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City [Hardcover]

Clifford D. Simak
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov 2004
Clifford Simnak's award winning book CITY is now available with his 1976 "Foreword" and the final CITY story "Epilog", both of these have rarely been published in previous editions.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 251 pages
  • Publisher: Old Earth Books; Centennial edition (Nov 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 188296828X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1882968282
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,568,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a melancholic tale 1 May 2006
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
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic stroll 19 July 2011
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
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old but Great 30 Sep 2013
By Ro&Bo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this story, oh, so many years ago. I bought it to read again and I have left it with my brother so he can enjoy it again too. Simak is one of the great si-fi writers. If you have never read "City" then I recommend it. I can't tell you of the story as it would spoil it for you! A thumping good read. However, if you like lots of guns, fighting, or sex you will be disappointed, as this story does not rely on such cheap tricks - it is a series of connecting short stories which tell the possible outcome for society and the human race on planet Earth. Read and enjoy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting Book
This book is about a robot called Jenkins, who one day became a close companion to generation after generation. Read more
Published on 31 Dec 2011 by Ed
2.0 out of 5 stars An interesting but aged collection of stories
NOTE on this Masterworks edition: This edition only has eight out of the nine City stories so I'd hardly call this a 'Masterwork' edition of any sort. Read more
Published on 13 Dec 2011 by Mr. G. Earley
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not a classic.
Simak is one of the grandmasters of SF, but unfortunately to appreciate him at his best in novel form then read Way Station. City is not a novel but is a "fix up". Read more
Published on 23 Aug 2011 by M. P. Garde
3.0 out of 5 stars Showing its age, but interesting nonetheless.
This collection of eight stories by Simak evince a style of writing that was common a few decades ago, but not particularly compelling to the modern reader. Read more
Published on 22 Aug 2011 by Balor of the Evil Eye
2.0 out of 5 stars It's time has passed
Simak is an unique sci-fi author not hiding his ideas behind gimmicks, shooting spaceships, etc. His Way Station is still a seminal work, but this one is not close to such... Read more
Published on 14 Aug 2011 by M. A. Olbrich
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful
One of my favourite books - read into it what you like or simply enjoy it as a story - but do read it!
Published on 11 Jan 2011 by nogginthenog
4.0 out of 5 stars a flawed masterpiece
City is a fix-up novel culled from the pages of Astounding and comprising of eight related stories and additional linking text. Read more
Published on 9 Sep 2004 by Rod Williams
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