The Shipshape Miracle: And Other Stories

The Shipshape Miracle: And Other Stories

Clifford D. Simak

Science Fiction

Nine tales of imagination and wonder from one of the formative voices of science fiction and fantasy, the author of Way Station and City. Named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America, Clifford D. Simak was a preeminent voice during the decades that established sci-fi as a genre to be reckoned with. Held in the same esteem as fellow luminaries Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and Ray Bradbury, his novels continue to enthrall today’s readers. And his short fiction is still as gripping and surprising now as when it first entertained an entire generation of fans. The title story is just one example of this. Cheviot Sherwood doesn’t believe in miracles. They never seem to pay off. So when he’s marooned on a planet with no plan for escape and no working radio, he takes it in stride and prepares for a long stay gathering food, making shelter, and collecting all the diamonds the world has to offer. But when a ship like none he’s ever encountered lands, he sees his salvation—and an opportunity to take the priceless craft for himself. Unfortunately, his “rescuer” has the same idea . . . This volume also includes the celebrated short works “Eternity Lost,” “Shotgun Cure,” and “Paradise,” among others. Each story includes an introduction by David W. Wixon, literary executor of the Clifford D. Simak estate and editor of this ebook.
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Our Children's Children

Our Children's Children

Clifford D. Simak

Science Fiction

Fleeing a carnivorous race of alien monsters, the entire surviving human population from five hundred years in the future escapes into the present in this thrilling science fiction adventure from one of the Golden Age greats Our human descendants from five centuries in the future are coming to visit—all one billion of them—arriving via tunnels through time. Even though the present is merely a stopover and their ultimate destination is the age of the dinosaurs, their arrival has caused a worldwide uproar. Some folks want them gone and some want to go with them, as governments and powerful corporations alike scheme to get their hands on remarkable, potentially profitable time travel technology. There is a dark and terrifying reason, however, for the visitors’ abrupt arrival. Our frightened descendants are seeking sanctuary from carnivorous aliens who have descended upon the future Earth, a threat that could mean the rapid destruction of the entire human race. And the end could come sooner than anyone imagined—for some of the intelligent, rapidly breeding extraterrestrial monsters who have been devouring our children’s children may well have followed their prey back to the now. A speculative fiction master who stands alongside Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein in the pantheon of Golden Age science fiction gods, multiple Hugo and Nebula Award–winner Clifford D. Simak delivers an alien invasion tale that is at once wildly imaginative, seriously thought-provoking, and just plain fun.
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Over the River and Through the Woods

