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The Thing in the Stone and other stories

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A mind-opening collection of short science fiction from one of the genre’s most revered Grand Masters.   Legendary author Robert A. Heinlein proclaimed, “To read science fiction is to read Simak. A reader who does not like Simak stories does not like science fiction at all.” The remarkably talented Clifford D. Simak was able to ground his vast imagination in reality, and t A mind-opening collection of short science fiction from one of the genre’s most revered Grand Masters.   Legendary author Robert A. Heinlein proclaimed, “To read science fiction is to read Simak. A reader who does not like Simak stories does not like science fiction at all.” The remarkably talented Clifford D. Simak was able to ground his vast imagination in reality, and then introduce readers to fantastical worlds and concepts they could instantly and completely dig into, comprehend, and enjoy.   In the title story, a man’s newfound ability to walk in the past allows him to dwell among dinosaurs, saber-toothed tigers . . . and something even more timeless. In “Construction Shack,” the first manned expedition to Pluto reveals that no matter how advanced aliens may be, even they don’t always get everything right. And in “Univac 2200,” the thin line between humans creating technology and humans becoming technology is about to be crossed—and there may be no going back.   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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A mind-opening collection of short science fiction from one of the genre’s most revered Grand Masters.   Legendary author Robert A. Heinlein proclaimed, “To read science fiction is to read Simak. A reader who does not like Simak stories does not like science fiction at all.” The remarkably talented Clifford D. Simak was able to ground his vast imagination in reality, and t A mind-opening collection of short science fiction from one of the genre’s most revered Grand Masters.   Legendary author Robert A. Heinlein proclaimed, “To read science fiction is to read Simak. A reader who does not like Simak stories does not like science fiction at all.” The remarkably talented Clifford D. Simak was able to ground his vast imagination in reality, and then introduce readers to fantastical worlds and concepts they could instantly and completely dig into, comprehend, and enjoy.   In the title story, a man’s newfound ability to walk in the past allows him to dwell among dinosaurs, saber-toothed tigers . . . and something even more timeless. In “Construction Shack,” the first manned expedition to Pluto reveals that no matter how advanced aliens may be, even they don’t always get everything right. And in “Univac 2200,” the thin line between humans creating technology and humans becoming technology is about to be crossed—and there may be no going back.   Each story includes an introduction by David W. Wixon, literary executor of the Clifford D. Simak estate and editor of this ebook.    

30 review for The Thing in the Stone and other stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Donna Davis

    Clifford D. Simak was given the third Grand Master Award by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America; he wrote short stories proliferately for several decades in the last century. His work was generally published in magazines, but with the digital age comes the release of his collected work in twelve volumes. My thanks go to Net Galley and Open Road, from whom I received a review copy…two years ago. Ouch. As you might expect, this title is for sale now. Here’s the thing about this coll Clifford D. Simak was given the third Grand Master Award by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America; he wrote short stories proliferately for several decades in the last century. His work was generally published in magazines, but with the digital age comes the release of his collected work in twelve volumes. My thanks go to Net Galley and Open Road, from whom I received a review copy…two years ago. Ouch. As you might expect, this title is for sale now. Here’s the thing about this collection as a whole: not all of it is science fiction. Simak wrote a lot during the 1940s and 1950s, and back then it was Western stories that sold big. For fans of science fiction, then, these stories are definitely a mixed blessing. The Thing in the Stone and Other Stories is the twelfth and final collection in the series. The tltle story is excellent, and it shows why the editor has not chosen to separate Simak’s sci fi and Western stories into separate volumes: some of his stories—some of his best ones in fact—blend the two genres. In this one, Daniels sits on his farmhouse porch and chats with the sheriff; there are concerns about chicken thieves in the area. But even at the outset, small references here and there tell us that this is no ordinary Western story. For one thing, up North is an area casually referred to as “the Canadian Shield.” And as the sheriff departs and the rest of the story unfolds, Daniel learns that he is not alone, and his visitor is an unusual one indeed. This story contains a beautifully written inner monologue, and I find myself rereading passages out of admiration for the word smithery involved. The next two stories are fun ones. “The World of the Red Sun” is suspenseful, and “Skirmish”, which is a man-versus-machine tale with a degree of prescience, is laugh-out-loud funny in places. These stories, alas, are followed by an interminable Western—not blended, just cowboys and more cowboys—that I finally gave myself permission to skip. The rest of the stories offered after it are good, but the first three are the ones I like best. Should you buy this collection? I suggest that if you are new to Simak’s writing, you purchase the first collection in the set, I Am Crying All Inside and Other Stories. It doesn’t matter whether you read the collections sequentially, but this is a solid short story collection and his best selling one also. I have read and reviewed eight of the twelve volumes in the set, and although The Thing in the Stone and Other Stories is well written and entertaining, there are five other volumes, all reviewed here, that I rate as five stars. Of course if you have the opportunity to buy the entire set and have a serious love of old school sci fi, you won’t be disappointed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Pop Bop

