"When I talk of the purpose of life, I am thinking not only of human life, but of all life on Earth and of the life which must exist upon other planets throughout the universe." -- Clifford D. Simak
Clifford Donald Simak (August 3, 1904 - April 25, 1988) was an American science fiction writer. He was honored by fans with three Hugo awards and by colleagues with one Nebula award and was named the third Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) in 1977.
"And time itself? Time was a never-ending medium that stretched into the future and the past - except there was no future and no past, but an infinite number of brackets, extending either way, each bracket enclosing its single phase of the Universe.""Could that have been what happened to the human race - a willing perversity that set at naught all human values which had been so hardly won and structured in the light of reason for a span of more than a million years?""If mankind were to continue in other than the present barbarism, a new path must be found, a new civilization based on some other method than technology.""If the means were available, we could trace our ancestry - yours and mine - back to the first blob of life-like material that came into being on the planet.""It is only of life on Earth, however, that one can speak with any certainty. It seems to me that all life on Earth, the sum total of life upon the Earth, has purpose.""It seems to me, thinking of it, that there must be some universal plan which set in motion the orbiting of the electrons about the nucleus and the slower, more majestic orbit of the galaxies about one another to the very edge of space.""It was a place without a single feature of the space-time matrix that he knew. It was a place where nothing yet had happened - an utter emptiness. There was neither light nor dark: there was nothing here but emptiness.""It would seem to me that by the time a race has achieved deep space capability it would have matured to a point where it would have no thought of dominating another intelligent species.""Less than an hour before he'd congratulated himself on escaping all the traps of Earth, all the snares of Man. Not knowing that the greatest trap of all, the final and the fatal trap, lay on this present planet.""Must faith be exactly that, the willingness and ability to believe in the face of a lack of evidence? If one could find the evidence, would then the faith be dead?""My reluctance to use alien invasion is due to the feeling that we are not likely to be invaded and taken over.""These are the stories the Dogs tell, when the fires burn high and the wind is from the north.""Time is still the great mystery to us. It is no more than a concept; we don't know if it even exists.""We said, there's another second gone, there's another minute and another hour and another day, when, as a matter of fact the second or the minute or the hour was never gone. It was the same one all the time. It had just moved along and we had moved with it.""What do you mean by faith? Is faith enough for Man? Should he be satisfied with faith alone? Is there no way of finding out the truth? Is the attitude of faith, of believing in something for which there can be no more than philosophic proof, the true mark of a Christian?""Without consciousness and intelligence, the universe would lack meaning."
Clifford Donald Simak was born in Millville, Wisconsin, son of John Lewis and Margaret (Wiseman) Simak. He married Agnes Kuchenberg on April 13, 1929 and they had two children, Scott and Shelley. Simak attended the University of Wisconsin—Madison and later worked at various newspapers in the Midwest. He began a lifelong association with the Minneapolis Star and Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) in 1939, which continued until his retirement in 1976. He became Minneapolis Star 's news editor in 1949 and coordinator of Minneapolis Tribune's Science Reading Series in 1961. In a blurb in Time and Again he wrote, "I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty three years and have two children. My favorite recreation is fishing (the lazy way, lying in a boat and letting them come to me). Hobbies: Chess, stamp collecting, growing roses." He dedicated the book to his wife Kay, "without whom I'd never have written a line". He was well liked by many of his science fiction cohorts, especially Isaac Asimov. He died in Minneapolis.
Simak became interested in science fiction after reading the works of H. G. Wells as a child. He started writing for science fiction pulp magazines in 1931, but dropped out of the field by 1933. The only science-fiction piece that he published between 1933 and 1937 was The Creator (Marvel Tales #4, March-April 1935), a notable story with religious implications, which was at the time a rarity in the genre of science fiction.
Once John W. Campbell began redefining the field in late 1937, Simak returned to science fiction and was a regular contributor to Astounding Stories throughout the Golden Age of Science Fiction (1938—1950). His first publications, such as Cosmic Engineers (1939), were in the traditions of the earlier superscience subgenre perfected by E. E. "Doc" Smith, but he soon developed his own style, which is usually described as gentle and pastoral. During this period, Simak also published a number of war and western stories in pulp magazines. His best known novel may be City, a collection of short stories with a common theme of mankind's eventual exodus from Earth.
