Sunday, 31 May 2015

Clifford Simak

Since this blog is about Poul Anderson, I here quote Poul Anderson's opinion about another science fiction writer:

"the late great Clifford D Simak was an inspiration to us all. He still is."
-Poul Anderson, Going For Infinity (New York, 2002), p. 81.

I would have been interested to read Anderson's comments on some of Simak's works. I know from private conversation that James Blish did not care for them and that he particularly disliked talking dogs which, as I remember, occurred no less than three times in Simak's sf. Simak must be classified with Ray Bradbury and CS Lewis as not a hard, therefore a "soft," sf writer.

In my teens, I set out to read every word written by certain American sf writers. Simak was on this list. However, I caught up with him, read his then newly published novel, felt that he had become repetitive and self-parodying, and stopped reading although Simak continued to publish a novel a year (or thereabouts).

A lot of what he wrote about time and time travel did not make sense. His Time And Again did present a logically consistent circular causality paradox but I was disappointed when I reread it more recently - too many sf cliches - although one interesting feature was an appearance by Old Cliff himself at the age of ninety.

Anderson, Blish and Simak each wrote a story about exploring the Jovian environment. Anderson's and Simak's characters, though not Blish's, wound up living happily there.

No comments: