City Slickers, Country Bumpkins, Ants, Robots and Mutants. I Thi nk That’s Everybody . . . Oh Yeah, There’s Goblins, to Say Nothing of the Banshee.

Mr. Simak, I realize that you have done almost everything in newspaper work from printer’s devil to publisher . . . but I know also that you have spent much of the past half century either on the beat, in the slot, or on the rim—then have gone home and written highly effective fiction that same day. How did you do it? —Robert Heinlein, in a letter congratulating Simak on being named SFWA’s 1977 Grand Master

Heinlein goes on to say that the question is rhetorical: ” . . . I would be incapable of understanding the answer and would continue to be amazed.”

Simak was the third recipient of SFWA’s Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award, following after Jack Williamson in 1976 and Heinlein himself in ’75. He won his share of other awards as well: the 1953 International Fantasy Award for City; Hugos in 1959 (for his novelette “The Big Front Yard”), 1964 (for his novel Way Station), and 1981 (for “Grotto of the Dancing Deer,” which incidentally also won the Nebula, Locus and AnLab Awards for Best Short Story); and three or four other ones including the Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award in ’88 along with Fritz Leiber and Frank Belknap Long.

Think about that for a minute. The Horror Writers of America (HWA), who give out the Stokers, define the Lifetime award as “Presented periodically to an individual whose work has substantially influenced the horror genre.” Note the other two recipients that year, Leiber and Long, both fine writers of fantasy, both dark and not. Simak, though?

It’s not simple, as befits a deceptively intricate writer. Although Simak is known for his rural characters and settings, there’s more there than meets the stfnal eye. Author, editor and critic Barry Malzberg (who penned the introduction for the Simak collection Physician to the Universe) says:

Simak had an odd, tormented streak; try “Second Childhood” . . . from early Galaxy. Why Call Them Back From Heaven? is a quasi-zombie novel. Simak is now mislabeled as a gentle pastoralist, the codgers’ farmer in the dell, but take another look.

That’s Simak’s rep all right, and in the main it’s accurate enough. Look, though, at just the titles of many of his novels and stories: They Walked Like Men, The Werewolf Principle, Cemetery World; “Hellhounds of the Cosmos,” “Bathe Your Bearings in Blood!”, “A Death in the House,” “The Thing in the Stone.” Any of those could have been titles written by one of the Lovecraft Circle.

As for the stories themselves, yeah, Simak had his dark side and no mistake. One of my favorites, an obscure little tale originally published in the March ’41 Astounding as “Masquerade” and subsequently reprinted by Donald Wollheim as “Operation Mercury” in the Tales of Outer Space side of his only Ace Double double anthology[i] (if you’ll excuse the necessary clumsiness), concerns two races alien to each other—humans and Mercurians—who would like to find a basis of cooperation, but can’t. There’s no great conflict, no hatred, but neither is there any foundation for friendship. The story, aside from a scene where the energy-based Mercurians dance wildly to the bluegrass fiddling of a human crewman called “Old Creepy,” is melancholy, almost tragic. It might not seem so in the colder light of 2011, but seventy years ago this was pretty dark—especially for ASF[ii].

For that matter, read his 1951 story, “Good Night, Mr. James” (also published as “Night of the Puudly” in the UK and adapted—badly—as an episode of The Outer Limits titled “The Duplicate Man”). This is a profoundly human story, far darker and more layered than “Masquerade.” It involves an illegal clone, a vicious and intelligent alien called a puudly, and a tragic case of mistaken identity. There’s no Yankee trader ready to take advantage of vacationing out-of-towners here, no hillbillies, just the quiet devastation of a human life. Twice.

Even the darkness, though, is tinged with compassion. There is a scene in Goblin Reservation in which the viewpoint character, Peter Maxwell, makes an unpleasant choice based to a large degree on practicality, but also out of a sense of the right thing to do, the Human thing to do. One of the few banshees left in the world is dying, alone and despised. Out of duty, others are holding a wake, but no one but Maxwell will simply sit with it as it dies, company in its last moments:

He walked slowly across the intervening space and stopped a few feet from the tree. The black cloud moved restlessly, like a cloud of slowly roiling smoke.

“You are the Banshee?” Maxwell asked the tree.

“You’ve come too late,” the Banshee said, “if you wish to talk with me.”

“I did not come to talk,” said Maxwell. “I came to sit with you.”

“Sit then,” the Banshee said. “It will not be for long . . . .The others did not come,” the Banshee said. “I thought, at first, they might. For a moment I thought they might forget and come. There need be no distinction among us now. We stand as one, all beaten to the selfsame level. But the old conventions are not broken yet. The old-time customs hold.”