    An Overdue Appreciation I've been reading science fiction since the 60's, and mostly favor short stories. But my early reading was predictable, (Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Bradbury, Silverberg), and later on was shaped not by magazines but by all of the paperback anthologies that were so popular, (Groff Conklin, Hugo Gernsback, and people like that). So, I read some Simak, but mostly those occasional Simak stories that ended up in an anthology or a collection. Just reading the blurbs for this book An Overdue Appreciation I've been reading science fiction since the 60's, and mostly favor short stories. But my early reading was predictable, (Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Bradbury, Silverberg), and later on was shaped not by magazines but by all of the paperback anthologies that were so popular, (Groff Conklin, Hugo Gernsback, and people like that). So, I read some Simak, but mostly those occasional Simak stories that ended up in an anthology or a collection. Just reading the blurbs for this book, for example, I recognized the heavily anthologized "Construction Shack", which is amusing but hardly a fair representative of Simak's body of work. Anyway, this volume 12 is just a small part of the effort to publish the complete short fiction of Clifford Simak. I was curious to read it because I was curious to get a better and more thorough sense of this often overlooked master. To me the book was something of a mixed bag, but isn't that always the case with collections devoted to one author? I do think it's fair to say that this shows off many different aspects of Simak's body of work, and confirms that Simak deserves his place of honor amongst the early greats. The title story is beautifully written and struck me as the most thoroughly and stylishly crafted. I thought it alone justified the entire book. There's a western, which is sort of odd, but there it is. We do a lot of time traveling to the end of Earth's time, and all of these stories are rather wistful and yet full of portent. "Aesop6" ties into Simak's masterwork, "The City", and so gives the reader a substantial taste of what that project would become. I was often struck by echoes I detected from earlier writers, from Lovecraft to Verne and even to Hodgson's "House on the Borderland", which is not meant at all to be a criticism, but rather an observation regarding Simak's range and versatility. There is an introductory foreword written by a Simak friend and associate that is interesting, if not essential. Contrary to the trend to sometimes have individual editor introductions that are longer than the stories, there are brief intros to these stories that give a little background, but that don't go on too long or get in the way. Apart from just being curious about Simak, which is a fine reason to read one of these volumes, the other reason to read these is to marvel at the prescience of early masters such as Simak. Alternate universes, sentient machines, virtual reality, warped space time, alien psychology - it's all here. And not in some glancing, fanciful way, but as well developed concepts and ideas driving entire story plots. I was impressed and entertained, and quite amply rewarded, by this book. (Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Metaphorosis

