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City Paperback – 9 Sep 1971


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Paperback, 9 Sep 1971
£1.20
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; 1st edition (9 Sep 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0722178573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0722178577
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,427,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

an underrated writer who is worthy or reassessment. (SFFWORLD.COM)

just about any work by Simak deserves to be considered a classic and City is no exception, it's a unique perspective on the race of man and a fantastic read. (SFBOOK.COM) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

As the human race dwindles and declines, which of its great creations will inherit the Earth? And which will claim the stars . . . ? --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 1 May 2006
Format: Hardcover
Simak has been called a pastoral writer, a stronghold of old USA communal values. In contrast with other more pessimistic SF writers, he should be a good all american farming boy. Many SF tales of those years (40-60 of the 20th century)are optimistic and show a great confidence on the capabilities of humans and technical progress.

Nevertheless, this novel is far from that: he portraits a world in which technology has made Earth useless, the struggle for life is over, and so society falls apart. Through succesive generations of a family (all of them fail their high mission) he describes Earth's decay: first society as such, then the planet itself is abandoned for Mars or Jupiter where men become Jovians, a more gifted race, then the last humans go back to the stone ages. Only robots and gentically modified and speaking dogs stay behind to prepare a better future to those men, a task which seems nearly doomed to failure due to our intrinsic violence. On the other side, some of those misfits left behind turn into mutants with extraordinary mental powers (telepathy, superior intelligence, extravagant whims) and create a new breed of ants which in their turn take the same menacing trait as men.

Dogs and the last of the robots are left to wonder what could be, what will be...

Not all together an optimistic tale. There are robots, there are stars, but Simak is not Asimov and there's not a happy ending but a melancholic one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John M VINE VOICE on 30 April 2012
Format: Paperback
For me Clifford Simak is one of the greatest SF authors, but unfortunately he hasn't really achieved the acclaim due to him. Some of his novels, such as 'Way Station', 'Time and Again', and 'Time is the Simplest Thing' are among the finest of the SF genre. Whilst 'City' is an interesting, thought provoking and well-written book, it doesn't seem the most obvious choice from the Simak stable for the SF Masterworks series. However, it is good to see he has finally been recognised by inclusion in the series.

City is a novel broken down into eight 'stories' which span about ten thousand years. Each story tells a chapter about Mankind's future, with a preface to each chapter written from the perspective of a cannine race that takes over Man's dominant place and looks back upon the 'fable' of Man debating whether he is fact or fiction. The result is a fascinating, if bleak prediction of the future. Some of the psychological and metaphysical themes that characterise Simak's work are apparent. I'd certainly recommend reading 'City' and other novels from Simak, some of which may hopefully achieve a deserved revival.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Kemper on 19 July 2011
Format: Paperback
City has been, and continues to be, my favorite short story. As a child, it introduced core science fiction and fantasy concepts concerning what is still current world events. Still, with childhood long in my past, I find that I read this book at least once a year.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Jan 2003
Format: Paperback
City is great science fiction, a social commentary of sorts told in a unique and highly effective manner. The tales collected in this book are the myths that have been told by generation after generation of Dogs. Dog scholars debate their origin, and only Tige is so bold as to argue that Man ever truly existed. The majority argument makes sense--man was a highly illogical creature, too selfish and materialistic to ever survive long enough to form a lasting, advanced culture. These stories themselves basically tell the story of the Webster family, a remarkable family whose genealogical line was gifted with genius yet cursed with failures. As the story goes, humans abandoned the cities and sought a bucolic lifestyle, shedding the old tendencies to huddle together in cities for protection. They explored the solar system, and in time the majority of the population sought an alien bliss in the form of Jupiter's native life forms. One Webster had a vision of two civilizations, man and dog, working together to plot a new future--he utilized deft surgical means to enable dogs to speak, he designed special lenses to allow dogs to see as men do, and he designed robots to aid dogs by serving as their hands. Over the years, man's society continued to break down, and eventually a Webster manages to shut off man from the world at large, determined to let the dogs create a new earth free of man's dangerous ideas and influences. Jenkins, the faithful robot servant of the Websters, oversees the dogs' evolution. Unfortunately, the Dog world was not isolated from a handful of human beings after all, and eventually a man builds a bow and arrow and kills a fellow creature, thus upsetting the balance of life all over again.Read more ›
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rod Williams on 9 Sep 2004
Format: Hardcover
City is a fix-up novel culled from the pages of Astounding and comprising of eight related stories and additional linking text.

`City', is a tale of men, a tale which is being analysed in the linking text by a group of sentient dogs who believe the tales told by Dogs of the race of Men to be merely fables and Man himself to be a myth.

Simak's naïve and somewhat surreal view of the future is based very much on his love for small-town America and its communities and values, and is often tinged with nostalgia for a way of life which has passed.

The City of the title story is represented by one of its residential areas, a place of suburban houses and lawns which, like the rest of the City, is almost abandoned. Centralised automated farming technology has made vast tracts of land free for habitation and this, combined with the bizarre concept of an atomic plane for every home has lured people away to private estates in the country.

The worthy officials of the City Council however, refuse to accept that their City is dead and are in the process of evicting the last remaining residents who are squatting in the empty houses, unwilling to abandon the community where they spent their lives.

It's a strange and unreal tale reminiscent of Ray Bradbury, and is full of poetry and atmosphere.

`Huddling Place' take us further into the future, to where descendant of one of the City's characters has become an agoraphobic recluse in his country house, where he lives with his robot butler Jenkins. Having abandoned the cities, humanity is now abandoning the Earth, either for Mars or the interiors of the their homes from where they can travel `virtually' via a holographic projection network.
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