A Rediscovery of Clifford D. Simak - A Reading Challenge

danielus

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Hello everyone:

My name is Daniel, I live in Córdoba Argentina and of course, a fan of Simak. It is really a pleasure and a great joy to have found here so many people talking and commenting on Simak. I haven't read the entire post but I'm enjoying every page.

I read City and Way Station in my teens and it made a deep impression on me, those first things we discover in our “Golden Age” are the ones that last over the years, and somehow forge our character. With great sadness, I realized that what was left untranslated into Spanish would probably never be done, so I decided to do it myself.
In the search for Italian and French editions that would help me in some paragraphs where I could not find an adequate form of translation, I came across Ralf 58's excellent site. Once again a thousand thanks!!.
Precisely he suggested that he stop by here... and here I am... with something that seemed interesting to me to comment on.

In general, the stories that I have found from different authors that later become books, are extended to complete a certain number of pages, for example "Mastodon Project", published in Galaxy in March 1955, which was the basis for the 1978 novel , “Mastodonia”, but in the following case, I found something different.

The story Masquerade aka Operation Mercury (1941) has two versions, the original Astounding from 1941 (about 9,174 words) and a 1954 edition of the ACE-DOUBLE book collection edited by Donald A. Wollhiem: Adventures in the Far Future /Tales of Outer Space (about 7,611 words).

Astounding Science Fiction vol. 27 iss. 1] - (1941) .jpg
talesouterspace_us_pb_ace1954_operationmercury.jpg

The latter is the best known and translated into other languages. It is characterized by being shortened, eliminating a character from the original and all its paragraphs... The character called Rastus, a "Black" as mentioned in the story.
This version of the 1941 original was not republished until 1997, in the book "The Civilization Game and Other Stories", by the editor of several Simak books and the person responsible for one of the few biographies of Simak, Francis Lyall, although he himself says that it is not specifically a biography.
The editions that I found in Italian and Russian editions I looked at use Wollhiem's short version.

I still don't understand why the cut, or if Simak himself had a part in it. It's not a rewrite, but some parts needed fixing and rewriting to "fit" the missing character Rastus.

I thought it could be due to a matter of "Political Correctness" so as not to give an idea of racism in the story, but then it occurred to me that in 1954, they should not have bothered too much about it, and that the cut was due only to a question to limit the number of pages... although it might have been easier to remove some sections without having to remove the complete character Rastus.
Although this cut does not substantially alter the story, it was at least for me curious to find this detail.
It would be interesting to know if the edition corresponded to Simak or if it was just a decision of the editor...

I hope this is of interest and again I thank the post and all those who make it possible for the work of this "Great Master" not to be forgotten.

Cordial greetings from Argentina.
 

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Ralf 58

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Hello everyone:

My name is Daniel, I live in Córdoba Argentina and of course, a fan of Simak. It is really a pleasure and a great joy to have found here so many people talking and commenting on Simak. I haven't read the entire post but I'm enjoying every page.

I read City and Way Station in my teens and it made a deep impression on me, those first things we discover in our “Golden Age” are the ones that last over the years, and somehow forge our character. With great sadness, I realized that what was left untranslated into Spanish would probably never be done, so I decided to do it myself.
In the search for Italian and French editions that would help me in some paragraphs where I could not find an adequate form of translation, I came across Ralf 58's excellent site. Once again a thousand thanks!!.
Precisely he suggested that he stop by here... and here I am... with something that seemed interesting to me to comment on.

In general, the stories that I have found from different authors that later become books, are extended to complete a certain number of pages, for example "Mastodon Project", published in Galaxy in March 1955, which was the basis for the 1978 novel , “Mastodonia”, but in the following case, I found something different.

The story Masquerade aka Operation Mercury (1941) has two versions, the original Astounding from 1941 (about 9,174 words) and a 1954 edition of the ACE-DOUBLE book collection edited by Donald A. Wollhiem: Adventures in the Far Future /Tales of Outer Space (about 7,611 words).


The latter is the best known and translated into other languages. It is characterized by being shortened, eliminating a character from the original and all its paragraphs... The character called Rastus, a "Black" as mentioned in the story.
This version of the 1941 original was not republished until 1997, in the book "The Civilization Game and Other Stories", by the editor of several Simak books and the person responsible for one of the few biographies of Simak, Francis Lyall, although he himself says that it is not specifically a biography.
The editions that I found in Italian and Russian editions I looked at use Wollhiem's short version.