Over the River and Through the Woods

Clifford D. Simak

Science Fiction

This groundbreaking retrospective collection features the classic science fiction stories of Clifford D. Simak (1904-1988). When the Science Fiction Writers of America began bestowing their Grand Master awards, Simak was the third writer so honored. Only Robert Heinlein and Jack Williamson preceded him, and he received his award before such luminaries as Fritz Leiber, Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury. Simak earned this distinction by producing, over a long period of time, a significant body of popular, respected, often award-winning work, including his classics City and Way Station, and many shorter works, eight of which are contained in this collection. Readers unfamiliar with Simak are in for a treat. More than half of the stories here were among the best stories of their respective years. "The Big Front Yard" (1958) won a Hugo. "A Death in the House" (1959) was selected by Judith Merril for Year's Best SF: Fifth Annual Edition. "Over the River and Through the Woods" (1965) made the cut for World's Best Science Fiction: 1966 edited by Donald Wollheim. Contents: A Death in the House The Big Front Yard Goodnight Mr. James Dusty Zebra Neighbor Over the River & Through the Woods Construction Shack Grotto of the Dancing Deer [He] wrote for so long and always so well that his excellence came to be taken for granted, as we take sunlight for granted until we go blind. - Poul Anderson I read Cliff's stories with particular attention, and I couldn't help but notice the simplicity and directness of the writing - the utter clarity of it. I made up my mind to imitate it, and I labored over the years to make my writing simpler, clearer, more uncluttered, to present my scenes on a bare stage. - Isaac Asimov Without Simak, science fiction would have been without its most humane element, its most humane spokesman for the wisdom of the ordinary person and the value of life lived close to the land. - James Gunn Good fantasy - and that includes science fiction - takes off from the known for its flights into the new. Cliff Simak was a master of the art. His known was the rural Midwest that he loved. His new could reach to the ends of space and time, but never beyond reality. Even his cosmic aliens always had half human dimensions that made them believable. I loved him, as so many did, for his unfailing warmth and a wit that was keen but never cruel. I heard from him often during the painful time after his wife's death. His own death touched me deeply, and I'm happy to see him remembered with this collection of his best-loved stories. - Jack Williamson I always loved his stories, short or long. He made me love them -and the rural America of his childhood - as much as he did. - Lester del Rey Ten years ago it would have been inconceivable that a volume of the best stories of Clifford Simak (author of the classic City) would not have been published by Putnam or Del Rey, but today we have to be grateful to the one-man firm of Tachyon Publications for preserving Over the River and Through the Woods, which includes some of Simak's best stories, including two Hugo Award winners. After all, Simak is dead, which means his career is flatlined, even if Robert Heinlein said, "to read science fiction is to read Simak. The reader who does not like Simak stories does not like science fiction at all." Simak was a master of a special kind of nostalgic science fiction that reconciled the values of his youth (the rural Midwest of the 1920s) with the larger universe. Material that became ludicrous cliche in the hands of lesser writers - all those endless flying saucers landing in the hillbilly's back acre - was by Simak handled with elegance and dignity."A Death in the House" is typical: A farmer finds a dying alien. He does what he can, but that's very little. The farmer conceals the grave, wanting to give his "guest" that much dignity. But the alien is plantlike. It (or its young) sprouts out of the corpse. Human and alien struggle toward understanding. In "The Big Front Yard," a rural handyman finds his house transformed into a gateway to other worlds. The common people have the good sense; trouble starts when profiteers and the government get involved. The tone is light, friendly and clever. This is not to suggest that Simak was a writer with no hard edges. "Good Night Mr. James" is a horror story, about a duplicate human being created to destroy a particularly nasty alien illegally smuggled to Earth. But the gentler mode was more typical, and he could also write humor. "Dusty Zebra" is a long technological joke, maybe a bit slight to be included when a 50-year career must be distilled into 218 pages. Simak's last story, the last in the book, "The Grotto of the Dancing Deer," is about an immortal caveman, quite different from de Camp's "Gnarly Man." He is the original artist who painted that cave art the scientists keep finding; after all this time, he just has to tell someone. The story won both the Hugo and the Nebula for 1980, because both readers and fellow professionals wanted to say "thank you." - The Washington Post Book World Clifford D. Simak is another classic SF writer who staked out a distinctive territory based on his rural midwestern roots - only a couple hundred miles north of Bradbury's - but he never strayed very far from a few classic SF themes which he treated with considerably more rigor than Bradbury, if sometimes with as much sentimentality. Simak's City is at least as important to the history of SF as Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles - some would say more so, given its more challenging conceptual framework - and his other short stories are among the most enduring in the genre, as Over the River & Through the Woods, a new limited edition from Tachyon Publications, attests. Yet Simak, like Sturgeon, seems in danger of fading into the limbo of historical anthologies; while his work was once as widely available as that of any of the giants, today these stories seem almost like new discoveries - and are just as fresh. Part of the reason may be not that Simak's folksy language seems to belie the underlying sense of alienation and tragedy that characterizes much of his work; part may be due to the rediscovery of American regional idioms among younger SF writers from Terry Bisson to Nancy Kress . . . 'Over the River & Through the Woods' contains eight Simak stories from 1951 through 1980 - which means it includes none of the classic stories like "Desertion" or "Huddling Place", which later went to make up City, but does include his late Hugo and Nebula-winning masterpiece "The Grotto of the Dancing Deer" and the Hugo-winning "The Big Front Yard." One of the first things that comes to mind when rereading the latter story after several years - it concerns a characteristically laconic farmer with a dog named Towser (the only name Simak seems to have permitted for dogs) who finds on his property a gateway to distant worlds - is that few contemporary writers would have let such a simple and elegant premise be confined to a novella. Simak's focus is on the unimpressed rustic whose very lack of response to the wonder at his doorstep intensifies our own. When a rustic is impressed by an alien presence, such as in "A Death in the House," it is less likely to be from a sense of wonder than from a sense of companionship. Simak's roots may be firmly in SF, but he writes of alien encounters in a way Willa Cather might have written of them. Aliens are strange but unthreatening, and in some cases (as in "Neighbor") they can turn the entire neighborhood into a pastoral Shangri-la, isolated from the outside in a way that encapsulates what must be Simak's own drams of lost innocence. But Simak could write about more than wonderful things happening to remote farmers. "Good Night, Mr. James" is a very early treatment (1951) of what we would today call a cloning story, done with the kind of cynical humor that is needed for what is essentially a double- and triple-cross tale. It reveals Simak's healthy streak of humor, as does "Dusty Zebra," in which trivial objects are zapped into another dimension in return for high-tech wonders. "Construction Shack" ironically explores an almost Stapledonian notion of whole solar systems being engineered by ancient aliens (Pluto is the construction shack of the title), cast in terms of the matter-of-fact space jockeys so familiar from pulp SF. Simak may be at his best, however, when his theme is isolation and abandonment. The title story concerns children from the future sent back to the refuge of the 1890s. The best tale in the collection and one of the high points of Simak's late career, "The Grotto of the Dancing Deer," concerns an anthropologist who comes to realize that his assistant seems to know far too much about certain ancient cave paintings, and may in fact have been their creator. Simak's evocation, in a few pages, of the sheer loneliness of immortality and the daunting perspectives of time involved, again could be a lesson to a generation of younger writers, and reminds us brilliantly of what Simak was capable of. - Locus
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New Folks' Home: And Other Stories

