On a far future Earth, mankind's achievements are immense: artificially intelligent robots, genetically uplifted animals, interplanetary travel, genetic modification of the human form itself. But nothing comes without a cost. Humanity is tired, its vigour all but gone. Society is breaking down into smaller communities, dispersing into the ...
On a far future Earth, mankind's achievements are immense: artificially intelligent robots, genetically uplifted animals, interplanetary travel, genetic modification of the human form itself. But nothing comes without a cost. Humanity is tired, its vigour all but gone. Society is breaking down into smaller communities, dispersing into the countryside and abandoning the great cities of the world. As the human race dwindles and declines, which of its great creations will inherit the Earth? And which will claim the stars?
Conceived after the savagery of WWII, the Holocaust and the Atomic Bomb attacks on Japan, Clifford D. Simak's "Fix-up" novel of connected stories took his work--and science fiction--far forward from most of the standard monthly U.S. magazine fare surrounding it at the time of publication. The stories, each preceded by tongue-in-cheek satirical notes, show a far future in which the only intelligent beings left on earth are Dogs and robots. Humanity has disintegrated after leaving its historic habitat--the Cities--and some remnants, including mutations, have taken refuge around Jupiter. Simak imagines ways of developing civilizations without destructive technology. In 'City' and many later novels and stories, the elegiac tone and philosophical speculations replace more typical SF action. One critic called Simak's seminal work "pastoralism with a vengeance," in that decent human values in a naturalistic, Edenic existence may not be enough. The ironic mutation of humans into other species is a bitter irony not usually associated with Simak, but he was not a lazy writer in most stories, certainly not in this classic.
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