“I talked with the goblins,” Maxwell told him. “They hold a wake for you. The O’Toole is grieving and drinking to blunt the edge of grief.”

“You are not of my people,” the Banshee said. “You intrude upon me. Yet you say you come to sit with me. How does it happen that you do this?”

Maxwell lied. He could do nothing else. He could not, he told himself, tell this dying thing he had come for information.

It would have been perfectly easy for Maxwell to pretend to care for this dying entity, or to reflect its own abhorrence of the human race; it wouldn’t have cared, and nobody else was around to see. But no, despite his primary reason for being there (read the book to find out, you will not regret it), he still could not bring himself to effectively slap the banshee across its face. That might be the human thing to do, but it wouldn’t be Human.

Let me elaborate on that, with your kind indulgence. From a purely practical standpoint, Maxwell would be justified in asking the dying thing (it’s an alien, not a Terran creature of the fantastic) what it knows about the novel’s Mysteries, including how his Other Self had died. He goes there, in fact, with that intention in mind and is frustrated by the creature’s unwillingness to give him the answers he needs. No one would have been angry; no one would have blamed him had he tried to somehow force the banshee to tell him.

He doesn’t, though. Instead, he asks the entity if there’s anything he can do to make its passing easier, and as it becomes more talkative, tells it “You should conserve your strength.” There’s no badgering, no harrying of the dying energy-being, not even anger until, with its last “breath,” it becomes recalcitrant and refuses to tell him anything. Instead, he sits with it as any human might sit with a dying stranger; so that even the most inhuman, unlikeable life form, one with no emotional connection with (and nothing but a mild contempt for) Humanity would not have to die alone and ignored.

That simple gesture of compassion is a touchstone of Simak’s perception of what Mankind means, and the scene one of his most eloquent expressions of how a good man responds to the Darkness surrounding him.

You know something? I’m almost 4000 words into a column that generally runs no more than 2200, and I am nowhere near being done talking about this writer. Not only that, but I have another seven pages of bibliography to present you.

You guys know me by now, and you know I can wax as loquacious as the next guy (assuming the next guy is as long-winded as I am), but Simak (not pronounced “SY-mak” as I said it as a kid, or even “Sih-mak” as I have since then, but “SIH-mik”) was quite a significant influence on my own fiction, and I’ve read and enjoyed almost all of his books and stories. I hope I can pass along at least some of my enthusiasm to you, the readers, but in any case please bear with me; I’ll take a look at a couple more of my favorites and then return you to your regular Grantvillian pursuits.


A million years ago there had been no river here and in a million years to come there might be no river—but in a million years from now there would be, if not Man, at least a caring thing. And that was the secret of the universe, Enoch told himself—a thing that went on caring. (From Way Station)

Not many writers are capable of summing up Humanity and its place in the cosmos. Many try throughout their careers to do so, devoting reams of paper to the task, always falling short. Poets, novelists, playwrights, essayists; all have done their level best to define the Human Condition, seeking and creating complexities, looking in the darkest corners of their souls to find the one identifying characteristic that separates Man from, say, Plant.

Clifford Simak did it in fewer than sixty words. That’s what.

Way Station is Simak at his best, combining that pastoral gentility he’s so well known for with a subtle, but deep-rooted melancholia that makes Ray Bradbury look a little like Ohio Express[iii] lyrics.

Enoch Wallace didn’t die in the War Between the States. Instead, he was chosen by aliens to tend the Terran depot of an intergalactic transport system, which has remained hidden from prying Terran eyes until now, when the Gummint notices that he’s still, y’know, alive, which makes them curious. This is made worse when the body of an alien is disinterred by a Gummint man. There were already plenty of questions being asked—you can’t be 100+ years old and not attract some attention—and things get a little uncomfortable.

Wallace is something of a loner, as are many of Simak’s people. Not entirely, but since he’s more than a century old, that kinda precludes his palling around with the local bowling team. He does have some “human” companions, but are they ghosts? They may as well be, but actually they’re projections of long-dead friends who eventually leave him. The locals are more protective of him than suspicious, but his loneliness is a necessary adjunct of his “job.” His best friend, in fact, is Ulysses, the alien who recruited him to begin with. There is a girl though; mute, deaf, and possessed of certain . . . talents, she is the only one of her redneck family who wouldn’t sell the other members for a jug o’ moonshine.