I still don't understand why the cut, or if Simak himself had a part in it. It's not a rewrite, but some parts needed fixing and rewriting to "fit" the missing character Rastus.

I thought it could be due to a matter of "Political Correctness" so as not to give an idea of racism in the story, but then it occurred to me that in 1954, they should not have bothered too much about it, and that the cut was due only to a question to limit the number of pages... although it might have been easier to remove some sections without having to remove the complete character Rastus.
Although this cut does not substantially alter the story, it was at least for me curious to find this detail.
It would be interesting to know if the edition corresponded to Simak or if it was just a decision of the editor...

I hope this is of interest and again I thank the post and all those who make it possible for the work of this "Great Master" not to be forgotten.

Cordial greetings from Argentina.

Hello Daniel,

nice that you found your way to our forum.

Your insights into the story "Masquerade" aka "Operation Mercury" are very interesting. I own a digital copy of Astounding 3/1941 as well as the book "The Civilization Game" in the original. Both contain the original version of the story with the character Rastus. I do not own the Wollheim anthology "Tales of OuterSpace", so I only noticed the difference now.

There has never been a German translation. But I have a Russian and a digital Romanian edition here, and you are right: these translations follow the Wollheim variant. The character Rastus is missing there. I don't know Romanian and only very little Russian (at least I can read Cyrillic letters), but from the structure of the texts you can tell that it is the abridged variant. In the original, Rastus is mentioned twice right at the beginning - and this is missing in the translations.

CPSF-333_ro_196x_mutinyonmercury-bigfront1of3.jpg
x_vs-worldofredsun_ru_eksmo2006_+31otherstories_b.jpg


That the later translations from the 1950s on used the abridged version is easy to explain, because for the foreign publishers the paperback from 1954 was of course much easier to obtain than the original booklet from 1941.

Not so easy to explain, on the other hand, are the changes made to the text. It was quite common in the past to shorten stories for anthologies, so that's nothing special to begin with. But to cut a whole character out of the story, that's strange.

I'm curious if Dave Wixon can tell us something about the background.
 

Ralf 58

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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...)

Hello Dave,

I understand that you are looking for new ideas. If you were to write your own novel, I would certainly read it too!

But for us as Simak fans it would be even more interesting to learn more about you and your relationship to Clifford Simak.
There are already literary treatises and biographies about Simak - the books by Robert Ewald and Francis Lyall are certainly hard to beat.
Have you ever thought about writing some kind of autobiography?

Now, you have already included various memories of Clifford in your prefaces and story introductions as well as in forum posts, but these are of course quite scattered.

To summarize all this again compactly and possibly enrich it with further - so far not told anecdotes - that would be something. So the whole story of how you met Clifford Simak, how you became his agent, what conversations you had with him, how you experienced him as a person, what surprises you had when looking through the estate, what difficulties you had in compiling the material for the publication of the "Complete Short Fiction" up to your experiences with the internet community ...

I would imagine there are some interesting things coming together. Perhaps your relationship with Gordon Dickson can be worked through at the same time.
 

J-Sun

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He might be looking to take a break and that would be the last thing he'd want to do, but I second your motion. I think that could make an excellent book. Agent of the Midwestern (SF) Empire.
 

Hugh

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And a third. I was going to post something along the same lines, but @Ralph58 and @J-Sun were there before me.

However I appreciate you may need the break after 14 volumes, so maybe just a space opera on extraterrestrial assistance for the Minnesota Vikings.
 
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danielus

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Córdoba - Argentina
Greetings to all!

Thank you Ralph for your answer.

Although I'm very new here, and I don't know if my opinion is pertinent, even so, as a fan of Simak I dare to comment that I hope that one day the biography-memories written by Mr. Wixon will be carried out.

On the other hand, these days I was switching to Spanish "Leg. Forst" Infinity Science Fiction - May 1958.

Infinity Science Fiction - May 1958.jpg


I liked it a lot, but the title gave me trouble, although it seems that it should be obvious, I don't fully understand it. I left it as in the Italian edition, “Stamps of the entire universe...” it seems that in Italian it is not so easy to translate either. If anyone has any simple explanation on this I would be very grateful.

Another thing that caught my attention was in "Carbon Copy" Galaxy vol. 15 iss. 2 - (1957) where the story is numbered by chapters up to VII and then goes to the next as IX... could there have been intermediate chapters? Just an editing error?

