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Skirmish: The Great Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak Paperback – May 5, 1955


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Publishing Corporation (May 5, 1955)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425038211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425038215
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #926,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 26, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The Big Front Yard is the best (in my subjective opinion) SF short story ever! Skirmish is way up there, too! Mr. Simak is a great writer and describer of human idiosyncracies. He represents an alternative to "in-your-face" factoid reporting, to the less-than-subtle writers so prevalent in this day and age of laxity in education. For more in this vein, read Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons" and "The Space Merchants" -- more thoughtful Speculative Fiction (a/k/a SF) from one of the most thoughtful of authors. Luckily for us, Mr. Simak lived a long, full life; Mr. Kornbluth, however, left this world in his 30s, way before his time!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David R. Eastwood on February 5, 2014
Format: Paperback
Clifford D. Simak (1904-1988) is one of the greatest authors of SF (Speculative Fiction/Science Fiction). His works are often built around interesting premises about alien encounters, space journeys, and altered states of mind, and Simak's specialty is masterfully showing the many facets of his characters' emotional and intellectual responses to their new experiences.

SKIRMISH: THE GREAT SHORT FICTION OF CLIFFORD D. SIMAK (1977) contains an excellent Foreword by Simak in which he discusses his writing and tells us which four of these ten stories are his own favorites.

The ten works of this collection--seven short stories and three short novels--are "Huddling Place" and "Desertion" (both 1944; both included in Simak's book CITY); "Skirmish" (1950); "Good Night, Mr. James" (1951); "The Sitters" (1958); THE BIG FRONT YARD (1958; won a Hugo Award in 1959, and I suspect that it was the origin of the star-gate idea in science fiction); ALL THE TRAPS OF EARTH (1960); THE THING IN THE STONE (1970); "The Autumn Land" (1971); and "The Ghost of a Model T" (1975).

My own two special favorites in this collection are "Desertion" and THE THING IN THE STONE. "Desertion," which I first read several decades ago and have reread at least twice since then, is a wonderful story of a man and his elderly dog ... on the planet Jupiter. In barely a dozen pages, Simak's narrative arouses several deep emotions in its readers and also provides them with several deep thoughts to ponder in relation to their own future lives, as well as those of the story's central characters.

THE THING IN THE STONE is almost four times longer than "Desertion" but is equally powerful.
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Format: Paperback
Skirmish - Clifford D. Simak [589 2014-02-11]

"Skirmish"(1977) is a collection of ten stories by the noted science-fiction author Clifford Simak (1904-88). The stories were all previously published during years 1944-75.

In addition to the stories there is a very informative 5-page author's forward. Simak details the themes he uses, the type of characters that appeal to him and his use of southwest Wisconsin as a local for many of his stories.

The following are comments on the stories in the order they appear in the book:

"Huddling Place"(1944) and "Desertion"(1944) may be familiar to some readers since they are chapters from the author's future history novel "City". The stories can be enjoyed individually but interested readers should read them again in the context of the book "City".

"Skirmish"(1950) originally published under the title "Bathe Your Bearings in Blood" features a newspaper editor as the protagonist - interestingly that was author Simak's day job for most of his working life. Alien beings animate machines - typewriter, sewing machine etc prior to an outright invasion and the subjugating of mankind. This 60 plus year old story has not aged well.

"Good Night, Mr. James"(1951) a vicious alien being is let loose in a Midwestern city and must be apprehended before they reproduce. A nasty twist of fate for the protagonist awaits readers in the stories last sentence.

"The Sitters"(1958) the location for this thoughtful story of human aging and benevolent alien beings is the town Millville - a local used frequently in Simak's fiction and the name of the town where he was raised.

"The Big Front Yard"(1958) this story won the Hugo award for best novelette published during 1958.
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