The crisis (all good stories have some kind of crisis, or they ain’t stories) comes when Wallace, an intelligent man with access to other-worldly science, determines irrefutably that Earth is headed for an unavoidable atomic conflagration. The ultimate outcome is . . . but no, that would be telling.

Artificial longevity, aliens, intergalactic teleportation, and there’s even some virtual reality (a la Bradbury’s “The Veldt”) as well. Those are the science fictional elements, and most any of Simak’s contemporaries could have woven a pretty good yarn from them. Hell, Asimov alone could have kicked it out of the park.

Trouble is that Asimov, however erudite and visionary, had a tendency to create thin, almost wooden characters. In a very real way, his people were there to handle the hardware, to hold it up in front of the reader and (in effect) say, “See? Isn’t this cool?”?

Simak was never satisfied with just the technology. For him, that meant nothing without the human component. He was a rara avis in the world of Science Fiction, at least for his time—an author for whom Character was just as important as Idea. There are lots and lots of ideas out there to be marveled at, believe me: time dilation and relativity, artificial intelligence, alien-human compatibility, magic rings/swords/books, smart-alecky kids who do wizardry, and so on.

Good fiction, though, demands a story not just about hardware or weird beasties but how those concepts affect—and are affected by—humans. Just plain folks. That’s what Simak excelled at. Don’t get me wrong; you can’t take the fantastical element out of his stories without losing the humanity, too. Way Station would fall apart without the artificial longevity, aliens, intergalactic teleportation and so on against which Simak cast his characters, no doubt about it, but at the same time without the people there would be little for the hardware to do.

This really is rarer than you might think. There are plenty of sf writers who are, as we say, idea driven, and more than a few who are character driven. Those who can do both at the same time, seamlessly, are exceptional. Simak leads that pack, in mine own (not-so-) humble opinion.

There’s more to it, although for almost anyone else that would be plenty. Simak’s stories, long- or short-form, are laced with wit. Not just humor, for all that there’s plenty of it to be found (there’s something really comical, if slightly surreal, about Mercurian energy beings frenetically square-dancing to Old Creepy’s fiddlin’), but wit; i.e., skill at engaging the reader and giving his characters depth and breadth. He doesn’t resort to giving them funny hats like so many others do, but instead creates richness and intensity that elevates him away from the level of mere pulp.

In Goblin Reservation (Putnam 1968), for example, he gives us a well-educated Neanderthal named Alley-Oop, alien bad guys who run around on wheels instead of feet, an android saber-tooth, William Shakespeare in the flesh, and a ghost (just called Ghost) with whom the late playwright pals around. Ghost knows he’s a ghost, but doesn’t remember just whom he is a ghost of. You get the idea. Well into the story, Ghost suddenly recalls that he is the spirit of . . . Willy the Shake, himself. Both of them are more than a little freaked out, understandably, and take off running and screaming.

It’s not over yet, however. During the magnificent dénouement of this wonder-filled book, when superb chaos reigns and the truly magical egg is hatching, we see Shakespeare and his own ghost, reconciled and again friends, dancing together in a moment of pure enchantment. My god, what a book this is.


[W]hat I recall is meeting Cliff Simak [at Chicon II, the 1952 world convention] . . . There, sitting with him in a Chicago hotel room, sipping a little good whiskey and talking about ourselves and our worlds, I really got to know and love him. The writers of good science fiction are nearly always bright and interesting and likable, but Cliff has a genuine humanity, something calmly wise and warm that is all his own.

No less a stfnal personage than Jack Williamson wrote that about our subject in his memoir, Wonder’s Child: My Life in Science Fiction (Blue Jay 1984), and I think it sums up Simak’s gift elegantly. “Calmly wise and warm” isn’t just a richly-deserved paean but a goal, a challenge.

From a personal perspective, I can cite Clifford D. Simak as a major influence on my own writing. Without “The Big Front Yard” and “Idiot’s Crusade” (among others) there would be no Gentleman Mechanic from Central Garage, Virginia, no hobos in space, and precious little else of a fictional nature from Yours Truly. One of the great disappointments of my life is that I was never able to find a copy of the first edition of City (which is, after all, a history of the Webster family) for him to sign.

Still, the legacy he left for me and countless other reader/writers in the field is for all practical purposes incalculable. One of the greatest compliments I’ve ever been paid as a bookseller was when a young college-aged customer returned to my table this past year at a local convention and said, “Last year you suggested I buy Way Station. I’ll buy anything else you suggest.” I take only a small part of the credit for that, much as it made me beam for a couple of hours. The calmly wise and warm Clifford Simak deserves it all. I’ll give the last word to a critic and commentator far more articulate than I, Barry Malzberg, himself a humanist of great warmth and skill:

Simak’s work is already buried, but he knew that was inevitable and all of it is informed by wonder in the face of oblivion. What a great writer and more importantly: what a good man.

