in other anthologies, but in "Autumn Land" are some very rare stories contain, among other things, "Rule 18" - the story that won the 2014 Hugo Retro for 1939.

@Tom Hering
The graphics of the title picture is really not very Simak-typical, but the content is more important. That looks very boring, but if time really all stories are published, then the design is secondary for me.
 

Bick

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Oh good, thanks Ralf - so I inadvertently picked up a collectors item! It's a really good condition copy too.

The essays at the beginning of each volume are interesting too. They are by Francis Lyall, who collected and edited the books. Anyone know anything about him? He indicates he was a good friend of CDF.
 

Tom Hering

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@Tom Hering
The graphics of the title picture is really not very Simak-typical, but the content is more important. That looks very boring, but if time really all stories are published, then the design is secondary for me.

I agree that covers are a secondary consideration. I have lots of books in my collection whose covers are secondary. And not just secondary, but downright bad. And even that's an understatement.
 

BigBadBob141

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It is nice to have a book who's cover reflects it's contents.
The Ballantine "Best Of....." series is good in this respect.
It used to annoy me when publishers like Sphere used to stick a Chris Foss spaceship on the cover, simple because the book was SF with no regards to it's contents!
 

Tom Hering

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It is nice to have a book who's cover reflects it's contents.
The Ballantine "Best Of....." series is good in this respect.
It used to annoy me when publishers like Sphere used to stick a Chris Foss spaceship on the cover, simple because the book was SF with no regards to it's contents!

Yes, the art for the Ballantine Best Of paperbacks was nice (if a little too much on the traditional illustration side for my taste). The hardcover editions of the same titles put out by the Science Fiction Book Club, however, had - in most cases - pretty crappy art on the dust jackets. Competent, but crappy.

As to Chris Foss, I read this just the other day:
... unlike the majority of his contemporaries [other cover artists], Foss is not a fan of SF, and as such did not read the books he was commissioned to illustrate jackets for. Scenes are rendered entirely from the imagination and as such do not illustrate scenes found inside novels. In this sense they can be seen as vague, or meaningless abstraction – but serve the purpose of creating interest in the books they appear on very well. The attraction is the technology; art for art’s sake.

http://www.sci-fi-o-rama.com/2015/03/23/foss-by-jeff-love/#more-5544
 
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Ralf 58

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The essays at the beginning of each volume are interesting too. They are by Francis Lyall, who collected and edited the books. Anyone know anything about him? He indicates he was a good friend of CDF.

Francis Lyall is a Emeritus Professor of Public Law of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Here are a few (very) short biographies:
Bio on lacba.org (PDF)
Bio on iislweb.org (PDF)

For Bick is perhaps interesting: He was apparently in 1968 for a short time at the University of Auckland!

Between 1986 and 1997 Francis has published 7 anthologies with stories of Clifford Simak:
The Marathon Photographer and Other Stories (1986)
Brother & Other Stories (1986)
Off Planet (1988)
The Autumn Land and Other Stories (1990)
Immigrant and Other Stories (1991)
The Creator and Other Stories (1993)
The Civilisation Game and Other Stories (1997)

marathon_uk_hc_severnhouse1986.jpg
marathon_uk_pb_methuen1987.jpg
brother_uk_hc_severnhouse1986.jpg
brother_uk_pb_methuen1988.jpg
offplanet_uk_hc_methuen1988.jpg
offplanet_uk_pb_mandarin1989.jpg
autumnland_uk_pb_mandarin1990.jpg
immigrant_uk_pb_mandarin1991.jpg
creator_uk_hc_severnhouse1993.jpg
civilisation_uk_hc_severnhouse1997.jpg

The first three books published each first in hardcover and later in paperback. The fourth and fifth book published only in paperback. The last two books then appeared only in hardcover (a partial edition of "The Creator and Other Stories" was published even as a trading paperback).

Many of these books contained stories that were long gone appeared at the time of publication - Some stories have been made since its initial publication in the pulp magazines in the 1940s only by Francis Lyall accessible again!

For all the books Francis Lyall has written forewords. In it you can read that he has visited personally CDS 1981 in Minneapolis. Later they corresponded in writing.

Francis Lyall is a member of the Clifford Simak Fan Group at Yahoo.

Most recently, he has told a few days ago, as he found out in 1988 by the death of Cliff:
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/simak-fan/conversations/messages/4164

The navigation in the Simak Fan Group is a disaster. With this link, you should find some interesting contributions from Professor Lyall:
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/simak-fan/search/messages?query=francis lyall
 
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Ralf 58

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It is nice to have a book who's cover reflects it's contents.

Yep. A good example of book covers with content reflecting is "All Flesh Is Grass". An essential element in this novel are the purple flowers. Worldwide, there are about 20 editions, where on the cover the flowers are presented!

This year, the novel "All Flesh is Grass" has become 50 years old!

On this occasion, here a cover picture show with the purple flowers!

allflesh_us_hc_doubleday1965.jpg
allflesh_de_hc_goldmann1965.jpg
allflesh_pt_livrosdobrasil1966.jpg

allflesh_fr_pb_opta1967.jpg
allflesh_es_edhasa1968.jpg
allflesh_lv_zinatne1969.jpg

allflesh_se_lindqvist1969.jpg
allflesh_uk_pb_pan1973.jpg
allflesh_bg_narodnakultura1975.jpg

allflesh_ee_eestiraamat1975.jpg
allflesh_us_pb_avon1978.jpg
allflesh_fr_pb_pressesdelacite1983.jpg


From top left to bottom right:
USA 1965, Germany 1966, Portugal 1966,
France 1967, Spain 1968, USSR (Latvian) 1969,
Sweden 1969, UK 1973, Bulgaria 1975,
USSR (Estonian) 1975, USA 1978, France 1983

For more information and larger pictures of the books can be found here:
Clifford D. Simak - The International Bibliography: All Flesh is Grass

The gallery continues.
 

Ralf 58

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50 years "All Flesh Is Grass" - Here is the continuation of the gallery of purple flowers.

allflesh_uk_pb_methuen1985.jpg
allflesh_us_pb_avon1988.jpg
city+allflesh_ru_prawda1989+91_+stories.jpg

allflesh_ru_gylym%5Balmaata%5D1991_+immigrant.jpg
allflesh_bg_ml1992.jpg
allflesh_it_operesimak14-1992.jpg

allflesh_es_mondadori1993.jpg
allflesh_us_pb_carollgraf1993.jpg
allflesh_pl_alfa1995.jpg

allflesh_fr_pb_jailu1996.jpg
allflesh_bg_kks5_bard19xx.jpg
allflesh_ru_asbuka2000.jpg


From top left to bottom right:
UK 1985, USA 1988, USSR (Russian) 1989,
USSR (Russian) 1991, Bulgaria 1992, Italy 1992,
Spain 1993, USA 1993, Poland 1994,
France 1996, Bulgaria 1998, Russia 2001

For more information and larger pictures of the books can be found here:
Clifford D. Simak - The International Bibliography: All Flesh is Grass

End
 
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Bick

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Many thanks for these posts, Ralf. Much appreciated, as always. The information on Frank Lyall is very welcome. I should get over to the Yahoo site at some point, but, so many things to do, so little time, etc...

I intend to read a bit more Simak shortly, so will hopefully have something tangible to say again in due course.
 

JaimeRetief

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Simak was, and still is, very extremely popular on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain, City was actually one of the first science fiction novels I read.

I am glad that he is not forgotten.

Personally I've always thought that he had a major impact on Asimov.
 

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