Galaxy vol. 15 iss. 2 - (1957) .jpg


Anyway, I'm still enjoying page after page of the post.

Thank you very much to all.
Greetings
 

2DaveWixon

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Hello, Danielus:

"Carbon Copy": the only copy of that story that I have has the same problem with the headings as your copy. I believe this to be an error by the publisher of the magazine; and I believe that no text is missing.

"Leg.Forst." is a tricky one to understand.
You see, Cliff had a hobby: he was a stamp collector (stamp collectors are also sometimes known as "philatelists"). (Stamp collecting is sometimes called "philately.")

People who are not stamp collectors may not understand some of the things Cliff put in this story, but stamp collectors will thoroughly enjoy it.
Essentially, Cliff used elements of the hobby of stamp collecting to tell a story of the Earth being changed by the influence of an alien (who is never actually seen in this story).

I won't try to tell you the story. But I will explain that Cliff, as a stamp collector himself, was very familiar with the reference books published for collectors. (So was and am I...)

Avid stamp collectors not only love to collect stamps, but also like to learn about them. (When you get into collecting stamps, you find that there is a lot to learn about them. Many stamp collectors spend a lot of time researching their stamps, usually by using any of a variety of reference works. These are often books that list the stamps issued by different countries, with annotations that describe various aspects of each stamp that might be of interest to collectors (for any of a variety of reasons)).

The annotation Cliff used in this story -- "leg.forst." -- is not a real term used in stamp collection; but it is an clever counterfeit of the sort of annotations often to be found in the reference books (which usually, in order to save space, make extensive use of abbreviated forms of terms used in stamp collecting). The term "leg.forst.," as Cliff explained it, was a way of hinting at the ability the unseen alien had to carry out his self-appointed task.
 

danielus

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Thanks for your reply!

The first thing is to thank you infinitely for your magnificent editions and work on the writings of our favorite writer and to maintain and spread his work, in these times when unfortunately it seems that this literature of ideas and values is lost... with few exceptions.

The numbering in Carbon Copy was a curiosity, since it happened to me with the book by L. Sprague de Camp "Lest Darkness Fall" (1941) that in the Spanish edition they had cut 2 complete chapters and although it was not the case, since this is the original edition of the story, I always have doubts when I find something that calls my attention about the possibilities of cuts from the editors...

About Leg. Forst, was just what I needed to understand it. It seemed to me that I was missing something. A Leg separately was interpreted as a term of a commercial operation:...A leg refers to a part of a multi-step or multi-part operation, as in a distribution strategy... and Forst as: Before, First, Previous ex: The most important task or item. To become a good writer, you must first (forst) learn to spell.

Which gave me the idea of "Distribution First" or something like that... but I think I was getting too confused.

I was also an "Accumulator" but of coins (Roman scrap, Greek to identify and extremely cheap...) so I understand the passion that discovering or attempting a correct identification can give one... and that's where they get complicated the "annotations" and so on... The story is magnificent, it gave me the same feeling, except that I would never have sold a single one.

Very grateful for your response and time, and yes... I also join Ralf, it would be great to be able to know first-hand the memories, and details of which you are the only one authorized to leave them to posterity.

Thanks for everything!

My best wishes!
 

Ralf 58

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David had announced it only 3 weeks ago. Now the new e-books, which are to be released on 29.11.2022, are already listed at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

cemeteryworld+destinydoll_us_eb_openroadmedia2022.jpg
troublewithtycho+cosmicengineers_us_eb_openroadmedia2022.jpg


wheretheevildwells_us_eb_openroadmedia2022.jpg
whycallthemback_us_eb_openroadmedia2022.jpg


So Open Road Media is doing just as Dave described: "Cemetery World" and "Destiny Doll" will be released together. Likewise "The Trouble With Tycho" and "Cosmic Engineers".
 
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danielus

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Hello everyone:
With great joy I saw that volumes 13 and 14 of open road are already on presale, I am looking forward to them, just to read Mr. Wixon's introductions, but the list of the stories that they contain do not appear.

61m0uo3ERyL-tile.jpg


I am especially interested in these 2 that I have not been able to find anywhere:
"A Bomb for No. 10 Downing" and "Fighting Doc of Bushwack Basin." will they be found here?
Could you pass me the list of the stories in each volume?
Mr. Wixon, from now on, thankful to have reached the culmination of this work, that although from faraway places there are those of us who appreciate and value Mr. Simak's legacy.