[i] D-73, to be exact; the other side was Adventures in the Far Future. I’ve written about this little gem in detail in my “D-73—A (Sp)Ace Oddity” column, which is reprinted in the collection of those columns, Anthopology 101: Reflections, Inspections and Dissections of SF Anthologies, available from The Merry Blacksmith Press. Just so you’ll know. Ahem.

[ii] Not all Astounding stories are upbeat adventures about human smart/tough-guys outsmarting hide-bound aliens, much as many people (including myself) tend to believe so. Campbell responded to darkness as well, as he proved only too well with Tom Godwin’s “The Cold Equations” among others. A good story is a good story, regardless of tone.

[iii] They recorded “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” back in 1968, the same year Frank Zappa released his Sgt. Pepper parody, We’re Only In It for the Money. Rock ‘n’ roll is funny.

(As usual, the bibliography below is as complete as I can make it, and I welcome additions and corrections. For Novels and Collections, “hc” designates hardcover and “pb”, paperback. UK editions are listed in a similar fashion. My thanks to Phil Stephensen-Payne and Scott Henderson for their expert help in compiling this monster.)

Short Stories

“The World of the Red Sun”—December 1931 Wonder Stories

“The Voice in the Void”—Spring 1932 Wonder Stories Quarterly

“Mutiny on Mercury”—March 1932 Wonder Stories

“Hellhounds of the Cosmos”—June 1932 Astounding Stories

“The Asteroid of Gold”—November 1932 Wonder Stories

“The Creator”—March/April 1935 Marvel Tales (Volume 1, #4)

“Rule 18”—July 1938 Astounding Science-Fiction

“Hunger Death”—October 1938 Astounding Science-Fiction

“Reunion on Ganymede”—November 1938 Astounding Science-Fiction

“The Loot of Time”—December 1938 Thrilling Wonder Stories (Plagiarized as “S.O.S in Time” by Australian “writer” Durham Keith Garton under the pseudonym “Durham Keys” in the October 1950 issue of the Australian magazine, Thrills Incorporated.)

“Cosmic Engineers”—serial, February-March-April 1939 Astounding Science-Fiction

“Madness from Mars”—April 1939 Thrilling Wonder Stories

“Hermit of Mars”—June 1939 Astounding Science-Fiction

“The Space-Beasts”—April 1940 Astonishing Science Fiction

“Rim of the Deep”—May 1940 Astounding Science-Fiction

“Clerical Error”—August 1940 Astounding Science-Fiction

“Sunspot Purge”—November 1940 Astounding Science-Fiction

“Masquerade”—March 1941 Astounding Science-Fiction (AKA “Operation Mercury”)

“Earth for Inspiration”—April 1941 Thrilling Wonder Stories

“Spaceship in a Flask”—July 1941 Astounding Science-Fiction

“The Street That Wasn’t There”—w/Carl Jacobi, July 1941 Comet (AKA “The Lost Street”)

“Tools”—July 1942 Astounding Science-Fiction

“A Bomb for No. 10 Downing”—September 1942 Sky Fighters (non-sf)

“Shadow of Life”—March 1943 Astounding Science-Fiction

“A Hero Must Not Die”—June 1943 Sky Raiders (non-sf)

“Hunch”—July 1943 Astounding Science-Fiction

“Infiltration”—July 1943 Science Fiction Stories

“Green Flight, Out!”—Fall 1943 Army-Navy Flying Stories (non-sf)

“Guns on Guadalcanal”—Fall 1943 Air War (non-sf)

“Message from Mars”—Fall 1943 Planet Stories

“Ogre”—January 1944 Astounding Science Fiction

“Lobby”—April 1944 Astounding Science Fiction

“Smoke Killer”—May 1944 Lariat Story Magazine (non-sf)

“City”—May 1944 Astounding Science Fiction

“Mr. Meek—Musketeer”—Summer 1944 Planet Stories

“Cactus Colts”—July 1944 Lariat Story Magazine (non-sf)

“Huddling Place”—July 1944 Astounding Science Fiction (Chosen by SFWA for The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Vol. 1)

“Mr. Meek Plays Polo”—Fall 1944 Planet Stories

“Trail City’s Hot-Lead Crusaders”—September 1944 New Western (non-sf)

