Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Two Clifford Simak novels
This book has been on our SF shelf for I don't even know how long, but I'd never gotten around to reading it, though I like Simak just fine. It turned out to be quite fun, although I saw the end coming from a mile away. Simak's books aren't huge or terribly complex; they're more like YA science fiction, relatively short and easy to digest.
6,000 years in the future, mankind is spreading through the galaxy, but very thinly. The population of humans does not seem large at all. Instead, they swell their ranks with robots and androids--chemically-grown, human DNA, in all ways identical to human beings except that they are sterile. Androids do most of the work and fill a lot of bureaucratic offices, but they are slaves. And now, Asher Sutton has come back, 20 years after he disappeared, to find himself a target for assassination so that he won't produce the book he plans to write. He is chased through time (and space) with only the androids to help him.
Not bad, though with a massive weak point; at no time does anyone suggest that people simply have children. And not as good as this next one:
Way Station, by Clifford D. Simak
Redhead reviewed this the other day, and I liked the sound of it so much that I got myself a copy. I really enjoyed Way Station; it's much better than Time and Again. Read this one!
In a remote corner of Wisconsin, Enoch Wallace lives what seems a simple life--for 150 years. He's a Civil War veteran, and now it's something like the 1980s. His neighbors are willing to live and let live, up to a point anyway, and nobody has bothered him much until somebody decides he needs watching. In fact, Enoch runs a way station inside his house; aliens arrive and rest on their way to their destinations. He's met hundreds of life forms, and learned amazing things. Now things are coming to a crisis.
This is a nice, quiet novel for the first half or so. It builds slowly and then things get crazy. It's really good stuff.