A Rediscovery of Clifford D. Simak - A Reading Challenge

Hugh

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Messages
1,929
Years ago I leafed through a collection of Simak's stories in the library, and one of them began by describing a chair picking itself apart. I've not been able to discover what story it was.
This is curious - it doesn’t ring any bells with me. Do you remember anything else at all of the story?
 

AE35Unit

]==[]===O °
Joined
Dec 8, 2007
Messages
7,707
Location
Somewhere near Jupiter
This is curious - it doesn’t ring any bells with me. Do you remember anything else at all of the story?
Not really. It was a collection of stories and I think it was the first one. It read something like "I watched as the chair slowly picked itself apart..."
 

Hugh

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Messages
1,929
Not really. It was a collection of stories and I think it was the first one. It read something like "I watched as the chair slowly picked itself apart..."
How about posting this on Booksearch? Others who don't look at this thread might see it and recognise it.
 

Hugh

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Messages
1,929
I believe I did a few years ago...
Ah well...

I'm interested because I've read all Simak's short stories at least three times and this description didn't ring a bell. That said, it's been several years since my last read through, so my memory could be pleasantly faulty. After reading your posts I did look at the first story in about ten old Simak short story collections and none of them fitted the bill.
So, I'd love to see the story identified...
 

J-Sun

Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
5,303
Not really. It was a collection of stories and I think it was the first one. It read something like "I watched as the chair slowly picked itself apart..."
Kind of a wild guess, as it doesn't really fit, I don't think, but it seems possible you might be thinking of "Skirmish," which does have "objects" doing strange things. Otherwise, based on others' reaction, maybe it's not a Simak story. Avram Davidson's "Or All the Seas with Oysters" also has weird objects, for instance, although, again, I don't recall a chair specifically. The line also sounds a little PKDish, though I don't remember him writing in 1st person much.
 

2DaveWixon

Shocked and Appalled!
Joined
Mar 13, 2016
Messages
3,442
Location
Minnesota
I have to say two things about this memory of a "chair picking itself apart." The first is that the line rings a bell for me -- that is, I seem to remember, faintly, that I read a line like that somewhere...but no, I can't remember where.
The second is: I have gone right through all the sf and fantasy short stories in my 14-volume Simak collection, and I can't find anything like that image. (As I'm sure all you Simak lovers know, rocking chairs on front porches appear in a number of Cliff's stories -- see "Brother," for instance -- but not with that particular language.)
(Lest I be misunderstood: I also checked the language in the openings of the Simak Westerns and War Stories in the collection -- not there, either...)
I've been thinking about the Simak novels, although that seems inconsistent with @AE35Unit's statement that it the story was in a collection of short stories...
I'll continue to think about it -- not because I want to, but because I'm sure I'll be unable to stop...
 
Last edited:

Hugh

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Messages
1,929
And it's continued to bug me. In full nerd mode I've now looked through all my pre 2000 Simak collections (seventeen of them) and also those anthologies that I bought simply because they contained a Simak story that I couldn't get elsewhere.
 
Last edited:

Ralf 58

Simak Bibliograph
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
109
Location
Potsdam, Germany
There are good news for Simak fans.

After - unnoticed by many - the eleventh volume of the series "The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak" was already published as a printed edition in October 2021, volumes 9, 10 and 12 have also been available since February 8, 2022.

csfocds-09-earthforinspiration_us_eb_openroadmedia2016_v2017.jpg
csfocds-10-shipshapemiracle_us_eb_openroadmedia2017.jpg
csfocds-11-dustyzebra_us_pb_openroadmedia2017.jpg
csfocds-12-thinginthestone_us_eb_openroadmedia2017.jpg



This means that all 12 volumes previously published as e-books are now available in print.

Here are the 4 new volumes with links to Amazon (US):

Earth for Inspiration and Other Stories: The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak, Volume Nine.
The Shipshape Miracle and Other Stories: The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak, Volume Ten
Dusty Zebra and Other Stories: The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak, Volume Eleven
The Thing in the Stone and Other Stories: The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak, Volume Twelve

Here in Germany the delivery times are already quite long (mid/end of March) In your countries it might be different. The books are also available at Barnes & Noble and other retailers. Check for yourself if it is faster there.

I greet all Simak fans in the forum
 

2DaveWixon

Shocked and Appalled!
Joined
Mar 13, 2016
Messages
3,442
Location
Minnesota
There are good news for Simak fans.

