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City Paperback – July 21, 2015
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“Just about any work by Simak deserves to be considered a classic and City is no exception. . . . A unique perspective on the race of man and a fantastic read.” —SFBook.com
About the Author
Simak was best known for the book City, a reaction to the horrors of World War II, and for his novel Way Station. In 1953 City was awarded the International Fantasy Award, and in following years, Simak won three Hugo Awards and a Nebula Award. In 1977 he became the third Grand Master of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and before his death in 1988, he was named one of three inaugural winners of the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement.
DAVID W. WIXON was a close friend of Clifford D. Simak’s. As Simak’s health declined, Wixon, already familiar with science fiction publishing, began more and more to handle such things as his friend’s business correspondence and contract matters. Named literary executor of the estate after Simak’s death, Wixon began a long-term project to secure the rights to all of Simak’s stories and find a way to make them available to readers who, given the fifty-five-year span of Simak’s writing career, might never have gotten the chance to enjoy all of his short fiction. Along the way, Wixon also read the author’s surviving journals and rejected manuscripts, which made him uniquely able to provide Simak’s readers with interesting and thought-provoking commentary that sheds new light on the work and thought of a great writer.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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Almost every story ended with my closing the Kindle and uttering, "Wow" to myself. I was constantly surprised, caught off-guard, and left contemplating the new direction the author took me. There are also moral issues to contemplate with many of the stories: if you could have paradise, would you grab it at the expense of your human form? If mankind was standing in the way of forward progress for another species and the whole planet, would you make sure the planet had it's chance?
I'm so glad I bought this book and discovered this classic sic-fi author. I can see re-reading this book many times in the future.
“What is Man” they’ll ask.
Or perhaps: “What is a city?”
Or: “What is a war?”
That opening grabbed me when I was in my early teens. It grabbed me again a couple of days ago. The opening of Clifford D. Simak’s science fiction masterpiece, City. It had just been published in 1952, although the 8 stories had been appearing in magazines as far back as 1943. The opening is the doggie editor’s preface to a later collection of what fragments remain from the old tales. Each of the tales is prefaced by notes analyzing and commenting on historical and critical commentary on the tales. This framework is both charming and brilliant. A 9th story, “Epilog,” was added some 22 years later, this time prefaced not by the doggie editor’s notes but by Simak’s own explanation. As nearly perfect as the original was, this addition, in my opinion, makes it even better. Simak says, “For myself, there is a certain note of finality and sadness in the story that I would have been willing not to touch upon.” To me, that finality and sadness are wonderful. The story does bring the robot Jenkins back for a final bit of musing, and somehow it rounds off the work both thematically and artistically.
It is wonderful in one’s latter years to visit something that enchanted in one’s youth and to discover that it still enchants.