A Rediscovery of Clifford D. Simak - A Reading Challenge

Ralf 58

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Among the pictures from Noreascon One in 1971 there are also some where you can see the children of Clifford Simak, Richard Scott (1947-2012) and Shelley Ellen (born 1951). So they were 24 and 20 years old at the time.

simak_with_his_children.png


I think it's remarkable that you can still recognize Shelley Ellen. I found a picture here which should be from 2013.

ellen_simak.png

Source: https://noogatoday.6amcity.com/five-questions-for-the-hunter-museums-ellen-simak/

So she was already 62 then, which means there are 42 years between the two shots.
 

2DaveWixon

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Hello Dave,

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.
For those who do not know: the reason EMPIRE is in the public domain is that Cliff disliked it so much that he not only refused to let it be reprinted, but refused to renew its copyright. (I think I've told that story before, so will not go into further detail now...)
 

BAYLOR

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For those who do not know: the reason EMPIRE is in the public domain is that Cliff disliked it so much that he not only refused to let it be reprinted, but refused to renew its copyright. (I think I've told that story before, so will not go into further detail now...)

It will likely never made into movie .
 
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2DaveWixon

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And that is also good. :)
Has anyone ever expressed the idea of making a movie of "Empire"? That would be terrible ...
Not to my knowledge.
I shudder to think about what might happen if someone made such an offer -- would the Campbell estate have a claim? How good would the offer have to be to make me think about it seriously?

By the way, I'm currently negotiating with Open Road Media regarding renewing our contract with them. There are no concerns with the collections (other than me getting those last two finished), and they are interested in taking more of the Simak novels...not sure how many they'll decide on, ultimately -- except that when I explained to my editor about why I am reluctant to contemplate a new edition of EMPIRE she agreed with me even though she has not read that book. (Perhaps I'm more persuasive than I thought...)

When she brought the subject up, I sent her copies of the nine CDS novels they have not published. If they take all nine, that would put all known CDS publishable works of fiction into "print." She's been reading her way through the package I sent, and has told me she liked THEY WALKED LIKE MEN, so I think it likely that ORoad will take it. And we discussed THE VISITORS earlier, so I think there's going to be interest there.

Does anyone have a favorite among the CDS novels that OR does not yet have? Does it make a lot of difference to you, as readers, whether they're in paper or just e-books?

You can go to Open Road's website to see their catalog of the Simak books they've published.

She also has speculated about putting some of the unpublished Simak (rejected short stories, fragments, etc.) into some format on their website, but there are no serious discussions on that at this point... I think I'd have to discuss the notion with Cliff's daughter, if the idea recurs -- how would you, as readers, react to that?
 
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Hugh

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Does anyone have a favorite among the CDS novels that OR does not yet have? Does it make a lot of difference to you, as readers, whether they're in paper or just e-books?

She also has speculated about putting some of the unpublished Simak (rejected short stories, fragments, etc.) into some format on their website, but there are no serious discussions on that at this point... I think I'd have to discuss the notion with Cliff's daughter, if the idea recurs -- how would you, as readers, react to that?

Hi Dave

(1) I think all these four are well worth publishing, if not published as yet by Open Road (I can't see them on their list) -
in order of preference, top to bottom:
Ring Around the Sun
Destiny Doll
Cemetery World
The Fellowship of the Talisman

I'm afraid, I'm not one to buy the Open Road editions as I'm more than happy with the old paperbacks.

However, I have been delighted by the recent issue of volumes 9 to 12 of the short stories in print form.

It's very very rare for me to read an e-book.

(2) Unpublished fragments
I'd be very interested to read these, and would definitely purchase if in paperback.
I'm one of those who enjoyed and valued reading "A Pipeline to Destiny".

Many many thanks for your work to date.
 

2DaveWixon

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Hi Dave

(1) I think all these four are well worth publishing, if not published as yet by Open Road (I can't see them on their list) -
in order of preference, top to bottom:
Ring Around the Sun
Destiny Doll
Cemetery World
The Fellowship of the Talisman

I'm afraid, I'm not one to buy the Open Road editions as I'm more than happy with the old paperbacks.

However, I have been delighted by the recent issue of volumes 9 to 12 of the short stories in print form.

It's very very rare for me to read an e-book.

(2) Unpublished fragments
I'd be very interested to read these, and would definitely purchase if in paperback.
I'm one of those who enjoyed and valued reading "A Pipeline to Destiny".

Many many thanks for your work to date.
Thank you, my friend.
(I knew about you and ebooks...)
 