Simak continued to produce award-nominated novels throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Aided by a friend, he continued writing and publishing science fiction and, later, fantasy, into his 80s. He believed that science fiction not rooted in scientific fact was responsible for the failure of the genre to be taken seriously, and stated his aim was to make the genre a part of what he called "realistic fiction."
Simak's stories often repeat a few basic ideas and themes. First and foremost is a setting in rural Wisconsin. A crusty individualistic backwoodsman character literally comes with the territory, the best example being Hiram Taine, the protagonist of The Big Front Yard. Hiram's dog "Towser" (sometimes "Bowser") is another Simak trademark being common to many of Simak's works. But the rural setting is not always as idyllic as here; and in Ring Around the Sun it is largely dominated by intolerance and isolationism.
An idea often found in the stories is the idea that there is no past time for a time traveler to go to. Instead, our world moves along in a stream of time, and to move to a different place in time is to move to another world altogether. Thus in City our Earth is overrun by ants, but the intelligent dogs and the remaining humans escape to other worlds in the time stream. In Ring Around the Sun the persecuted paranormals escape to other Earths which, if they could all be seen at once, would be at different stages of their orbit around the sun, hence the title. In Time is the Simplest Thing a paranormal escapes a mob by moving back in time, only to find that the past is a place where there are no living things and inanimate objects are barely substantial.
Time travel also plays an important role in the ingeniously constructed Time and Again, then ventures into metaphysics. A long-lost space traveler returns with a message which is SF-slanted yet religious in tone. He crashed on a planet and was nurtured by ethereal duplicates - spirits? souls? - that seem to accompany every sentient being throughout life. His fuddled observations were seized upon by religious factions, and a schism is threatening to erupt into war on Earth.
Intelligence, loyalty and friendship, the existence of God and souls, the unexpected benefits and harm of invention, tools as extensions of humanity, and more questions are often explored by Simak's robots, whom he uses as "surrogate humans". His robots begin as likable mechanical persons, but morph in surprising ways. Having achieved intelligence, robots move onto common themes such as, "Why are we here?" and "Do robots have souls"? Examples are the faithful butler Jenkins in City, the religious robot Hezekiel in A Choice of Gods, the frontier robots in Special Deliverance and A Heritage of Stars, and the monk-like robots in Project Pope who seek Heaven.
Simak's robot-awareness theme goes farthest in All the Traps of Earth. A 600-year-old robot, a family retainer who earned the name Richard Daniel, is considered chattel to be reprogrammed and lose all its memories. The robot runs away, hitches onto a spaceship, and passes through hyperspace unprotected. Daniel gains the ability to see and fix problems in anything - a ship, a robot, a human - telekinetically. Yet he's still drifting and hunted as chattel. Finally he stumbles on a frontier planet and finds a purpose, helping the pioneers as a doctor, a servant, a colonist, and a friend. And here Daniel achieves an epiphany: human beings are more clever than they know. Human-created robots set loose can become agents with para-human abilities that directly or indirectly benefit humanity. Thus do robots, and Mankind, escape "all the traps of earth".
The religious theme is often present in Simak's work, but the protagonists who have searched for God in a traditional sense, tend to find something more abstract and inhuman. Hezekiel in A Choice of Gods cannot accept this. Quote: "God must be, forever, a kindly old (human) gentleman with a long, white, flowing beard."
Simak's short stories and longer novellas range from the contemplative and thoughtfully idyllic to pure terror, although the punch line is often characteristically understated, as in Good Night Mr. James and Skirmish. There is also a group of humorous stories, of which "The Big Front Yard" is the most successful. And Way Station is in the midst of all of the science fiction paraphernalia a moving psychological study of a very lonely man who has to make peace with his past and finally manages to do so, but not without personal loss. The contemplative nature of the Simak character is a recurring trait both of theme and of the author's style.
Many of his aliens have a dry, otherworldly sense of humor, and others are unintentionally amusing, either in their speech or their appearance. So too are his robots full of personality, and even his dogs. By contrast, his "heroes" are ciphers. His protagonists are often boring men, never described and never reappearing. They solve crises by muddling through, and if they fall in love with "the girl" (also never described), it's incidental. One of Simak's editors objected to his stories because his heroes were "losers". Simak replied, "I like losers."
