Tensions rise and terror runs rampant when the residents of a small town are trapped within the confines of their village by an invasive force from an alternate dimension Nothing much ever happens in Millville, a small, secluded Middle-American community--until the day Brad Carter discovers he is unable to leave. It's not just the nearly bankrupt real estate agent who's being held prisoner; every other resident is also being confined within the town's boundaries by an invisible force field that cannot be breached. As local tensions rapidly reach breaking point, a set of bizarre circumstances leads Brad to the source of their captivity, making him humanity's reluctant ambassador to an alien race of sentient flora, and privy to these jailers' ultimate intentions. But some of Millville's most powerful citizens don't take kindly to Carter's "collaboration with the enemy," even under the sudden threat of global apocalypse. Decades before Stephen King trapped an entire town in Under the Dome, science fiction Grand Master Clifford D. Simak explored the shocking effects of communal captivity on an unsuspecting population. Nominated for the Nebula Award, All Flesh Is Grass is a riveting masterwork that brilliantly reinvents the alien invasion story.
The strange but beautiful purple blossoms now grew wild in his backyard. One day Brad Carter tripped and fell into an alternate world, a world peopled by these very flowers.
Robots, strange planets with creatures that aren't quite vegetables or mammals, aliens that steal childhood laughter... these are the subjects of the yarns Clifford D. Simak spins in this book containing a selection of his short stories.
One day they were there, the next they were gone--all but a small tribe of American Indians, a family and friends gathered for a party, and the ubiquitous robots. Whatever mysterious power it was that had snatched up eight billion human souls and spirited them away had overlooked very few. Deprived of a labor force, technology disintegrated. The Indians went back to nature, the others ... something very strange happened to them. In exchange for the overpowering presence of the vanished hordes, they acquired mental powers beyond imagining which whisked them through the stars, extraordinary longevity, and a painfully garnered wisdom. As for the robots, some went to live with the remnants of humanity, though the Indians forthrightly rejected their services; others gathered into a robot community and commenced work on the Project, a work baffling to human understanding, but in all its fantastic electronic complexity an apotheosis of robotry; still others, a very few, stubbornly maintained the old religion and lived as monks, worshiping they knew not what by who knows what right. Then one day a traveler returned from the stars. The people had been found and were planning to return. More important and more dreadful, a Principle had been discovered in the center of the Galaxy, a disembodied intelligence of awesome capacity and godlike indifference. The idyllic existence of the last of Earth's humans was threatened. The carefully composed elegy to mankind was under siege.
The years had moved too fast. Years that had brought the family plane and helicopter, leaving the auto to rust in some forgotten place, the unused roads to fall into disrepair. Years that had virtually wiped out the tilling of the soil with the rise of hydroponics. Years that had brought cheap land with the disappearance of the farm as an economic unit, had sent city people scurrying out into the country where each man, for less than the price of a city lot, might own broad acres. Years that had revolutionized the construction of homes to a point where families simply walked away from their old homes to the new ones that could be bought, custom-made, for less than half the price of a prewar structure and could be changed, at small cost, to accommodate need of additional space or just a passing whim .... *** Earth was very different without its cities. There were no more wars, because the population centers which had formerly been prime targets no longer existed. Among the people who left the cities and their descendants, some took to the stars and met beings from other worlds; some took to the woods, and let their primitive lifestyle carry them further and further from the basic design of society. And some simply remained on the land their families originally bought, growing ever more deeply ensconced in those pockets of tradition. *** It was Bruce Webster, from the pocket known as Webster House, who first changed the dogs. Recognizing that the differences between humans and canines might be an advantage--dogs, with their own brand of intelligence, would be able to comprehend things people could not--he reasoned that two thinking races would have to be better than one. So he surgically altered a few dogs' throats and tongues, enabling them to mimic the words he taught them. Special contact lenses were invented, changing canine eyesight enough to allow them to learn to read. As time went on, the traits Bruce initiated were passed on to each successive generation of dogs. And as the Dogs developed and advanced--aided by robots that humans had built ages ago--Man ceased to be the dominant species on Earth and became a creature of legend. A legend the Dogs still tell on winter nights, when the wind is from the north and the fires burn high ....
Intelligent canines in a far-future city preserve the legends and lore of their absent human masters Thousands of years have passed since humankind abandoned the city--first for the countryside, then for the stars, and ultimately for oblivion--leaving their most loyal animal companions alone on Earth. Granted the power of speech centuries earlier by the revered Bruce Webster, the intelligent, pacifist dogs are the last keepers of human history, raising their pups with bedtime stories, passed down through generations, of the lost "websters" who gave them so much but will never return. With the aid of Jenkins, an ageless service robot, the dogs live in a world of harmony and peace. But they now face serious threats from their own and other dimensions, perhaps the most dangerous of all being the reawakened remnants of a warlike race called "Man." In the Golden Age of Asimov and Heinlein, Clifford D. Simak's writing blazed as brightly as anyone's in the science fiction firmament. Winner of the International Fantasy Award, City is a magnificent literary metropolis filled with an astonishing array of interlinked stories and structures--at once dystopian, transcendent, compassionate, and visionary.