“Census”—September 1944 Astounding Science Fiction

“The Gravestone Rebels Ride by Night!”—October 1944 Big Book Western Magazine (non-sf)

“War is Personal”—Winter 1945 Army-Navy Flying Stories (non-sf)

“Desertion”—November 1944 Astounding Science Fiction

“The Fighting Doc of Bushwack Basin”—November 1944 .44 Western Magazine (non-sf)

“The Reformation of Hangman’s Gulch”—December 1944 Big Book Western Magazine (non-sf)

“Way for the Hangtown Rebel!”—May 1945 Ace High Western Stories (non-sf)

“Good Nesters are Dead Nesters”—July 1945 .44 Western Magazine (non-sf)

“The Hangnoose Army Rides to Town”—September 1945 Ace High (non-sf)

“Barb Wire Brings Bullets”—November 1945 Ace High Western Stories (non-sf)

“The Gunsmoke Drummer Sells a War”—January 1946 Ace High Western Stories (non-sf)

“No More Hides and Tallow”—March 1946 Lariat Stories (non-sf)

“When it’s Hangnoose Time in Hell”—April 1946 .44 Western Magazine (non-sf)

“Paradise”—June 1946 Astounding Science Fiction

“Hobbies”—November 1946 Astounding Science Fiction

“Aesop”—December 1947 Astounding Science Fiction

“Eternity Lost”—July 1949 Astounding Science Fiction

“Limiting Factor” – November 1949 Startling Stories

“The Call from Beyond”—May 1950 Super Science Stories

“Seven Came Back”—October 1950 Amazing Stories (AKA “Mirage”)

“Time Quarry”—serial, October-November-December 1950 Galaxy Science Fiction (Title was changed to Time and Again when published as a novel)

“Bathe Your Bearings in Blood!”—December 1950 Amazing Stories (AKA “Skirmish”)

“The Trouble with Ants”—January 1951 Fantastic Adventures (AKA “The Simple Way”)

“Second Childhood”—February 1951 Galaxy Science Fiction

“Good Night, Mr. James”—March 1951 Galaxy Science Fiction (AKA “The Duplicate Man” and “The Night of the Puudly”[UK only])

“You'll Never Go Home Again”—July 1951 Fantastic Adventures (AKA “Beachhead”)

“Courtesy”—August 1951 Astounding Science Fiction

“The Fence”—September 1952 Space Science Fiction

“Gunsmoke Interlude”—October 1952 Ten Story Western (non-sf)

“Ring Around the Sun”—serial, December 1952-January-February 1953 Galaxy Science Fiction

” . . . And The Truth Shall Make You Free”—March 1953 Future Science Fiction (AKA “The Answers”)

“Retrograde Evolution“—April 1953 Science Fiction Plus

“Junkyard”—May 1953 Galaxy Science Fiction

“Kindergarten”—July 1953 Galaxy Science Fiction

“Spacebred Generations“—August 1953 Science Fiction Plus (AKA “Target Generation”)

“The Questing of Foster Adams”—August/September 1953 Fantastic Universe

“Worrywart”—September 1953 Galaxy Science Fiction

“Shadow Show”—November 1953 Fantasy & Science Fiction

“Contraption“—in Star Science Fiction Stories, ed. Frederik Pohl, Ballantine 16, 1953

“Immigrant”—March 1954 Astounding Science Fiction

“Neighbor”—June 1954 Astounding Science Fiction

“Green Thumb“—July 1954 Galaxy Science Fiction

“Dusty Zebra”—September 1954 Galaxy Science Fiction

“Idiot’s Crusade“—October 1954 Galaxy Science Fiction

“How-2″—November 1954 Galaxy Science Fiction

“Project Mastodon”—March 1955 Galaxy Science Fiction

“Full Cycle”—November 1955 Science Fiction Stories

“The Spaceman’s Van Gogh”—March 1956 Science Fiction Stories

“Drop Dead”—July 1956 Galaxy Science Fiction

“So Bright the Vision”—August 1956 Fantastic Universe

“Honorable Opponent”—August 1956 Galaxy Science Fiction

“Galactic Chest”—September 1956 Science Fiction Stories

“Jackpot”—October 1956 Galaxy Science Fiction

“Worlds Without End”—Winter 1956/57 Future (#31)