2DaveWixon

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Although I gave this list (of Simak novels not published, thus far, by Open Road Media) a couple of pages ago, it occurs to me that readers of this thread might find it easier to respond to my questions if I give the unpublished titles once more. So those nine are:
(1) CEMETERY WORLD;
(2) THE VISITORS;
(3) THE TROUBLE WITH TYCHO;
(4) RING AROUND THE SUN;
(5) COSMIC ENGINEERS;
)6) THEY WALKED LIKE MEN;
(7) WHERE THE EVIL DWELLS;
(8) WHY CALL THEM BACK FROM HEAVEN?;
(9) DESTINY DOLL.

It is of course my intention to try to get Open Road to agree to publish all of these, thus having all of Cliff's novels available in the same place, reader input of the ones they'd prefer to see made more available might be helpful to me in negotiation.
(And, a note: since some of these are fairly short, that might result in a couple of volumes with two novels bound together...)

(At this point, I will avoid giving my own opinion of these books, so as to avoid tainting any value this survey might have...)
 

hitmouse

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Cemetary World and Destiny Doll yes.
Trouble wth Tycho competent but less interesting. I have not read the others.
 

Piman25

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1. WHY CALL THEM BACK FROM HEAVEN?
2. CEMETERY WORLD
3. THE VISITORS
4. DESTINY DOLL
5. THEY WALKED LIKE MEN
6. COSMIC ENGINEERS
7. THE TROUBLE WITH TYCHO
8. RING AROUND THE SUN
9. WHERE THE EVIL DWELLS
 

Ralf 58

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Hello Dave & all,

Basically, I prefer printed books. That's certainly due to my age and my habits. Printed books you can touch, look at, put on the shelf and collect.
What is an e-book, on the other hand? Simply a file. All of Simak's titles have been available as e-books from Gateway for years (I haven't checked now to see if they are all currently available either; but I think they are). Suppose I have all of these e-books. What do I need the Open Road edition for? What's the point of another file?
With "real" books, it's a different story. There it makes sense to collect different editions, just because of the different cover images. And I would also like to mention here that I find Jason Gabbert's book designs quite outstanding.

If Open Road Media decides to publish more books, they should definitely print them.

Here's a pictorial overview:

Published so far in both e-book and print editions are:

allflesh_us_pb_openroadmedia2018.jpg
choiceofgods_us_pb_openroadmedia2018.jpg
city_us_pb_openroadmedia2015.jpg
enchanted_us_pb_openroadmedia2018.jpg
goblin_us_pb_openroadmedia2017.jpg

heritageofstars_us_pb_openroadmedia2017.jpg
highway_us_pb_openroadmedia2018.jpg
mastodonia_us_pb_openroadmedia2018.jpg
special_us_pb_openroadmedia2018.jpg
timeagain_us_pb_openroadmedia2018.jpg

timesimple_us_pb_openroadmedia2017.jpg
waystation_us_pb_openroadmedia2015.jpg
werewolf_us_pb_openroadmedia2018.jpg



(1) All Flesh is Grass
(2) A Choice of Gods
(3) City
(4) Enchanted Pilgrimage
(5) The Goblin Reservation
(6) A Heritage of Stars
(7) Highway of Eternity
(8) Mastodonia
(9) Special Deliverance
(10) Time and Again
(11) Time is the Simplest Thing
(12) Way Station
(13) The Werewolf Principle

Only published as e-book are:

fellowship_us_eb_openroadmedia2015.jpg
ourchildren_us_eb_openroadmedia2015.jpg
outofminds_us_eb_openroadmedia2015.jpg
projectpope_us_eb_openroadmedia2015.jpg
shakespeare_us_eb_openroadmedia2015.jpg


(14) The Fellowship of the Talisman
(15) Our Children's Children
(16) Out of Their Minds
(17) Project Pope
(18) Shakespeare's Planet

I think Dave should go ahead and remind Open Road Media that they are still getting these 5 books into print as well.

So there are still 10 novels missing that Open Road Media hasn't even published yet. Nine of them Dave mentioned above, the tenth is "Empire".

My priority list

I especially like Simak's early novels from the fifties and sixties. Consequently, my priority list is as follows:

(1) Ring Around the Sun
(2) Why Call Them Back From Heaven?
(3) They Walked Like Men
(4) The Visitors
(5) Destiny Doll
(6) The Trouble with Tycho
(7) Cemetery World
(8) Cosmic Engineers
(9) Where the Evil Dwells

"The Trouble with Tycho" is not really a novel for me, but a longer narrative. But I have included it here according to Dave's guidelines. Also: Since this story is not included in the Complete Stories, it would be "lost" if we don't include it here.