From the vaults of The SF Gateway, the most comprehensive digital library of classic SFF titles ever assembled, comes an ideal introduction to the work of one of the giants of the Golden Age, Clifford D. Simak. A regular contributor to ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION throughout the influential John W. Campbell era, Simak produced a body of highly regarded work, winning the NEBULA and multiple HUGO AWARDs, and is best known for his story suite of future histories, City. This omnibus collects three novels that explore his favoured theme of a depopulated future: TIME IS THE SIMPLEST THING, A CHOICE OF GODS and the HUGO AWARD-winning WAY STATION.
The planet beckoned them from space, and then closed around them like a Venus fly trap.
A scholar, a goblin, and a gnome, among others, pursue the secrets of a vanished ancient race through a wasteland of dark magic in this enthralling fantasy quest adventure On an Earth that is different from ours, the young scholar Mark Cornwall becomes a target of the Inquisition, and specifically its most evil and obsessed agent, Beckett. Damned for asking questions, Mark is forced to escape over the border into the Wastelands, a magical realm that is home to all manner of flesh-devouring monsters. Luckily he will not have to make his journey alone. He is accompanied by a cadre of stalwart companions, including the rafter goblin Oliver, Snively the gnome, and secretive Mary from one of three parallel planes. Somewhere beyond the vengeful, blood-hungry Hellhounds, somewhere past the horrific legacy of the now-destroyed Chaos Beast, the mysteries of the Old Ones are waiting to be revealed--and only those with the courage to seek them will be able to alter the destiny of their worlds. In Enchanted Pilgrimage, Clifford D. Simak ingeniously blends elements of science fiction into a savory fantasy stew. The award-winning Grand Master of science fiction spreads his wings and takes glorious flight into a bold new realm of magic and adventure, demonstrating why he remains one of the most acclaimed storytellers in the literature of the remarkable.
Mark Cornwall is a young man who asks questions, in a society where all answers come from above. His questing spirit leads him into deadly exile.
Through a wilderness blighted by horror rode Duncan, son of the noble House of Standish. Astride his mighty war horse, he was pursuing a quest vital to the future of civilization. With him went a strange fellowship: a brawny man-at-arms, a banshee, a hermit, a ghost, a turncoat demon, a goblin and a witch. Opposing them came forces of supernatural malignancy. And aiding Dunan: a girl with the blood of enchanters in her veins who was mounted on an ancient griffin.
Professor Peter Maxwell is in desperate straits. En route to an interplanetary research mission, he was snatched by a strange, shadowy race to a previously uncharted planet. Ancient beyond comprehension, this planet is a storehouse of information that would be invaluable to the people of Earth-even an Earth so far advanced that perfected time travel allows goblins, dinosaurs, ghosts, even Shakespeare to coexist. His attempts to interest the rulers of Earth are thwarted, however, by a startling discovery- Maxwell was ingeniously duplicated. The "other" him came back before he did, and soon after was "accidentally" killed. Now no one will believe the original Maxwell really exists...
Thousands of years into the future man has completely destroyed a technology-based society and lives a tribal existence, worshipping the 'brain'-cases of long-rusted robots. Here and there pockets of knowledge remain, and young Tom Cushing lives in one such university. His imagination fired by reading of the fabled 'Place of Going to the Stars' in an ancient manuscript, Tom sets out on a long odyssey to find out if the legend is true. His journey encompasses excitement, danger and some strange and colourful companions who commune with plants, can sense life and include the very last robot. But nothing he meets along the way compares with what he and his motley group find at Thunderhead Butte, the Place of Going to the Stars, their journey's end. Here wonder abounds almost as at the edge of the universe. A new challenge, for man to rediscover his destiny, to fulfil his heritage and recover his lost knowledge.
A knowledge-hungry young man sets out on a quest to locate a legendary spaceport in a far-future society that has reverted to primitive tribalism More than a thousand years have passed since humankind intentionally destroyed its treacherous technology, choosing to revert back to a primitive tribal state. In this society the rusting brain cases of long-inert robots are considered trophies, and the scant knowledge that has survived is doled out to an inquisitive few in monastery-like "universities." It is at one such center of learning that young Tom Cushing first reads of the legendary "Place of Going to the Stars," rumored to exist on a high butte somewhere in the western part of the land. Driven by enthusiasm and an insatiable need to track the myth to its source, Tom sets out on an amazing trek across what was once called "America," teaming up with a witch, the world's last remaining robot, and other odd companions. But all the astonishing discoveries and dangers they encounter along the way will pale before the revelations that await them at journey's end. Clifford D. Simak, award-winning science fiction Grand Master, offers a breathtaking vision of the future that is both dystopian and hopeful in equal measure. In A Heritage of Stars, he boldly displays the heart, intelligence, and awesome imaginative powers that have established him as one of the all-time greatest authors of speculative fiction.