One finds other traditional SF themes in Simak's work. The importance of knowledge and compassion in Immigrant and Kindergarten. Identity play, as in Good Night. Mr James (filmed as The Outer Limits: The Duplicate Man in 1964). Fictions come to life in Shadow Show and elsewhere, such as the novel Out of Our Minds. And there is the revolt of the machines in Skirmish. And the rather horrifying meeting with an alien world in Beachhead, AKA You'll Never Go Home Again. (Many of these are in Strangers in the Universe).
Finally, Simak throws in many science-fictional fillips that remain unexplained. "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine," is a phrase misattributed to Arthur Stanley Eddington. Simak's characters encounter alien creatures and concepts they simply cannot understand, and never will. For example, in Special Deliverance, the humans are stalked by The Wailer, which turns out to be a huge wolf-like creature that bells an infinitely-sad howl. They never learn what the creature is, why it seems sad, or how it got there. Simak leaves mysteries hanging in his writing.
Simak himself sums up his life's work in the Foreword to Skirmish. After explaining what themes he avoids - no large-scale alien invasions, no space wars, no empire sagas - he states, "Overall, I have written in a quiet manner; there is little violence in my work. My focus has been on people, not on events. More often than not I have struck a hopeful note... I have, on occasions, tried to speak out for decency and compassion, for understanding, not only in the human, but in the cosmic sense. I have tried at times to place humans in perspective against the vastness of universal time and space. I have been concerned where we, as a race, may be going, and what may be our purpose in the universal scheme - if we have a purpose. In general, I believe we do, and perhaps an important one."
The Creator (first magazine publication 1935, first book publication 1946)
Cosmic Engineers, first published as a "short novel" in Astounding Science Fiction, February 1939, March 1939, and April 1939; expanded slightly for novel publication, 1950. A crew is piped to the edge of known space, where metal-men Cosmic Engineers need help to prevent two universes from colliding, while opposing Hellhounds want destruction and chaos.
Empire (1951) (Galaxy novel #7)
Time and Again (1951) Alternate paperback title: First He Died. When a long-lost spaceman returns to Earth from a distant planet where our "souls" may live, his fuddled observations spark a religious schism and war.
City (1952) In the far future, only dogs and robots are left on Earth to recount the old stories and debate whether Man ever existed at all. "Epilog" was added in 1981.
Ring Around the Sun (1953) A man's unique psychic gift allows him to step into parallel "quantum" earths - a ring around the sun - where he may become mankind's last chance for survival.
Time is the Simplest Thing (1961) A paranormal who telepathically travels to other planets brings back an alien consciousness that can manipulate time. He'll need the help as humans rise to wipe out "parries".
The Trouble With Tycho (1961) A lunar prospector investigates the crater Tycho where spacecraft have disappeared.
They Walked Like Men (1962) A newsman learns alien "bowling balls" that can take any form are buying up the Earth.
Way Station (1963) 1964 Hugo Award Winner. A Civil War veteran is a caretaker of a secret Way Station, a transfer point for aliens. But the outside world is snooping around, and their blundering may endanger all of humanity.
All Flesh Is Grass (1965) The town of Millville is trapped in a bubble by an alien hive-race of purple flowers. It's established a toehold for mutual cooperation - or invasion.
Why Call them Back From Heaven? (1967) A man becomes embroiled in a scandal at a wealthy cryogenic corporation.
The Werewolf Principle (1967) An astronaut returns to Earth with two different creatures trapped inside him, so in times of stress morphs into either a "werewolf" or an impregnable pyramid.
The Goblin Reservation (1968) A traveller teleporting home learns he was murdered a week before by either sneaking aliens or their rivals, the leprechauns and trolls of the local reservation.
Out of Their Minds (1970) A newsman is hunted by werewolves, dinosaurs, sea serpents, and other creatures from human imagination, and no one will tell him why.
Destiny Doll (1971) Four humans explore the mysteries of an eerie deserted planet.
A Choice of Gods (1972) After 99.99% of the human race has disappeared, people discover they have lifespans of five or six thousand years.
