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Cover of: City | Clifford D. Simak
About the Book

Comment by John Clute:

We know better now, of course. But they still entrance us, the old page-turners from the glory days of American SF, half a century or so ago, when the world was full of futures we were never going to have. In the mid-1940s, when he began to publish the episodes that would be assembled as City in 1952, Clifford Simak, a Minneapolis-based journalist and author, could still carry us away with the dream that cars and pollution and even the great cities of the world – "Huddling Place", the title of one of these tales, is his own derisory term for them – would soon be brushed off the map by Progress, leaving nothing behind but tasteful exurbs filled with middle-class nuclear families living the good life, with fishing streams and greenswards sheltering each home from the stormy blast.

Fortunately, Simak soon gets past this demented vision of a near-future world saved by technological fixes, a dementia common then to SF writers and gurus and politicians alike, and launches into an astonishingly eventful narrative of the next 10,000 years as seen through the eyes of one family and the immortal robot Jenkins, and all told with a weird pastoral serenity that for a kid like me seemed near to godlike. In its course City touches on almost everything dear to 1940s SF, and to me remembering. Robots. Genetic Engineering. Space. Jupiter. Domed cities. Keeps. Hiveminds. Matter transmission. Telepathy. Parallel worlds. Paranormal empathy. Mutants. Supermen. It's all there, and, thanks to Simak's skilled hand at the wheel, it's all in place: suave, sibylline, swift. The whole is framed as a series of legends told by the uplifted Dogs who have replaced the human race, now gone for ever. They have been bred not to kill. At the end, only Jenkins remains to keep them from learning how to repeat history and die.

It all seemed immensely sad and wise then, but fun. It still does.

21 editions First published in 1952

Edition Read Locate Buy
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City
November 2004, Old Earth Books
Hardcover in English - Centennial edition
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City
June 1993, Lightyear Pr
Hardcover
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City
February 1992, Doubleday Books
Hardcover in English
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City
1991, Macmillan
Paperback in English
Cover of: City
City
1991, Macmillan Pub. Co., Maxwell Macmillan Canada, Maxwell Macmillan International
in English - 1st Collier Books ed.
Cover of: City
City
1991, Mandarin
Paperback in English
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City
1988, Methuen Paperback
Paperback in English
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City
December 1983, Ace Books
Paperback in English
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City
1982, Magnum
Paperback in English
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City
October 1981, Ace Books
Paperback in English
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City
1976, Ace Books
in English
Cover of: City
City
1976, Ace Books
in English
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City
1971, Sphere
Paperback in English
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City
1965, Four Square
Paperback
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City.
1961, Science Fiction Book Club
in English
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City
1960, Ace Books
in English
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City
1954, Permabooks
in English
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City
1952, ACE Books
in English
Cover of: City.
City.
1952, Gnome Press
in English - [1st ed.
Cover of: City.
City.
1952, Ace Books
in English
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City
1952, N. Doubleday
Hardcover in English - Book club ed.

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