A Rediscovery of Clifford D. Simak - A Reading Challenge

dask

dark and stormy knight
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The first book I read by Simak was Out of Their Minds I purchased it at a store called Grand Central in the early eighties. Admittedly the cover illustration b y Kelly Freas is what initially drew my attention. Upon reading, I discovered ingenious concepts presented in prosaic prose with a solid dose of humor. I was hooked.
View attachment 74302
That cover is a an oldie.:cool:
Here's mine before the price doubled:
OutOfTheirMinds.jpeg
 

The Scribbling Man

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Not long ago I finished re-reading City in the form of audiobook. I think my feelings for it remain the same. I like most of the first chunk, but feel like it becomes a bit indulgent in the later stories. It's a book I really want to like more than I do, because I love the premise. (spoilers incoming) I also have issues with some plot elements, such as the glorification of Jenkins (who can be traced back as being responsible for the decline of the human race) and the crazy notion that humanity loses the Juwain philosophy due to one census-taker losing what is apparently the only copy (I can't really get my head around there being only one census taker and only one copy - and if there was one copy, why carry it around with you???). I will no doubt return to it again at some stage, but if my feelings haven't changed on a 2nd read I don't know if they ever will.

Currently reading Lyall's "An Affectionate Appreciation". Even though I've read 17 Simak novels and two short story collections, somehow I still feel like I'm lacking context for some of the observations. I'm over-cautious of spoilers so have decided to pause and read A Heritage of Stars and Highway To Eternity before carrying on (both of which have been brought up a few times in the book).

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DanO

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I have a sizable collection of Simak's works, but am lacking the following four short stories. I'd like to read these, but #1 and #4 have never been reprinted to my knowledge, and #2 and #3 would cost me $100 or more to purchase the hardbound books that they're contained in.
Does anyone have any other sources for any of these four stories?

"Clerical Error"
Astounding, Aug. 1940
Never reprinted.

"Infiltration"
Science Fiction Stories, July 1943
Reprinted in Physician to the Universe - The Collected Stories of Clifford D. Simak Vol. 2 (only 500 copies)
This may be available as an expensive hardbound book on Amazon.

"Lobby"
Astounding Science Fiction, April 1944
Reprinted in The Best of Science Fiction (1963) and The Golden Age of Science Fiction (1980), both ed. by Groff Conklin
One of these reprints may also be available as an expensive hardbound book on Amazon.

"A Pipeline to Destiny"
HKLPLOD #4, Summer 1963
Never reprinted, as far as I know.
 

2DaveWixon

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I have a sizable collection of Simak's works, but am lacking the following four short stories. I'd like to read these, but #1 and #4 have never been reprinted to my knowledge, and #2 and #3 would cost me $100 or more to purchase the hardbound books that they're contained in.
Does anyone have any other sources for any of these four stories?

"Clerical Error"
Astounding, Aug. 1940
Never reprinted.

"Infiltration"
Science Fiction Stories, July 1943
Reprinted in Physician to the Universe - The Collected Stories of Clifford D. Simak Vol. 2 (only 500 copies)
This may be available as an expensive hardbound book on Amazon.

"Lobby"
Astounding Science Fiction, April 1944
Reprinted in The Best of Science Fiction (1963) and The Golden Age of Science Fiction (1980), both ed. by Groff Conklin
One of these reprints may also be available as an expensive hardbound book on Amazon.

"A Pipeline to Destiny"
HKLPLOD #4, Summer 1963
Never reprinted, as far as I know.

Perhaps this will help?
"Clerical Error," "Infiltration," and "Lobby" are all scheduled to be published (soon, I hope) in vol. 13 of my collection: v. 13 of the Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak: Buckets of Diamonds and other stories -- it will be published by Open Road Media.
(I owe apologies to all for my tardiness if getting volumes 13 and 14 finished -- I've had a bad few years...)
Those are to be the last two volumes of the Collection.