Cemetery World (1973) Earth has been turned into a vast and silent cemetery. A composer and a treasure-hunter have come to venture past the walls into the wilderness, where they find renegades, war machines, steel wolves, and ghosts whispering answers.
Our Children's Children (1974) Refugees from 500 years in the future arrive through time tunnels - and hard behind them come ravening monsters.
Enchanted Pilgrimage (1975)
Shakespeare's Planet (1976) Two explorers, a robot, a warrior, and even an inky "pond" are stuck on a dead-end planet because the star-tunnel is locked. Yet something is about to happen.
A Heritage of Stars (1977) In a primitive world where technology collapsed, a woodsrunner, a witch, and a frontiering robot seek answers at The Place of Going to the Stars.
The Fellowship of the Talisman (1978) On a parallel Earth perpetually laid waste by the Harriers of the Horde, a young man must ferry what may be a true account of Jesus's teachings to distant London. He's helped by a lonely ghost, a goblin, a demon, and a warrior woman riding a griffin.
Mastodonia (1978) (published as Catface in the UK, a considerably expanded and re-written version of Simak's 1950s short story of the same name which was also broadcast on the X Minus One). A cat-faced alien stranded in Wisconsin befriends locals, then time-engineers portals into prehistoric epochs. The locals start a tourism company for big-game hunters, and maybe a new country: Mastodonia.
The Visitors (1980)
Project Pope (1981) On the planet End of Nothing, robots have labored a thousand years to build a computerized infallible pope to eke out the ultimate truth. Their work is preempted when a human Listener discovers what might be the planet Heaven.
Where the Evil Dwells (1982) Adventurers seeking a lost fiancee' and cathedral enter the Empty Lands, where even Roman Legions get slaughtered.
Special Deliverance (1982) A college professor and other oddballs are dropped onto a bleak world near a giant blue cube - and no clue how to proceed.
Highway of Eternity (1986) AKA Highway to Eternity. A man who can "step around a corner" gets scattered across time alongside futuristic refugees. All are fleeing super-advanced humans who have transcended into pure thought -- and expect everyone else to come along.
Strangers in the Universe (1956) (contents revised in 1957 and 1958). Paperback contains 7 of 11 stories from hardback edition: “Target Generation”, “Mirage”, “Beachhead”, “The Answers”, “Retrograde Evolution”, “The Fence”, and “Shadow Show”.
The Worlds of Clifford Simak (1960)
Aliens for Neighbours (1961) (UK reprint of The Worlds of Clifford Simak)
All the Traps of Earth and Other Stories (1962) (contents revised in 1963) Contains “All the Traps of Earth”, “Good Night, Mr. James”, “Drop Dead”, “The Sitters”, “Installment Plan”, and “Condition of Employment”.
Other Worlds of Clifford Simak (1962) (abridgment of The Worlds of Clifford Simak (1961) Contains “Dusty Zebra”, “Carbon Copy”, “Founding Father”, “Idiot’s Crusade”, “Death Scene”, and “Green Thumb”.
The Night of the Puudly (1964) (UK reprint of All the Traps of Earth and Other Stories)
Worlds Without End (1964) Contains “Worlds Without End”, “The Spaceman’s Van Gogh”, and “Full Cycle”.
Best Science Fiction Stories of Clifford Simak (1967)
So Bright the Vision (1968) Contains “The Golden Bugs”, “Leg. Forst.”, “So Bright the Vision,” and “Galactic Chest”.
The Best of Clifford D. Simak (1975) Contains “1939: Madness from Mars”, “1940: Sunspot Purge”, “1958: The Sitters”, “1959: A Death in the House”, “1960: Final Gentlemen”, “1961: Shotgun Cure”, “1963: Day of Truce”, “1965: Small Deer”, “1970: The Thing in the Stone”, and “1971: The Autumn Land”.
Skirmish: The Great Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak (1977) Contains “Huddling Place”, “Desertion”, “Skirmish”, “Good Night, Mr. James”, “The Sitters”, “The Big Front Yard”, “All the Traps of Earth”, “The Thing in the Stone”, “The Autumn Land”, and “The Ghost of a Model T”.
Brother And Other Stories (1986)
The Marathon Photograph and Other Stories (1986)
Off-Planet (1989) Contains "Construction Shack", "Ogre", "Junkyard", "The Observer", "The World That Couldn't Be", "Shadow World" and "Mirage".
