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Clifford Simak "All the Traps of Earth"


Clifford Simak
"All The Traps Of Earth" (coll)
© 1962, Doubleday books
(abridged to 4 stories - as "The Night of the Puudly")
© Four Square Books, 1964
--/ third place sf colection
--/ wonder award
--/ style award

Half of the stories I read in the ancient past, so the only thing I remember is that I simply lo-o-oved them. Other stories I read recently and - surprise - still like the style and wonder of them so much, that kept collection status as solid third place in sf. This is a classic, and as such should be in possession of many, and stay in print for long.
review: 07-Jul-06 (read in 1984, 2006)


Clifford Simak
"All The Traps Of Earth"
© F&SF, Mar 1960
All The Traps Of Earth, 1962
--/ fourth place sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ style award
--/ emotion award

A robot is leaving Earth to roam the stars... meanwhile we weep as we turn the last page of that wonderfully poetic novella, because we simply want the same charming, glowing style as some of space fiction of Bradbury. Almost an antidote to Asimov's "cool&calm" robot stories, written with love and lots of intermittent beautiful detail.
review: 07-Jul-06 (read in 1985)


Clifford Simak
"Good-night, Mr. James"
(also as "Night of the Puudly")
(also as "The Duplicate Man")
© Galaxy, Mar 1951
All The Traps Of Earth, 1962
Skirmish, 1977
--/ fourth place sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award

It is generally a horror story, about a duplicate human being created to destroy a particularly nasty alien illegally smuggled to Earth. Quite edgy and thriller-like writing. This is certainly a hit, blockbuster, hollywood-like creation with lots of color and Simak world-building.
review: 07-Jul-06 (read in 1999)


Clifford Simak
"Drop Dead"

© Galaxy, Jul 1956
All the Traps Of Earth, 1962
--/ fourth place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea: alien cocoons
--/ shock value

Planetary exploration tale with a twist: all aliens drop dead on approach, and stay dead. Which puzzles the team of scientists to no end, until they discover that all of them now carry the seeds of these monsters - released at the act of dying. Great alien subversion tale. Plus the planet of green grass ecology has some whimsical overtones.
review: 07-Jul-06 (read in 2006)


Clifford Simak
"No Life Of Their Own"

© Galaxy, Aug 1959
All the Traps Of Earth, 1962
--/ third place time sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ style award
--/ humour award
--/ idea: luck/time dimension
plus alien/human village melting pot

--/ rare find

I could write the whole article about this one...First, this is one the best examples of Simak's "pastoral", small-town-style writing, where we are comforted just by simple rural surroundings and simplicity of how people speak and live. All the more strange, then, the out-worldly elements seem when they appear, and all the more the "sense-of-wonder" is activated, contrasted against subdued background. This might be Simak's writing secret, successful formula that I can not get enough of... Second, the sheer intensity and weirdness of alien elements are breathtaking, accompanied by rapid play of ideas. And third, but not last, - humour. The story is about the "melting-pot" of aliens and humans in a normal village, where aliens do whatever they please and humans just observe, slack-jawed. Humans are confronted with "alternate-universe-inhabiting" creatures who play the hand of good luck to some chosen people, both humans and aliens are trying to solve time mysteries, and in the end "good time was had by all"
review: 07-Jul-06 (read in 2006)


Clifford Simak
"The Sitters"
© Galaxy, Apr 1958
All The Traps Of Earth, 1962
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

Small-town sf about aliens living among humans, and trying to impove humanity by saving the essense of childhood. Generally cozy and nice. Although, could be a little "too sweet" for some.
review: 07-Jul-06 (read in 1983)


Clifford Simak
"Condition of Employment"
© Galaxy, Apr 1960
All The Traps Of Earth, 1962
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

Emotional tale about the little man of the future and his working day. Intensity comes mostly from the polished prose, not from action, but that is signature Simak. Some people say that it is is about as good as you can get in less than 10 pages. Well, for those who love magazine SF from the golden age, such deftness of style comes as no surprise.
review: 06-Jul-06 (read in 2004)


Clifford Simak
"Crying Jag"
© Galaxy, Feb 1960
All The Traps Of Earth, 1962
--/ third place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award

I am tempted to call it "the best story of Clifford Simak", but there are many other stories which are just as good, so it may cause an outrage and fighting among the fans :). However, the impact of this melancholy- slash- optimistic ("bittersweet") tale had on me long time ago was nothing short of profound, and I still vividly remember this piece. Yes, it is a fun commentary on one of the things friends are supposed to be good for, but it is also genuine "warm-hearted" tale, of which there is a definite shortage in an overly jaded field of the fantastic.
review: 06-Jul-06 (read in 1983)


Clifford Simak
"Installment Plan"
© Galaxy, Feb 1959
All The Traps Of Earth, 1962
--/ cool sf story

Positronic brain plug-ins, or "transmogs" (from a curious english word "transmogrify") - robots have learned to reproduce by assembling more of themselves from spare parts.
review: 06-Jul-06 (read in 1983)


Clifford Simak
"Project Mastodon"

(exp. into "Mastodonia")
© Galaxy, Mar 1955
All The Traps Of Earth, 1962
--/ cool time sf story

Discovery of time-travel leads to establishing Cold War army bases there (in the pre-historic period) and making them an independent country. Average tale for Simak standards.
review: 06-Jul-06 (read in 2006)


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