As for "A Pipeline to Destiny:" that story will not appear in any volume of the collection.
I have read the story, in a xerox someone was good enough to send me. But I made the decision not to include it simply because it was not a piece of professional-level fiction. That story only appeared in a small-market fanzine, and it has never been reprinted. As far as I've been able to find out, Cliff Simak simply gave the story to someone he met at a convention. It's not very good.

(I also have a number of unpublished stories and fragments that were in Cliff's files when he died. Some of those, I know, from Cliff's notes and journals, were finished, submitted, refused, and returned to him. I also know that a few stories that were mentioned in his journals were in fact sold...but as far as I can find, they were never published in any publication I've been able to find.)
(It is unfortunately the case that in the earliest part of his writing career, Cliff had to pick up and move frequently -- and it's likely that some of his writings (whether returned originals or carbon copies), as well as notes and journals, were lost in those moves. And it might be, too, that some stories were sold but were published under a pseudonym -- Cliff never submitted stories under pseudonyms, but it was not unusual (and particularly in the Westerns markets) for stories to be published under names that the authors did not put on them...and other writers are known to have had stories published under "house name.")(A lot of Cliff's stories were published under titles he had not put on them -- editors did that sort of thing a lot -- but I'm not aware of any stories he wrote having been published under other names...)

To be clear, then, there were some stories that Cliff wrote (or started to write) but never submitted, or that he wrote and submitted but never sold; some of them I have, but some I know of only from the journals. And there were several stories mentioned in Cliff's journals as having been sold -- but there is no subsequent information about whether they were returned or published...I wish I had those, but I've had no success in tracking them down, despite years of trying.
"Pipeline" was never sold, was published only once in an amateur forum -- and I just cannot see including it in the Collection I have been assembling.
 

Piman25

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Perhaps this will help?
"Clerical Error," "Infiltration," and "Lobby" are all scheduled to be published (soon, I hope) in vol. 13 of my collection: v. 13 of the Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak: Buckets of Diamonds and other stories -- it will be published by Open Road Media.
(I owe apologies to all for my tardiness if getting volumes 13 and 14 finished -- I've had a bad few years...)
Those are to be the last two volumes of the Collection.

As for "A Pipeline to Destiny:" that story will not appear in any volume of the collection.
I have read the story, in a xerox someone was good enough to send me. But I made the decision not to include it simply because it was not a piece of professional-level fiction. That story only appeared in a small-market fanzine, and it has never been reprinted. As far as I've been able to find out, Cliff Simak simply gave the story to someone he met at a convention. It's not very good.

(I also have a number of unpublished stories and fragments that were in Cliff's files when he died. Some of those, I know, from Cliff's notes and journals, were finished, submitted, refused, and returned to him. I also know that a few stories that were mentioned in his journals were in fact sold...but as far as I can find, they were never published in any publication I've been able to find.)
(It is unfortunately the case that in the earliest part of his writing career, Cliff had to pick up and move frequently -- and it's likely that some of his writings (whether returned originals or carbon copies), as well as notes and journals, were lost in those moves. And it might be, too, that some stories were sold but were published under a pseudonym -- Cliff never submitted stories under pseudonyms, but it was not unusual (and particularly in the Westerns markets) for stories to be published under names that the authors did not put on them...and other writers are known to have had stories published under "house name.")(A lot of Cliff's stories were published under titles he had not put on them -- editors did that sort of thing a lot -- but I'm not aware of any stories he wrote having been published under other names...)

To be clear, then, there were some stories that Cliff wrote (or started to write) but never submitted, or that he wrote and submitted but never sold; some of them I have, but some I know of only from the journals. And there were several stories mentioned in Cliff's journals as having been sold -- but there is no subsequent information about whether they were returned or published...I wish I had those, but I've had no success in tracking them down, despite years of trying.
"Pipeline" was never sold, was published only once in an amateur forum -- and I just cannot see including it in the Collection I have been assembling.
As always looking forward to the next installments.
 