Cordial greetings from Argentina.

Daniel.
 
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2DaveWixon

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Hello everyone:
With great joy I saw that volumes 13 and 14 of open road are already on presale, I am looking forward to them, just to read Mr. Wixon's introductions, but the list of the stories that they contain do not appear.

View attachment 102840

I am especially interested in these 2 that I have not been able to find anywhere:
"A Bomb for No. 10 Downing" and "Fighting Doc of Bushwack Basin." will they be found here?
Could you pass me the list of the stories in each volume?
Mr. Wixon, from now on, thankful to have reached the culmination of this work, that although from faraway places there are those of us who appreciate and value Mr. Simak's legacy.

Cordial greetings from Argentina.

Daniel.
Thank you, Daniel.

I did not know there are already on presale -- perhaps I may get my "author copies" sometime soon... (not that I need it -- I had to read all of these yet again when they wanted me to do the proofreading...)
But I'm always glad to get news. Thank you.

In Collection 13: Horrible Example // Lobby // The Trouble With Ants // Buckets of Diamonds // The Fighting Doc of Bushwhack Basin // ...And the Truth Shall Make You Free // Clerical Error // Shadow of Life // Infiltration // The Marathon Photograph
In Collection 14: Lulu // Smoke Killer // Epilog // A Bomb for No. 10 Downing // Limiting Factor // Masquerade // The Fence // Rule 18 // Mr. Meek Plays Polo // The World That Couldn't Be

(Although now I'm officially "done" with this massive Collection, I continue to hope that one day some of the "lost" Simak short stories may yet be found -- of course, then I'll have to figure out some way to get them published...)

It's people like all of you who care about my friend's work that has allowed this. I give my gratitude to all of you!
 
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danielus

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Thank you very much Mr. Wixon.
I am glad to know that those two stories that I mentioned were published.
I look forward to getting hold of these volumes and reading these stories with your introductions, for me as valuable as the story itself.
I hope that each volume contains an essay from you at the beginning, like the previous ones.
Thank you again for your magnificent work.
All the best.
 

Ralf 58

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Thank you, Daniel.

I did not know there are already on presale -- perhaps I may get my "author copies" sometime soon... (not that I need it -- I had to read all of these yet again when they wanted me to do the proofreading...)
But I'm always glad to get news. Thank you.

In Collection 13: Horrible Example // Lobby // The Trouble With Ants // Buckets of Diamonds // The Fighting Doc of Bushwhack Basin // ...And the Truth Shall Make You Free // Clerical Error // Shadow of Life // Infiltration // The Marathon Photograph
In Collection 14: Lulu // Smoke Killer // Epilog // A Bomb for No. 10 Downing // Limiting Factor // Masquerade // The Fence // Rule 18 // Mr. Meek Plays Polo // The World That Couldn't Be

(Although now I'm officially "done" with this massive Collection, I continue to hope that one day some of the "lost" Simak short stories may yet be found -- of course, then I'll have to figure out some way to get them published...)

It's people like all of you who care about my friend's work that has allowed this. I give my gratitude to all of you!
I too am pleased that the series "The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak" is now complete. Many, many thanks, David!

@David: One small thing: The announcement on Amazon says that volume 14 ("Epilog") contains 11 stories. But you only list 10. According to my overview, the story "Shadow Show" would still be missing. I guess you just forgot it?
 

Ralf 58

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Another question that David could most likely answer:
In October 2022, the last remaining novels were announced by Open Road Media for June 2023. A cover was used that fits the series design (and which, incidentally, I also like very much).
Sometime in the last few weeks, this image has now been replaced both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and on the Open Road Media site.

David, do you know why? I think it's a bit of a shame because the design, including the fonts, is quite different from the previous series.

theywalked_us_eb_openroadmedia2023.jpg
theywalked_us_eb_openroadmedia2023_v2.jpg

Left: The cover announced in October - Right: The one now used on all sales pages.
 

2DaveWixon

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I too am pleased that the series "The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak" is now complete. Many, many thanks, David!

@David: One small thing: The announcement on Amazon says that volume 14 ("Epilog") contains 11 stories. But you only list 10. According to my overview, the story "Shadow Show" would still be missing. I guess you just forgot it?
You are correct, Ralf. Thank you for catching it. (I may have gotten confused by the fact that "Shadow of Life" is in one of these last two collections, and "Shadow Show" in the other...)
 

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