“Operation Stinky”—April 1957 Galaxy Science Fiction

“Founding Father”—May 1957 Galaxy Science Fiction

“Lulu”—June 1957 Galaxy Science Fiction

“Shadow World”—September 1957 Galaxy Science Fiction

“Death Scene”—October 1957 Infinity Science Fiction

“Carbon Copy”—December 1957 Galaxy Science Fiction

“Nine Lives”—December 1957 Short Stories

“The World That Couldn't Be”—January 1958 Galaxy Science Fiction

“Leg. Forst.”—April 1958 Infinity Science Fiction

“The Sitters”—April 1958 Galaxy Science Fiction

“The Money Tree”—July 1958 Venture Science Fiction

“The Civilization Game”—November 1958 Galaxy Magazine

“The Big Front Yard”—October 1958 Astounding Science Fiction (Winner, 1959 Hugo award for best novelette, and chosen by SFWA for The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Vol. 2b)

“Installment Plan”—February 1959 Galaxy Magazine

“No Life of Their Own”—August 1959 Galaxy Magazine

“A Death in the House”—October 1959 Galaxy Magazine

“Final Gentleman”—January 1960 Fantasy & Science Fiction

“Crying Jag”—February 1960 Galaxy Magazine

“All the Traps of Earth”—March 1960 Fantasy & Science Fiction

“Gleaners”—March 1960 If

“Condition of Employment”—April 1960 Galaxy Magazine

“The Golden Bugs”—June 1960 Fantasy & Science Fiction

“The Trouble with Tycho”— October 1960 Amazing

“Shotgun Cure”—January 1961 Fantasy & Science Fiction

“Horrible Example”—March 1961 Analog Science Fact-Fiction

“The Fisherman”—serial, April-May-June-July 1961 Analog Science Fact-Fiction (Title was changed to Time is the Simplest Thing when published as a novel)

“The Shipshape Miracle”—January 1963 If

“Day of Truce”—February 1963 Galaxy Magazine

“Physician to the Universe”—March 1963 Fantastic Science Fiction

“A Pipeline to Destiny”—HKLPLOD #4, Summer 1963 (unfinished story in a fanzine published by Michael McInerney)

“Here Gather the Stars”—serial, June-August 1963 Galaxy Magazine (Title was changed to Way Station when published as a novel)

“New Folk’s Home”—July 1963 Analog Science Fact-Fiction

“Over the River and Through the Woods”—May 1965 Amazing Stories

“Small Deer”—October 1965 Galaxy Magazine

“The Goblin Reservation”—serial, April-June 1968 Galaxy Science Fiction

“Buckets of Diamonds”—April 1969 Galaxy Science Fiction

“I Am Crying All Inside”—August 1969 Galaxy Science Fiction

“The Thing in the Stone”—March 1970 If

“Reality Doll”—Spring 1971 Worlds of Fantasy (was expanded to novel length as Destiny Doll)

“The Autumn Land”—October 1971 Fantasy & Science Fiction

“To Walk a City’s Street”—in Infinity #3, ed. Robert Hoskins, Lancer 1972

“The Observer”—May 1972 Analog Science Fiction-Science Fact

“Cemetery World”—serial, November-December 1972-January 1973 Analog Science Fiction-Science Fact

“Construction Shack”—January/February 1973 Worlds of If

“Our Children’s Children”—serial, May/June-July/August 1973 Worlds of If

“Epilog”—in Astounding, ed. Harry Harrison, Random House 1973

“UNIVAC: 2200″—in Frontiers 1: Tomorrow's Alternatives, ed. Roger Elwood, MacMillan 1973

“The Marathon Photograph”—in Threads of Time, ed. Robert Silverberg, Thomas Nelson 1974

“The Birch Clump Cylinder”—in Stellar #1, ed. Judy-Lynn del Rey, Ballantine/DelRey 1974

“The Ghost of a Model T”—in Epoch, ed. Roger Elwood and Robert Silverberg, Berkley 1975

“Senior Citizen”—October 1975 Fantasy & Science Fiction

“Unsilent Spring”—(w/Richard Simak) in Stellar #2, ed. Judy-Lynn del Rey, Ballantine 1976

“Auk House”—in Stellar #3, ed. Judy-Lynn del Rey, Ballantine/Del Rey 1977

“Brother”—October 1977 Fantasy & Science Fiction

“Party Line”—November/December 1978 Destinies

“The Visitors”—serial, October-November-December 1979 Analog Science Fiction-Science Fact

“Grotto of the Dancing Deer”—April 1980 Analog Science Fiction-Science Fact (Winner, 1981 Hugo, Nebula, Analytical Laboratory and Locus awards)

“The Whistling Well”—in Dark Forces, ed. Kirby McCauley, Viking1980

“Byte Your Tongue!”—in Stellar #6, ed. Judy-Lynn del Rey, Ballantine 1981.