Best regards
Ralf
 

2DaveWixon

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News on the Open Road contract negotiations: I'm happy to report that they have agreed to publish all nine of the so-far-not-published-by-Open Road titles, and I've already signed the contract (this is why the internet was created!). It appears that COSMIC ENGINEERS and THE TROUBLE WITH TYCHO will be published in a single volume, as will CEMETERY WORLD and DESTINY DOLL. The remaining five will be in individual volumes.

No decision has yet been made as to whether they will all be in ebook form only -- there is to be a meeting of upper management with the printing contractor, on Friday, at which they'll talk (but not necessarily make that decision). (At that meeting they will also discuss the five Simak novels (from the original contract) that are not yet in paper form.) (Even if they don't print some of them now, the fact that they will be in ebook form will enable me to start pestering them for paper -- a tactic that ultimately worked well with the Collections, although it took a lot of time...)
 

J-Sun

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It appears that COSMIC ENGINEERS and THE TROUBLE WITH TYCHO will be published in a single volume
I'm not in the market for ebooks but I still want to say that there must be others who are and are like me in thinking it's great that you're reprinting those, especially together (since "Tycho" is just a novella). Cosmic Engineers, especially, isn't exactly typical Simak and I don't know that it doesn't hit some like Empire, but I thought it was a blast. And "Tycho" has suffered in undeserved obscurity due to its length and history. Good work and I hope they do well!
 

2DaveWixon

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I'm not in the market for ebooks but I still want to say that there must be others who are and are like me in thinking it's great that you're reprinting those, especially together (since "Tycho" is just a novella). Cosmic Engineers, especially, isn't exactly typical Simak and I don't know that it doesn't hit some like Empire, but I thought it was a blast. And "Tycho" has suffered in undeserved obscurity due to its length and history. Good work and I hope they do well!
I agree with you that COSMIC ENGINEERS is not exactly "typical" Simak; in fact, I'm sure Cliff would agree with you, also -- albeit not in those exact terms.
It was not Cliff's idea to write that book, at all. He had never written a novel, and had been writing fiction for less than ten years (we can't be sure of an exact time when he started writing fiction) -- and that only in short form.
Cliff himself would later say that in those early years he was struggling to learn how to write (fiction, I mean...). He said that in those early years it was easy to be a science fiction writer -- because it was a new thing; nobody really knew how to write sf but the people who attempted it thought it was all wonderful. Cliff later said most of it was terrible, but the writers did not know that.
Cliff had started selling sf in the early 30's, but after a few years of selling to the existing magazines, he seemed to pull away from the field. In later years self-professed "critics" of the field came up with several reasons for that...most of which don't match history.
I've talked of part of this in a couple of the introductions I wrote to some of the Simak Collections I've put together; but basically, I believe that he stopped trying to sell sf because he had become disillusioned with the field. The stories were bad, the editors were bad, and the money was bad.
He did not in fact cease writing fiction; rather, he tried other fields, including mysteries, adventure stories, etc. But he did not do well there. And while he never, to my knowledge, said so, I suspect that he bumped his nose up against the "rules" of good writing that were in effect in those other fields; that is, they were fields that had been around for much longer than science fiction --- long enough that there were more experienced authors there, and editors that knew more about writing -- and magazines that had more money to pay authors.

I don't know how Cliff came to know John W. Campbell, Jr. But I know that at a time when a number of the SF magazines had gone out of business and most of the others were struggling to keep afloat, Cliff went elsewhere; until about 1937, when Campbell, although still quite young, was made editor of ASTOUNDING. Cliff said later that at the time he excitedly told his wife that John would change it all. Cliff began to write sf stories again, and he sent them to John ("Rule 18" would be the first); and Cliff became a regular of that magazine and popular with the readers.

So John asked Cliff, in 1939, to write a novel that could be serialized in the magazine. Cliff was reluctant, but he felt he owed some sort of duty to John. And Cliff thought he might be able to do some of the things that had been lacking in the sf field.

Cliff did in fact do it differently than most serialized sf of the time -- but in later years he came to recognize that he still had not learned enough about writing, and that he had failed at what he wanted to do -- including, he said, writing a story about real people, about regular folks. Most sf stories, he would say, were either hamfisted expositions of cardboard plots and characters created to lay out pseudo-scientific theories, or they featured heroic superscientists.
At a later time, in a truly telling remark, Cliff would say of COSMIC ENGINEERS that "sometimes you just had to be grandiose."