    Metaphorosis Reviews, 3.5 stars Summary: A collection of mostly SFF stories from Clifford Simak Review: While this is overall a strong collection, it includes a number of stories that could have been much stronger with just a touch more work. In many of them, like "Hunch", about an alien that helps a blind man see, Simak edges right up to touching moments or endings, but doesn't quite pull them off. The intent is clear, and the path is visible, but Simak didn't follow them to the end. It's unfortuna Metaphorosis Reviews, 3.5 stars Summary: A collection of mostly SFF stories from Clifford Simak Review: While this is overall a strong collection, it includes a number of stories that could have been much stronger with just a touch more work. In many of them, like "Hunch", about an alien that helps a blind man see, Simak edges right up to touching moments or endings, but doesn't quite pull them off. The intent is clear, and the path is visible, but Simak didn't follow them to the end. It's unfortunate, because while the stories are mostly good, a handful could have been excellent. The best stories were: Aesop – part of the City sequence, this is a slow-moving, slow-building story with a strong ending. Univac 2200 – an unusual story for Simak with a clear focus on the projected implications of virtual reality. The Spaceman's Van Gogh - about the search for a painter, this story verges on, but doesn't quite make it over the line into greatness. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Arthur Thomas

    After seeing his books in stores for decades, I finally read one. Simak has old questions he considers from his idiosyncratic viewpoint. He reminds me of no other writer and his stories are not easily categorized. They are thoughtful and worth reading. I found I enjoyed them, much to my surprise.

  5. 5 out of 5

    James

    I really wish there had been a two volume “Greatest Hits” collection. Each of the twelve volumes I’ve read have had 2 or 3 stories I really liked, a western, a couple of stories I didn’t much care for, and 3 or 4 that were okay but not anything I could work up a lot of enthusiasm for. I suppose if I weren’t lazy, I’d go back and expand my reviews to address each story. But I’m not going to do that. I’ve mentally set aside the stories that comprised “City “. It goes without saying that they were t I really wish there had been a two volume “Greatest Hits” collection. Each of the twelve volumes I’ve read have had 2 or 3 stories I really liked, a western, a couple of stories I didn’t much care for, and 3 or 4 that were okay but not anything I could work up a lot of enthusiasm for. I suppose if I weren’t lazy, I’d go back and expand my reviews to address each story. But I’m not going to do that. I’ve mentally set aside the stories that comprised “City “. It goes without saying that they were top notch. Perhaps a fan of western fiction would rate Simak’s western stories more highly than I do, but I considered them dime-novel, pulp tales full of cliches and not all that engaging. I wish they had been put in a separate collection. This collection did not have a war story, as did many of the volumes. What did I really like in this one? The title story and “Aesop” - but again, the latter was part of “City”. I really did not like “Hunch”; it may be the most poorly written Simak story of them all. I didn’t care much for “The Creator” either, but it was a good bit more coherent. “The Spaceman’s Van Gogh” had a haunting Quality to it, but I found it a little too enigmatic to put it in the top tier of Simak stories. I’m still hoping Volumes13 & 14 will one day be published.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Big Orange Dave

    Excellent From his very first published story to some of his best; another great entry in this series. Several of the stories have a focus on religion as we get to meet what may be the creator of everything. And there is a return to familiar territory in the title story.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Greg D'Agostino

  8. 5 out of 5

    Paul Leach

  9. 5 out of 5

    David Zachariason

  10. 5 out of 5

    Robert Heiniger

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Rebecca

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brother Kevin M. Finnegan

  14. 4 out of 5

    Suz

  15. 4 out of 5

    joe Warshawski

  16. 4 out of 5

    Adam Meek

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cory Hubbell

  18. 5 out of 5

    Boris Kozlov

  19. 5 out of 5

    Randy Sweeney

  20. 4 out of 5

    raymond st-jean

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sean Allphin

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tina Connell

  23. 5 out of 5

    Naya

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joe Maybee

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ian

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robert Arl

  27. 4 out of 5

    Evelina | AvalinahsBooks

  28. 4 out of 5

    Charles T. Wilkes

  29. 4 out of 5

    Frederick S Stover

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nikola

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