New Folks' Home: And Other Stories

Clifford D. Simak

Science Fiction

Ten stories of wonder and imagination by an author named Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America In the collection’s title story, Frederick Gray is closing in on seventy and has outlived his usefulness as a professor of law. He has no family; his best friend, fellow faculty member Ben Lovell, has recently died. Before Gray moves into a retirement home, he takes a final canoe trip to a favorite fishing spot he and Lovell had visited many times, only to find that someone has built a house on the remote riverside. When an accident leaves Gray stranded and in pain, he returns to the shelter seeking aid and instead finds a new reason for living. Nine additional tales showcase Clifford D. Simak’s talent for spinning stories that allow us to glimpse the possibilities of life beyond Earth as well as expand our wisdom of what it means to be human. Each story includes an introduction by David W. Wixon, literary executor of the Clifford D. Simak estate and editor of this ebook.
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Out of Their Minds

Out of Their Minds

Clifford D. Simak

Science Fiction

Out of their minds and the force of their imagination, men have created countless beings, from demons and monsters of legend to comic-strip characters. What if their world were real--if dragons, devils and Don Quixote hobnobbed with Dagwood Bumstead and Charlie Brown? Such a world would have its facinations..and its dreadful perils--if it existed. Horton Smith found out that it did..and that he was right in the middle of it!
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Mastodonia

Mastodonia

Clifford D. Simak

Science Fiction

In rural Wisconsin, wonder clashes dangerously with corporate greed when an alien visitor opens up a gateway through time into a breathtaking prehistoric lost world On sabbatical from teaching at a small university, paleontologist Asa Steele is content to relax amidst the pastoral splendor of his Wisconsin farm. That is, until his dog starts bringing home unrecognizable artifacts and, strangest of all, fresh dinosaur bones. Since boyhood, Asa has heard the rumors of a UFO crash site nearby, and his encounter with a cat-faced alien life form proves the old story to be shockingly true. A gregarious immortal stranded on Earth for fifty thousand years, Catface has the power to create portals in time, and now he has opened a gateway into a prehistoric world of wonder and beauty, a place Asa calls “Mastodonia.” But keeping this idyllic realm a secret from a prying government and the greedy corporate entities it serves could prove impossible—and perilous—when there are resources to drain, land to despoil, and gargantuan vanished beasts from a distant age to hunt down and destroy in the name of profit. Clifford D. Simak’s glorious vision of a gateway to the past and of the tantalizing commercial potential of all things prehistoric predates Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park by many years, yet it remains as provocative, enthralling, and fun for twenty-first-century science fiction lovers as it was for its original readers. Breathtaking, thrilling, imaginative, and awe-inspiring, Mastodonia is a world that, once entered, can never be forgotten, such is the unique creative genius of legendary science fiction Grand Master Simak, one of the most revered writers ever to dream the future . . . and the past.
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The Fellowship of the Talisman

The Fellowship of the Talisman

Clifford D. Simak

Science Fiction

A strange assortment of humans and otherworldly beings joins a young soldier of God on his perilous quest through an alternate, technology-free reality ruled by an all-powerful Evil In an alternate world where the Dark Ages never ended, “the Evil” that arises every five hundred years has prevented all manner of technological advancement, even well into the twentieth century. The son of a powerful English noble, young Duncan Standish has always longed to be a soldier of the Lord, and now he’s been offered a rare opportunity to fulfill his dream. Entrusted with the delivery of an ancient manuscript—purported to be irrefutable evidence of the existence of Jesus Christ—to a noted Oxenford scholar, Duncan must journey many perilous miles in the company of a motley group of fellow travelers, including a goblin, a ghost, and other magical and non-magical companions. But the road they traverse together is fraught with terrible trials that would test even the most devout, for the Evil is strong in this place of dark wonders. Multiple Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award–winner and SFWA Grand Master Clifford D. Simak moves easily from science fiction to quest fantasy in this enthralling tale of magic, peril, and discovery on an Earth that never was. Rich in color, thrills, and wild invention, and populated by a highly original and unforgettable cast of characters, Fellowship of the Talisman showcases the author’s peerless storytelling skills, demonstrating once again that the great Simak had few equals in the realm of twentieth-century speculative fiction.
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Project Mastodon

Project Mastodon

Clifford D. Simak

Science Fiction

"Hudson lay in his sleeping bag, staring at the sky. It bothered him a lot. There was not one familiar constellation, not one star that he could name with any certainty. This juggling of the stars, he thought, emphasized more than anything else in this ancient land the vast gulf of years which lay between him and the Earth where he had been-or would be-born."
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Cemetery World