COSMIC ENGINEERS did in fact contain new thoughts, new attitudes -- for instance, it revolved around a female superscientist who had spent centuries in suspended animation after she rebelled against the rules of the society of her time. And a sharp reader will find other elements that would later appear in subsequent -- and better written -- Simak stories.

Cliff would not actually return to writing novel-length sf until the 50's (and for purposes of this essay, I'm not counting CITY as a "novel"). But he came to feel that he had found his way as a writer in the mid-40's, with the stories that would ultimately be collected in CITY.

He made himself into a 'whole different kind of writer, yes. But the seeds of that writer were planted much earlier, and I find it fascinating -- now that I've read so much of Cliff's work -- to see how a few words in earlier stories reverberate in later ones...
 

2DaveWixon

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I'll apologize for not showing up here in quite a while; I've been busy, and I'm sure you'll understand.
What with?
Well, for one thing, the contract with Open Road Media for the nine Simak novels they did not already have, has been signed. As I previewed:
CEMETERY WORLD and DESTINY DOLL will appear in a single volume, in ebook only so far, on Nov. 29th.
THE TROUBLE WITH TYCHO and COSMIC ENGINEERS -- ditto.
WHERE THE EVIL DWELLS will appear in ebook on Nov. 29th.
WHY CALL THEM BACK FROM HEAVEN? -- ditto.

THE VISITORS, THEY WALKED LIKE MEN, and RING AROUND THE SUN: Open Road will be trying something different: they'll planning extra publicity efforts (that will delay those three books' issuance) -- these books will be issued in both ebook and trade paper at the same time, that on next June 6th.

No decision yet on the five other Simak novels that were issued in ebook but not yet in paper.

Finally: I have finished and turned in the last two of the collections.
(They are/will be BUCKETS OF DIAMONDS AND OTHER STORIES: VOLUME 13 OF THE COMPLETE SHORT FICTION OF CLIFFORD D. SIMAK; and EPILOG AND OTHER STORIES: VOLUME 14 OF THE COMPLETE SHORT FICTION OF CLIFFORD D. SIMAK.)

(Note that I changed the name of Vol. 14 recently, but that only to reflect what I ended up doing in my introduction to the volume -- no other internal change was made.)
 

Ralf 58

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I'll apologize for not showing up here in quite a while; I've been busy, and I'm sure you'll understand.
What with?
Well, for one thing, the contract with Open Road Media for the nine Simak novels they did not already have, has been signed. As I previewed:
CEMETERY WORLD and DESTINY DOLL will appear in a single volume, in ebook only so far, on Nov. 29th.
THE TROUBLE WITH TYCHO and COSMIC ENGINEERS -- ditto.
WHERE THE EVIL DWELLS will appear in ebook on Nov. 29th.
WHY CALL THEM BACK FROM HEAVEN? -- ditto.

THE VISITORS, THEY WALKED LIKE MEN, and RING AROUND THE SUN: Open Road will be trying something different: they'll planning extra publicity efforts (that will delay those three books' issuance) -- these books will be issued in both ebook and trade paper at the same time, that on next June 6th.

No decision yet on the five other Simak novels that were issued in ebook but not yet in paper.

Finally: I have finished and turned in the last two of the collections.
(They are/will be BUCKETS OF DIAMONDS AND OTHER STORIES: VOLUME 13 OF THE COMPLETE SHORT FICTION OF CLIFFORD D. SIMAK; and EPILOG AND OTHER STORIES: VOLUME 14 OF THE COMPLETE SHORT FICTION OF CLIFFORD D. SIMAK.)

(Note that I changed the name of Vol. 14 recently, but that only to reflect what I ended up doing in my introduction to the volume -- no other internal change was made.)

Hi Dave,

that's great news. If it all works out as planned, all of Clifford Simak's novels will have been published by Open Road Media - albeit some of them only as e-books.

Of course, I'm especially pleased that the last two volumes in the series, "The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak," are finally coming out. Sure, they're only coming out as e-books at first, but I'm very confident that they'll be printed as well - after all, all the other 12 volumes have been published in print as well.

Renaming the last part "Epilog and Other Stories" is certainly not a bad idea, as it indicates that it is the conclusion.

Dave, I am very grateful to you and wish you all the best!
 

2DaveWixon

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Thank you so much, Ralf.

(Now that the collection is done, I'm looking for ideas on what to do next...maybe I'll have to go back to that novel I put aside some years back...)
 

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