After - unnoticed by many - the eleventh volume of the series "The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak" was already published as a printed edition in October 2021, volumes 9, 10 and 12 have also been available since February 8, 2022.

csfocds-09-earthforinspiration_us_eb_openroadmedia2016_v2017.jpg
csfocds-10-shipshapemiracle_us_eb_openroadmedia2017.jpg
csfocds-11-dustyzebra_us_pb_openroadmedia2017.jpg
csfocds-12-thinginthestone_us_eb_openroadmedia2017.jpg



This means that all 12 volumes previously published as e-books are now available in print.

Here are the 4 new volumes with links to Amazon (US):

Earth for Inspiration and Other Stories: The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak, Volume Nine.
The Shipshape Miracle and Other Stories: The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak, Volume Ten
Dusty Zebra and Other Stories: The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak, Volume Eleven
The Thing in the Stone and Other Stories: The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak, Volume Twelve

Here in Germany the delivery times are already quite long (mid/end of March) In your countries it might be different. The books are also available at Barnes & Noble and other retailers. Check for yourself if it is faster there.

I greet all Simak fans in the forum
Thank you so much for posting this, Ralf!
 

Ralf 58

Simak Bibliograph
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
109
Location
Potsdam, Germany
Hello Dave,

nice to meet you here. So now it's almost done - all 12 volumes that have been published as e-books so far are now also available as printed books.

What's still missing are volumes 13 and 14, both as e-books and as paper editions.

In the preface to volume 11, you told us what the volumes should be called. There also some stories were assigned to the volumes. You have mentioned further assignments here in the forum. If I assume that the last two stories of the City series will be included in chronological order, the following overview results:

Vol. 13: Buckets of Diamonds and Other Stories
  • Buckets of Diamonds (1969)
  • Clerical Error (1940)
  • Infiltration (1943)
  • Lobby (1944)
  • The Marathon Photograph (1974)
  • The Trouble with Ants / The Simple Way (1951)

Vol. 14: Smoke Killer and Other Stories
  • Epilogue (1973)
  • Rule 18 (1938)
  • Smoke Killer (1944)

According to my overview, the following stories are still missing, which should be in one of the two volumes:
  • And the Truth Shall Make You Free / The Answers (1953).
  • A Bomb for No. 10 Downing (1942)
  • The Fence (1952)
  • The Fighting Doc of Bushwack Basin (1944)
  • Horrible Example (1961)
  • Limiting Factor (1949)
  • Lulu (1957)
  • Masquerade (1941)
  • Mr. Meek Plays Polo (1944)
  • Shadow of Life (1943)
  • Shadow Show (1953)
  • The World That Couldn't Be (1958)

Definitely not included will be "A Pipeline To Destiny" (1963), which I personally think is a shame.

So, all in all, that's still 21 (!) stories we have to look forward to.

So, can you make it this year?
 

Ralf 58

Simak Bibliograph
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
109
Location
Potsdam, Germany

Pictures with Clifford Simak, taken at various Worldcons 1962 - 1971​


I had already written this in the Simak Fan Group, but there are probably more people reading here:

While surfing the web, I came across the University of California's site Calisphere: The deeper you look, the more you discover. , which has over 2 million media files. Among them are about 6000 photographs by photographer Jay Kay Klein (1931 - 2012), most of them taken at various Science Fiction Worldcons.

There are also 137 (!) pictures among them, where you can see Clifford Simak!

The site is a bit bulky to use. As a small service from me a few helping links:


All images by Jay Kay Klein (5933): Jay Kay Klein photographs and papers on science fiction fandom

All images with Clifford Simak (137): simak

From this:

Chicon III (Chicago, 1962) simak chicon
(17 pictures, among others with Robert Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon, Poul Anderson)

Nycon 3 (New York, 1967): simak nycon
(16 pictures, including Donald Wollheim, Forrest J Ackerman, John Brunner, Isaac Asimov, Harry Harrison, Roger Zelazny)

St. Louiscon (St. Louis, 1969): simak louiscon
(24 pictures, with Sam Moskowitz, Fritz Leiber, Lester Del Rey and others)

Noreascon One (Boston, 1971): simak noreascon
(79 pictures, among others with Issaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg, Larry Niven, Frederik Pohl, Lester Del Rey)

If you click on a picture, it enlarges. But you can't scroll to the next picture. That means you either have to use the back-function of your browser or right-click on the pictures and choose the option "open link in new tab".

If you don't know the pictures yet: Have fun!

Greetings to all

Ralf
 
Last edited:

2DaveWixon

Shocked and Appalled!
Joined
Mar 13, 2016
Messages
3,442
Location
Minnesota
The photos Ralf has brought to our attention are particularly noteworthy because Cliff did not go to many conventions -- aside from cons held here in the Twin Cities, he generally only went to Worldcons, and then only when there was a particular reason to do so, such as being up for a Hugo, or being the GoH. (I am lucky enough to have a copy of a photo in which a fan captured my very first encounter with Cliff; I treasure it.)