The Autumn Land and Other Stories (1990)
Immigrant and Other Stories (1991)
The Creator and Other Stories (1993)
Over the River and Through the Woods: The Best Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak (1996)
The Civilization Game and Other Stories (1997)
Science Fiction Stories
First publication in chronological order. Early on Simak wrote some war and Western pulp stories not included here.
“The World of the Red Sun”, Wonder Stories, December, 1931.
“The Voice in the Void”, Wonder Stories Quarterly, Spring, 1932.
“Mutiny on Mercury”, Wonder Stories, March, 1932.
“Hellhounds of the Cosmos”, Astounding, June, 1932.
“The Asteroid of Gold”, Wonder Stories, November, 1932.
“The Creator”, Marvel Tales, Volume 1, #4, March/April, 1935.
“Reunion on Ganymede”, Astounding Science Fiction, November, 1938.
“The Loot of Time”, Thrilling Wonder Stories, December, 1938. AKA "S.O.S in Time" (unauthorized).
"Cosmic Engineers", short novel in three parts in Astounding Science Fiction, February 1939, March 1939, and April 1939. A crew is piped to the edge of known space to help prevent two universes from colliding.
“Madness from Mars”, Thrilling Wonder Stories, April, 1939. The fourth, and only, spaceship to return from Mars holds an insane crew and a Martian "furball".
"The Space Beasts", Astonishing Science Fiction, April, 1940.
"Rim of the Deep", Astounding Science Fiction, May, 1940.
"Hermit of Mars", Astounding Science Fiction, June, 1939.
“City”, Astounding Science Fiction, May, 1944. Since everyone moved to the country with their atomic generators and personal aircraft, the cities are largely abandoned. What's left of the city councils will burn the empty houses - unless someone has a better idea.
“Huddling Place”, Astounding Science Fiction, July, 1944. Men left the cities for the comforts of home, and now can't leave home - not even to save a life.
"Mr. Meek Plays Polo", Planet Stories, Fall, 1944.
“Census”, Astounding Science Fiction, September, 1944. In the first census in 300 years, an enumerator discovers what may be the next step in human evolution.
“Desertion”, Astounding Science Fiction, November, 1944. When survey teams fail to return from Jupiter's harsh surface, an aging administrator and his old dog volunteer for a one-way biological conversion. (One of the first stories about Pantropy.)
“Paradise”, Astounding Science Fiction, June, 1946. A volunteer has returned from lizard-conversion on Jupiter (seen in "Desertion") with a promise of paradise.
“Hobbies”, Astounding Science Fiction, November, 1946. While the last few humans kill time with hobbies, talking dogs and sentient robots explore uncharted sciences.
“Aesop”, Astounding Science Fiction, December, 1947. Animals have inherited the world, and "cobblies" (other-dimensional demons) have come, so Jenkins the faithful butler takes the last remaining humans away.
“Limiting Factor”, Startling Stories, November, 1949. A survey team finds a shining planet is one vast computer, built to calculate - what?
“Bathe Your Bearings in Blood!”, Amazing Stories, 1950. AKA “Skirmish”. A newspaper reporter discovers machines are coming alive and revolting, the first skirmish in a war to come.
“The Call from Beyond”, Super Science Stories, May, 1950.
"Seven Came Back" in Amazing Stories, October, 1950. AKA "Mirage". A stranded archeologist who befriends Martians is shown an ancient city that glitters like a mirage.
“The Trouble with Ants”, Fantastic Adventures, January, 1951. AKA "The Simple Way". Evolved ants and their robot ants are building so fast they'll cover the Earth, and there's no simple way to stop them.
“Good Night, Mr. James”, Galaxy Science Fiction, March, 1951. AKA "The Duplicate Man" and "The Night of the Puudly". A lethal alien puudly is loose and ready to breed. Mr. James hunts to kill it - or does he?
“You’ll Never Go Home Again”, Fantastic Adventures, July, 1951. AKA "Beachhead". A survey team brutally pacifies a toehold on an alien planet, then learns you can't plan for the unknown.