Cemetery World

Clifford D. Simak

Science Fiction

Earth: expensive, elite graveyard to the galaxy. Ravaged 10,000 years earlier by war, Earth was reclaimed by its space-dwelling offspring as a planet of landscaping and tombstones. None of them fully human, Fletcher, Cynthia, and Elmer journey through this dead world, discovering human traits and undertaking a quest to rebuild a human world on Earth.
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The Werewolf Principle

The Werewolf Principle

Clifford D. Simak

Science Fiction

Andrew Blake is found in a space capsule on a distant planet and is brought back to an unfamiliar Earth, where antigravity devices have replaced the wheel, and houses talk and even fly! Yet nothing is as strange as Blake's own feelings. Tormented by eerie sensations and loss of memory, he doesn't know who he really is or exactly where he has come from. His destiny only begins to grow frighteningly clear when he meets a weird, tassel-eared creature who darkly hints at the truth about Blake's origins. Slowly Blake becomes aware of the long hushed-up "Werewolf Principle," a scientific theory buried in the past, which holds the key to Blake's own fate-and the future of the human species.--book cover
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The Big Front Yard: And Other Stories

The Big Front Yard: And Other Stories

Clifford D. Simak

Science Fiction

Tales of the unknown in which a fix-it man crosses into another dimension—and more Hiram Taine is a handyman who can fix anything. When he isn’t fiddling with his tools, he is roaming through the woods with his dog, Towser, as he has done for as long as he can remember. He likes things that he can understand. But when a new ceiling appears in his basement—a ceiling that appears to have the ability to repair television sets so they’re better than before—he knows he has come up against a mystery that no man can solve. Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novelette, “The Big Front Yard” is a powerful story about what happens when an ordinary man finds reality coming apart around him. Along with the other stories in this collection, it is some of the most lyrical science fiction ever published. Each story includes an introduction by David W. Wixon, literary executor of the Clifford D. Simak estate and editor of this ebook.
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The Goblin Reservation

The Goblin Reservation

Clifford D. Simak

Science Fiction

First-class entertainment (The Sunday Times) from a classic SF author. En route to an interplanetary research mission, a scientist is abducted by a strange, shadowy race of aliens and taken to a previously uncharted planet, a storehouse of information that would be invaluable--even to an Earth so advanced that time travel allows goblins, dinosaurs, even Shakespeare to coexist.
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I Am Crying All Inside and Other Stories

I Am Crying All Inside and Other Stories

Clifford D. Simak

Science Fiction

Ten stories of mystery and imagination in a world that cannot be—including the never-before-published “I Had No Head and My Eyes Were Floating Way Up in the Air,” originally written for Harlan Ellison’s The Last Dangerous Visions ™ People work. Folk play. That is the way it has been in this country as long as Sam can remember. He is happy, and he understands that this is the way it should be. People are bigger than folk. They are stronger. They do not need food or water. They do not need the warmth of a fire. All they need is a job to do and a blacksmith to fix them when they break. The people work so the folk can drink their moonshine, fish a little, throw a horseshoe. But when Sam starts to wonder about why the world is this way, his life will never be the same. Along with the other stories in this collection, “I Am Crying All Inside” is a compact marvel: a picture of an impossible reality that is not so different from our own. Each story includes an introduction by David W. Wixon, literary executor of the Clifford D. Simak estate and editor of this ebook.
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Shakespeare's Planet

Shakespeare's Planet

Clifford D. Simak

Science Fiction

A human space traveler trapped on a remote planet must somehow unravel a confounding alien technology—or else surrender himself to a host of incomprehensible horrors For thousands of years, Carter Horton has been traveling across the galaxy toward a distant world capable of supporting human life. At journey’s end, awakened from his millennia-long sleep by a curiously adaptive android, he is informed that his crewmates have all perished due to a system malfunction. But worse is yet to come: Horton’s sentient ship is refusing to return him to Earth, and a strangely cordial predator is waiting for him on the planet’s surface. The repulsive creature, Carnivore, arrived here via a tunnel across the universe, as did his late companion—a human dubbing himself William Shakespeare—whom Carnivore just recently devoured. But the tunnel moves in only one direction, and if Carter is unable to reverse it, he will find himself marooned forever in this incomprehensible world, at the mercy of monsters and a terrifying, mind-freezing alien anomaly that occurs every evening in the “God-hour.” With unparalleled verve, award-winning science fiction Grand Master Clifford D. Simak performs a truly astonishing feat of world-creation in Shakespeare’s Planet. Bursting with intelligence, imagination, and breathtaking invention, this is a gem of speculative fiction from one of the genre’s most revered and innovative artists.
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