2DaveWixon

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Further on "Pipeline to Destiny:"
I finally located my notes on that story, as well as the copy someone sent me -- so I can give you a little more of the specifics...
The story was (only) published in 1963, in a small circulation fanzine that didn't stick around. The editor explained that Cliff had given it to him, but he did not say why or how it happened...
That publication included a signed note from Cliff, explaining that he had found the story in a drawer. He said he no longer recalled anything at all about it, but he thought it was about 25 years old -- which would mean it was written sometime around 1938.
He also said he had no interest in getting it published; he said a lot of the ideas in it had been used in his later stories, and that in any case it was not finished (and never would be). (NOTE: The editor of the fanzine disagreed, saying that in his opinion it was a good story, and that it had an ending.)
Having read it myself, I think that while it might have been publishable in the market of the thirties, it was not so in context of later science fiction. Among other things, it had no action...
But here's the main thing: Cliff was absolutely right in indicating that the story contained the germs of ideas that appeared in subsequent stories -- above all, a number of themes that would appear in the CITY stories. (From that point of view alone, I will preserve the story, in the interest of scholarship...)
 

The Scribbling Man

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Been offline for a while for a variety of reasons. Since I was last present here I have been reading Lyall's "Appreciation", but stopped temporarily to avoid spoilers. I've finished A Heritage of Stars, Brother and Other Stories, and reread Time and Again.

I am now reading Special Deliverance for the first time.
 

tinkerdan

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I've been re-reading his work--partly because there are a lot of his being put on kindle now and often on sale for 1.99.
But that hasn't stopped me from getting some hard copies.

One thing I notice is that--for me--they seem to have survived the test of time.
It might be because he is heavily social science fiction.
One of his main themes seems to be humanity that lacks humanity.
With Robots and dogs displaying more humanity than man.

Even his uber-men seem often by the end to hold more humanity than his fellows.

I've just gotten in a couple of his fantasies--eager to see how they fare.
 

The Scribbling Man

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Am I allowed to post a link to my review of Special Deliverance or would that go against self-promotion rules?
 

The Scribbling Man

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^^ still uncertain of the above. If any of this does go against rules then apologies in advance and I will happily remove links and post separately here... just would require some reformatting.

I'm continuing to read/reread Simak on a relatively regular basis, and trying to be more consistent at putting together a write-up for each one (even if it's brief). Some more recent excursions (spoiler-free... or at least vague):

Brother and Other Stories
Special Deliverance
Highway of Eternity

I also reread Way Station recently, but I've not yet been able to collect my thoughts on that one. I reread Time and Again for a 2nd time as well, which I think may have been solidified as my favourite Simak novel. I got the kindle version of Time Quarry as that is essentially an early version of the story, and apparently features a different ending... really looking forward to giving that a go sometime.

I recently evaluated and noted that I have the following novels/novellas left to read for the first time (and I own copies of all, except for 3):

  • Where the Evil Dwells
  • Fellowship of the Talisman
  • Enchanted Pilgrimage
  • The Trouble with Tycho
  • Out of their Minds
  • Shakespeare's Planet
  • Catface/Mastodonia
  • The Visitors
  • The Creator

...though there are many I would like to return to. I have also been less travelled with Simak's short fiction, though I am trying to rectify that. Currently I am reading The Marathon Photograph and Other Stories. I wasn't particularly keen on the first story, "The Birch Clump Cylinder", but I loved the second one: "The Whistling Well". Great stuff. The title story and "Grotto of the Dancing Deer" remain.
 

2DaveWixon

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"The Birch Clump Cylinder" is in vol. 7 of my Simak collections (A Death in the House and other stories).
I just re-read it, because you guys brought it back to mind. I liked it... Again.
Really, it's prototypical Simak: people going to the stars from a backwoods place that hides a secret...that involves time travel...

The flavor is pure Simak.
 

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