“Worrywart”, Galaxy Science Fiction, September, 1953. A newspaperman finds a recluse who can seemingly fix any problem just by wishing it better.
"Shadow Show" in Fantasy & Science Fiction, November, 1953. A colony of scientists struggle to develop artificial life. For entertainment, they role-play in a neverending melodrama. Until art begins to imitate life.
"Contraption" in Star Science Fiction Stories #1, 1953.
"Junkyard", Galaxy Science Fiction, May, 1953. Explorers touch down on a planet containing only a junked spaceship and a stone tower. Then they discover they can't get leave because the engineers have forgotten how to!
"The Questing of Foster Adams", Fantastic Universe, August/September, 1953.
"Spacebred Generations" in Science Fiction Plus, August, 1953. AKA "Target Generation". A generation ship that's traveled for 1,000 years suddenly stops. Only one man, a "sinner" who can read books, will risk his life to complete the mission.
"Full Cycle", Science Fiction Stories, November, 1955. An out-of-work history teacher buys a trailer and becomes a nomad - as has everyone else - but conceives an idea how to improve life for everyone.
"Worlds Without End", Future #31, 1956. When the Director of Dreams mysteriously dies, a bureaucrat is promoted - into a conspiracy.
"The Spaceman's Van Gogh", Science Fiction Stories, March, 1956. A seeker finds the final resting place of a famous painter who saw something no one had ever seen before.
"Drop Dead", Galaxy Science Fiction, July, 1956. An agricultural survey team on a new planet finds a one-stop-shopping animal that could end hunger. Dare they eat it?
"So Bright the Vision", Fantastic Universe, August, 1956. A luckless writer can't afford a new "yarner" machine to create stories, until he finds an alien "blanket" that grants him visions.
"Galactic Chest", Science Fiction Stories, September, 1956. A frustrated newsman attributes local serendipities to brownies, then gets a surprise.
"Jackpot", Galaxy Science Fiction, October, 1956.
"Operation Stinky", Galaxy Science Fiction, April, 1957.
"Founding Father", Galaxy Science Fiction, May, 1957. A lonely colonist is responsible for raising one thousand embryos on a distant planet, but he's no longer sure what's real.
"Lulu", Galaxy Science Fiction, June, 1957.
“Shadow World”, Galaxy Science Fiction, September, 1957. On an alien planet, a construction crew is pestered by “Shadows” that copy everything they do - literally.
"Death Scene", Infinity Science Fiction, October, 1957. Everyone on Earth gains the power to see a day into the future, but some visions are better not "seen".
"Carbon Copy", Galaxy Science Fiction, December, 1957. A real estate salesman is making a fortune leasing houses to families - except the houses remain empty.
"Nine Lives", Short Stories: A Man's Magazine, December, 1957.
“The World That Couldn’t Be”, in Galaxy Science Fiction, January, 1958. A plantation owner on an alien world tracks the strange animal Cytha, and gets a lesson in xeno-ecology.
“Leg. Forst.”, Infinity Science Fiction, April, 1958. A skinflint stamp dealer discovers an alien stamp is reorganizing his collection - and himself.
“The Sitters”, Galaxy Science Fiction, April, 1958. A prodigal-son spaceman brought home gentle alien "Sitters" to raise the town's children - except they don't remain children.
"The Money Tree", Venture Science Fiction, July, 1958.
“The Civilization Game”, Galaxy Science Fiction, November, 1958.
“The Big Front Yard”, Astounding Science Fiction, October, 1958. When a spatial gateway splits his house and opens onto another world, a Yankee trader drives in to explore - and to dicker with the locals. Winner 1959 Hugo for Best Novelette.
"Installment Plan", Galaxy Science Fiction, February, 1959. A work gang shows up on a remote planet to collect the harvest of podars needed for medicine, but the natives won't sell.
No Life of Their Own", Galaxy Science Fiction, August, 1959.
“A Death in the House”, in Galaxy Science Fiction, October, 1959. A hillman finds a smashed spaceship and a dying alien, and buries it. Then is visited again.
“Final Gentlemen”, Fantasy & Science Fiction, January, 1960. An oracle computer seems to be steering humanity's destiny, and a defamed writer doesn't like it.
“Crying Jag”, in Galaxy Science Fiction, February, 1960. A visiting alien latches onto people to hear their sad stories.