The Creator—originally in March/April 1935 Marvel Tales; first separate publication was as a chapbook in 1946 by William Crawford, and reprinted again in September 1981 by Locus Press

Cosmic Engineers—Gnome Press, 1950 (hc); Paperback Library 52-506, 1964 (pb)

Empire—Galaxy Novel #7, 1951 (digest-sized); something of an oddity in that Simak wrote the book based on an unpublished novel by a teen-aged John W. Campbell. In Clifford D. Simak: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography (G. K. Hall, 1980), compiler Muriel Becker quotes Simak: “Empire was essentially a rewrite of John’s plot. I may have taken a few of the ideas and action, but I didn’t use any of his words. And I certainly tried to humanize his characters.” It was ultimately rejected by Campbell for Astounding for unknown reasons.

Time and Again—Simon & Schuster, 1951 (hc); Dell 680, 1953 as First He Died (pb, originally serialized as “Time Quarry” with a variant ending)

City—Gnome Press, 1952 (hc); Perma Book 264 (pb) “Epilog” added to the 1981 Ace reprint (Winner, 1953 International Fantasy Award for best fiction book)

Ring Around the Sun—Simon & Schuster, 1953 (hc); Ace Double D-61, 1954 (pb, bound with L. Sprague de Camp’s Cosmic Manhunt)

Time is the Simplest Thing—Doubleday, 1961 (hc); Fawcett Crest D-547 (pb, originally serialized as “The Fisherman”)

The Trouble With Tycho—Ace Double D-517, 1961 (pb, bound with A. Bertram Chandler’s Bring Back Yesterday)

They Walked Like Men—Doubleday, 1962 (hc); MacFadden 50-184, 1963 (pb)

Way Station—Doubleday, 1963 (hc); MacFadden 50-198 (pb, Winner, 1964 Hugo award for best novel)

All Flesh Is Grass—Doubleday, 1965 (hc); Berkley Medallion X1312, 1966 (pb)

Why Call them Back From Heaven?—Doubleday, 1967 (hc); Ace H-42, 1968 (pb, Ace Science Fiction Special #1.)

The Werewolf Principle—Putnam, 1967 (hc); Berkley Medallion S1463, 1968 (pb)

The Goblin Reservation—Putnam, 1968 (hc); Berkley Medallion S1671, 1969 (pb, Winner, 1968 Galaxy Award, the first and only Galaxy readers’ choice award)

Out of Their Minds—Putnam, 1970 (hc); Berkley Medallion 1970 (pb)

Destiny Doll—Putnam, 1971 (hc); Berkley Medallion, 1972 (pb)

A Choice of Gods—Putnam, 1972 (hc); Berkley Medallion 1973 (pb)

Cemetery World—Putnam, 1973 (hc); Berkley Medallion 1974 (pb, The 1983 DAW edition restores Simak’s preferred text)

Our Children’s Children—Putnam, 1974 (hc); Berkley Medallion 1975 (pb)

Enchanted Pilgrimage—Berkley/Putnam, 1975 (hc); Berkley Medallion, 1975 (pb)

Shakespeare’s Planet—Berkley/Putnam, 1976 (hc); Berkley Medallion, 1977 (pb)

A Heritage of Stars—Berkley/Putnam, 1977 (hc); Berkley 1978 (pb, Winner, 1978 Jupiter Award for best novel)

The Fellowship of the Talisman—Ballantine/Del Rey, 1978 (hc); Del Rey 1979 (pb)

Mastodonia—Ballantine/Del Rey, 1978 (hc, also published as Catface by Sidgwick & Jackson in the UK the same year. Significantly expanded and re-written version of the short story, “Project Mastodon,” originally in the March, 1955 Galaxy)

The Visitors—Ballantine/Del Rey, 1980 (hc)

Project Pope—Ballantine/Del Rey, 1981 (hc)

Special Deliverance—Ballantine/Del Rey, 1982 (hc)

Where the Evil Dwells—Ballantine/Del Rey, 1982 (hc)

Highway of Eternity—Ballantine/Del Rey, 1986 (hc)

Spacebred Generations—Wildside, 2009 (Book publication of the 1953 short-story)


Strangers in the Universe—Simon & Schuster, 1956 (hc); Berkley G-71, 1957 (pb, first edition collects eleven stories; paperback collects seven)

The Worlds of Clifford Simak—Simon & Schuster, 1960 (hc); Avon G-1096, 1961 (pb); also published in the UK by Faber and Faber as Aliens for Neighbours that same year. First edition collects twelve stories; US paperback collects six; Faber and Faber edition collects nine. In 1962, Avon published G-1124, Other Worlds of Clifford Simak, which collects the other six stories from the first edition.)