Cliff was not big on travel, and that was probably in large part due to his wife's illnesses... He did not go on vacations, and he left the U.S. only once, sent to South America by his newspaper in conjunction with his work with the paper's Science Reading Series. I don't know if that was simply personal inclination...possibly he felt he'd had enough of travel after a period of nearly ten years in which his employment moved him (and his wife) from small town to small town in the Midwestern U.S. (It's true that Cliff was devoted to taking care of Kay...)
 
Last edited:

2DaveWixon

Shocked and Appalled!
Joined
Mar 13, 2016
Messages
3,442
Location
Minnesota
Ralf is correct in his assessment of the contents of volumes 13 and 14; and I can tell you that I have now got those (last two) volumes largely put together, with only the introductory material to write. And I have promised delivery to Betsy Mitchell, my editor, "soon." (I repeat my apologies, made in this thread earlier, for the delay; I just could not handle it while my wife was so ill, and not until I had recovered somewhat from losing her...)

I spoke to my editor (Betsy) just a couple of days ago, largely discussing renewing of our contract (which stands in good circumstances, since they seem happy with the response from Simak fans over the years of their effort. The main area of our discussion was that of the Simak novels they have not yet published. Those are THE VISITORS, CEMETERY WORLD, THEY WALKED LIKE MEN, THE TROUBLE WITH TYCHO, RING AROUND THE SUN, DESTINY DOLL, COSMIC ENGINEERS, WHERE THE EVIL DWELLS, and WHY CALL THEM BACK FROM HEAVEN? Some of them may, due to their shortness, be published two in a volume... (We are not likely to include EMPIRE, bowing to what I am certain would have been Cliff's own wishes...)

We also discussed the possibility that some way might be found -- perhaps in conjunction with Open Road's own website -- to reprint some of the unpublished Simak in my possession, as well as "Pipeline to Destiny." (Don't get excited; if this occurs at all, it may be a while...) (I am particularly sad to say that because I'm aware of the number of Simak stories that seem to have been irretrievably lost...)
 
Last edited:

Ralf 58

Simak Bibliograph
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
109
Location
Potsdam, Germany
Ralf is correct in his assessment of the contents of volumes 13 and 14; and I can tell you that I have now got those (last two) volumes largely put together, with only the introductory material to write. And I have promised delivery to Betsy Mitchell, my editor, "soon." (I repeat my apologies, made in this thread earlier, for the delay; I just could not handle it while my wife was so ill, and not until I had recovered somewhat from losing her...)

I spoke to my editor (Betsy) just a couple of days ago, largely discussing renewing of our contract (which stands in good circumstances, since they seem happy with the response from Simak fans over the years of their effort. The main area of our discussion was that of the Simak novels they have not yet published. Those are THE VISITORS, CEMETERY WORLD, THEY WALKED LIKE MEN, THE TROUBLE WITH TYCHO, RING AROUND THE SUN, DESTINY DOLL, COSMIC ENGINEERS, WHERE THE EVIL DWELLS, and WHY CALL THEM BACK FROM HEAVEN? Some of them may, due to their shortness, be published two in a volume... (We are not likely to include EMPIRE, bowing to what I am certain would have been Cliff's own wishes...)

We also discussed the possibility that some way might be found -- perhaps in conjunction with Open Road's own website -- to reprint some of the unpublished Simak in my possession, as well as "Pipeline to Destiny." (Don't get excited; if this occurs at all, it may be a while...) (I am particularly sad to say that because I'm aware of the number of Simak stories that seem to have been irretrievably lost...)

Hello Dave,

Of course, that would be a great thing if the remaining novels were still published by Open Road. It would be even better if they were all printed as well.

(By the way, of those that have already been published by Open Road as e-books, as far as I can tell, Out of Their Minds, Our Children's Children, Shakespeare's Planet, The Fellowship of the Talisman, and Project Pope are not yet in print).

I understand that Empire should not be included. We know the circumstances of how the novel came to be and we know it's really not good. Besides, the book is public domain and has been reprinted dozens of times over the years. It's also on sale on Amazon, etc. all the time.

Of course, if the rest of the novels were to be published by Open Road, we can't expect huge sales. We fans already have all these books and it's questionable whether all people will spend money again just to own these editions.

But it would be good if "the whole Simak" would be available all the time, so that even readers who don't know everything yet have the possibility to get these works at any time.

I don't have to emphasize that I would be happy if volumes 13 and 14 of the Complete Stories would appear really soon now.

I think your idea of maybe making some of the unpublished stories available after all is great. Yes please Dave, do that! It's quite clear that these stories are not literarily mature and representative of Simak. But the fans are eager to know what else he has written ...
 

Similar threads


Top