“All the Traps of Earth”, Fantasy & Science Fiction, March, 1960. A runaway robot gains the ability to telekinetically fix any problem, yet can't fix his own problem: the need to be needed.
“The Gleaners”, IF, March, 1960.
“Condition of Employment”, in Galaxy Science Fiction, April, 1960. Only homesickness can induce spacemen to risk their lives, so it's induced.
“The Golden Bugs”, Fantasy & Science Fiction, June, 1960. An insurance salesman finds an agate boulder in his garden and his house full of golden (alien?) ladybugs.
“Shotgun Cure”, Fantasy & Science Fiction, January, 1961. An alien gives a country doctor a vaccine to wipe out mankind's diseases - including a few we never recognized.
"Horrible Example", Analog Science Fiction, March, 1961.
“The Shipshape Miracle”, IF (Worlds of IF Science Fiction), January, 1963. A slippery character stranded on a remote planet is "rescued" by a mysterious black ship.
“Day of Truce”, Galaxy Science Fiction, February, 1963. The local "Punks" take advantage of the once-a-year truce to ransack the last fortified house in the suburbs.
"Physician to the Universe", Fantastic Science Fiction, March, 1963.
"A Pipeline to Destiny", HKLPLOD #4, Summer, 1963.
"New Folk's Home," Analog Science Fiction, July, 1963.
“Small Deer”, Galaxy Science Fiction, October, 1965. A tinkerer fires up a time machine and learns what killed off the dinosaurs - and may come back.
“Over the River and Through the Woods”, in Amazing Stories, May, 1965. A farm family c. 1900 is visited by their great-great-great-grandchildren.
“Buckets of Diamonds”, Galaxy Science Fiction, April, 1969.
“I Am Crying All Inside”, Galaxy Science Fiction, August, 1969.
“The Thing in the Stone”, IF (Worlds of If Science Fiction), March, 1970. A man who suffered brain damage can see the ancient past and hear the traffic of the stars - and the creature trapped under a mountain.
“The Autumn Land”, Fantasy & Science Fiction, October, 1971. An engineer drifting through life finds himself trapped in a village where nothing ever happens.
"To Walk a City's Street", Infinity #3, 1972.
"The Observer", Analog Science Fiction, May, 1972.
“Construction Shack”, Worlds of If, January/February, 1973.
“The Ghost of a Model T”, Epoch, 1975. A lonely old man gets one last ride through his happy youth.
"Senior Citizen", Fantasy & Science Fiction, October, 1975.
“Unsilent Spring”, Stellar #2, 1976. A country doctor suspects an epidemic of malaise is due to a lack(?) of DDT. Co-written with Richard Simak.
“Auk House”, Stellar #3, 1977. An artist enters a remote house only to learn it actually sits in prehistoric North America, with no way back.
“Brother”, Fantasy & Science Fiction, October, 1977.
“Party Line”, Destinies, 1978. Volunteers risk their sanity by sending their minds into the void to query alien intelligences.
“Grotto of the Dancing Deer”, Analog Science Fiction, April, 1980. An archeologist discovers ancient cartoony cave paintings, and the artist who painted them. Winner of Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Short Story, 1981.
“The Whistling Well”, Dark Forces, 1980. A genealogist unearths his ancestral home, and wonders if dinosaurs had gods.
“Epilog”, added to City, 1981. Humans, animals, and even ants are gone, so it's time for Jenkins the robot to go too.
“Byte Your Tongue!”, Stellar #6, 1981.
The Solar System: Our New Front Yard (1962)
Trilobite, Dinosaur, and Man: The Earth's Story (1965)
Wonder and Glory: The Story of the Universe (1969)
Prehistoric Man: The Story of Man's Rise to Civilization (1971)
From Atoms to Infinity: Readings in Modern Science (1965)
The March of Science (1971)
Nebula Award Stories #6 (1971)
The Best of Astounding (1978)
"Good Night, Mr. James" adapted as "The Duplicate Man" on The Outer Limits in 1964. Simak notes this is a "vicious story - so vicious that it is the only one of my stories adapted to television."
Clifford D. Simak; Over the River and Through the Woods (read by Jonathan Frakes) (1995)