All the Traps of Earth and Other Stories—Doubleday, 1962 (hc); Macfadden, 1963 (pb). Bibliographically, this book is complicated. The first edition collects nine stories, the 1963 paperback collects six; in the UK, the book was split into two separate books: the 1964 Four Square paperback with the same title as the US, which collected four of the original nine stories, and The Night of the Puudly from the same publisher the same year, which collects the remaining five. Geeks like me live for this kind of stuff.)

Worlds Without End—Belmont L92-584, 1964 (pb, collects three novelettes. First hardcover was the UK Herbert Jenkins edition of 1965)

Best Science Fiction Stories of Clifford D. Simak—UK, Faber and Faber, 1967 (hc); Doubleday, 1971 (hc); Paperback Library 1972 (pb, collects seven stories.)

So Bright the Vision—Ace Double H-95, 1968 (pb, collects four stories. Bound with Jeff Sutton’s The Man Who Saw Tomorrow)

The Best of Clifford D. Simak—UK, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1975 (hc); Sphere, 1975 (pb, collects ten stories and a bibliography, with author’s introduction.)

Skirmish: The Great Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak—Berkley/Putnam, 1977 (hc); Berkley, 1978 (pb, collects ten stories and author’s introduction)

Des Souris et des Robots—French, J. C. Lattes, 1981 (collects nine stories. Title translates as Of Mice and Robots.)

La Croisade de L’Idiot—French, Denoel, 1983 (collects seven stories; can be considered as an abridgement of The World of Clifford Simak. Tile translates as Idiot’s Crusade.)

The Marathon Photograph and Other Stories—Severn House, 1986 (hc); Methuen, 1987 (pb, UK, paperback as The Marathon Photograph only; contains four stories and compiler’s introduction)

Brother And Other Stories—Severn House, 1987 (hc); Methuen, 1988 (pb, UK, collects four stories and compiler’s introduction)

Off-Planet—Methuen, 1988 (hc); Mandarin, 1989 (pb, UK, collects seven stories and compiler’s introduction)

The Autumn Land and Other Stories—Mandarin, 1990 (pb, UK, collects six stories and compiler’s introduction)

Immigrant and Other Stories—Mandarin, 1991 (pb, UK, collects seven stories and compiler’s introduction)

The Creator and Other Stories—Severn House, 1993 (hc) (UK, collects nine stories and compiler’s introduction)

Over the River and Through the Woods: The Best Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak—Tachyon Publications, 1996 (hc, collects eight stories and introduction by Poul Anderson)

The Civilisation Game and Other Stories—Severn House, 1997 (hc, UK, collects seven stories and compiler’s introduction)

Eternity Lost: The Collected Stories of Clifford D. Simak Volume 1—Darkside Press, 2005 (hc, dated internally as 2004; collects twelve stories and introduction by John Pelan)

Physician to the Universe: The Collected Stories of Clifford D. Simak Volume 2—Darkside Press, 2006 (hc, collects twelve stories and introduction by Barry Malzberg)

Impossible Things—Wildside, 2010 (pb, collects four stories)

Hellhounds of the Cosmos—Wildside, 2011 (pb, collects four stories)

In addition to the two listings just above, there have been multiple publications of those few Simak stories which have fallen into the public domain, too numerous to mention here. Regardless of the quality of the various bindings and cover designs, the material remains well above average and the reader should not reject those publications out of hand. After all, one eats the sandwich, not the wrapper.

Non-Fiction Books

The Solar System: Our New Front Yard—St. Martin’s Press, 1962

Trilobite, Dinosaur, and Man: The Earth’s Story—St. Martin’s Press, 1966

Wonder and Glory: The Story of the Universe—St. Martin’s Press, 1969

Prehistoric Man: The Story of Man’s Rise to Civilization—St. Martin’s Press, 1971

Fiction and Non-Fiction Anthologies

From Atoms to Infinity: Readings in Modern Science—Harper & Row, 1965

The March of Science—Harper & Row, 1971

Nebula Award Stories #6—Doubleday, 1971

Other Awards

Minnesota Academy of Science Award for distinguished service to science 1967

First Fandom Hall of Fame award 1973

Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award 1976

Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement award 1988