An adventure of the Far Future by Grand Master of Science Fiction Clifford D. Simak While Earth sleeps her thousand years, the City looks starward . . . It was a city on a high rock in a vast plain--on a planet whose glory was long forgotten. The gaunt "wardens" which roamed the prairie called it Thunder, and feared it well. But Cushing, who had read of it in the Story, who had crossed an empty continent to find it, knew it by another name: the Place of Going to the Stars.
Private investigator Jay Corcoran searches across time and space for a client who has mysteriously disappeared and discovers more questions than answers. Who are the Infinites, and what do they know?
This book is a sampling of Clifford D. Simak's short stories. They range from the satirical to the sad. The main concern is what it means to be a human being in the universe and what it means to become an adult.
Time-traveling turns into big business and big trouble when a casual walk down a farm path in a quiet Wisconsin town leads an archeologist into the Pleistocene era and he uncovers an interstellar mystery from before recorded time ... Asa Steele is unprepared for the incredible events that begin to unfold when Rila Elliot--a woman he loved two decades before--steps out of the past and his faithful dog Bowser starts loping into it through time trails he's discovered in his own backyard. Rila's appearance is mere coincidence, but Bowser's retrieval of fresh dinosaur bones is as inexplicable as is the curious crater in Asa's backyard that seems to have been made by a spaceship from the stars. And that's only the beginning. Soon Asa himself trips in time, led into prehistoric eras by an enigmatic cat-faced creature. Unable to communicate with his alien guide except through a local simpleton named Hiram, Asa attempts to understand the meaning and the purpose of these time trails. Meanwhile, Rila, always looking toward the future, arranges to turn them into one of the biggest money-making travel ventures of all time. In short order, the time trails in the quiet town of Willow Bend become the focus of global attention, government scrutiny and the target for an unprecedented solution to overpopulation. But from the moment the first modern men begin trekking back in time, there's more danger, excitement and trouble than any of them would ever have bargained for.
The entire earth's population from 500 years in the future begins immigrating back in time to the 1980s to flee ferocious alien monsters that thrive on hunting humans. The problem is: they've brought the aliens back in time with them...
A writer finds himself trapped in an isolated village where anything imagined becomes reality in this wildly inventive contemporary fantasy Hoping to write his book in quiet and seclusion, Horton Smith has returned home to Pilot Knob. Here, in the tiny village where he passed so many carefree childhood years, he is untroubled by the pressures of the big city and can freely answer the call of his muse. Of course, back in the city Horton didn't have to run from dinosaurs. There were no cartoon hillbillies offering him moonshine, Don Quixote was content to confine himself to the pages of a book, and the Devil himself was not on Horton's tail. Something very, very unusual is going on in Pilot Knob, and Horton Smith is determined to get to the bottom of it--if his own imagination doesn't kill him first! In Out of Their Minds, science fiction Grand Master Clifford D. Simak changes gears, treating his readers to a delightfully satiric flight of fancy and fantasy. An award-winning author renowned for his remarkable visions of the future, Simak brings creatures and characters from humankind's collective imagination to breathtaking life in this fast-moving and unforgettable tale.
7 short stories - Target Generation, Mirage, Beachhead, The Answers, Retrograde Evolution, The Fence, and Shadow Show
A human space traveler trapped on a remote planet must somehow unravel a confounding alien technology--or else surrender himself to a host of incomprehensible horrors For thousands of years, Carter Horton has been traveling across the galaxy toward a distant world capable of supporting human life. At journey's end, awakened from his millennia-long sleep by a curiously adaptive android, he is informed that his crewmates have all perished due to a system malfunction. But worse is yet to come: Horton's sentient ship is refusing to return him to Earth, and a strangely cordial predator is waiting for him on the planet's surface. The repulsive creature, Carnivore, arrived here via a tunnel across the universe, as did his late companion--a human dubbing himself William Shakespeare--whom Carnivore just recently devoured. But the tunnel moves in only one direction, and if Carter is unable to reverse it, he will find himself marooned forever in this incomprehensible world, at the mercy of monsters and a terrifying, mind-freezing alien anomaly that occurs every evening in the "God-hour." With unparalleled verve, award-winning science fiction Grand Master Clifford D. Simak performs a truly astonishing feat of world-creation in Shakespeare's Planet. Bursting with intelligence, imagination, and breathtaking invention, this is a gem of speculative fiction from one of the genre's most revered and innovative artists.
Carter Horton arrives at the first planet away from Earth that can support life after spending a thousand years in frozen sleep. Now his only companion is the almost human android transportation, Ship. Another stranded inhabitant of this planet, Carnivore, recalls that William Shakespeare was also here, after coming across a strange tunnel. This planet appears to be a decent planet but something is very wrong.
4 novelettes - So Bright the Vision, The Golden Bugs, Galactic Chest, and Leg Forst.
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