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Clifford Simak 
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NitroForum Oldster

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Post Clifford Simak
Just finished a re-reading of Clifford Simak's novel "Way Station"- a thoroughly entertaining and well written book- the thought has many times crossed my mind why he never quite won the same acclaim as authors such as RAH, Asimov, Bradbury etc - he weaves an excellent story- his characterizations remind me considerably of RAH- did he miss out on becoming iconic by being a bit less prolific in his writng or .....? he just seems to fall into that "second tier" of scifi writers who we appreciate but who's names never fall from our tongues when we discuss authors who have impacted us

anyone ?


Tue Apr 19, 2011 7:51 am
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Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:10 pm
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I rather liked his Del Rey novel Special Deliverance (1982, I think) and have even reread it with pleasure, but have never been able to get into any other of his novels.

Are there other SF writers at or above his level of accomplishment who were primarily newspaper journalists for much of their lives? Or journalists of any kind?


Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:23 pm
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NitroForum Oldster

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Thanks for the interesting info Michael ! still wondering how simak missed with "way station" as his break through book ! but it won a hugo ... hmmm.......


Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:24 pm
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Fri Apr 29, 2011 7:50 am
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Heinlein Biographer

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Fri Apr 29, 2011 5:26 pm
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NitroForum Oldster

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as i mentioned previously, from what i've personally read of simak, i couldn't understand how he failed to break into that top echelon of sci-fi writers- many folks here have mentioned several of his works are among their favorites........... a contemplative "hmmmmmm.........."

michael cassutt broached that his publishers didn't truly advance his career, other's have proferred simak was more a pulp writer than a novelist- i found my curiosity regarding simak's relative lack of success wasn't slaked so i jumped over to jim's favorite reference site (yes-wiki) hoping to gain further insight- from wiki's bio i attempted to place his life in context to the world around him- i found several items there which may have contributed to his forementioned lack of iconic stature.

simak was born in 1904, he was married early in 1929- just prior to the stock market crash ! certainly an impediment for any career hopes- surely others broke through as writers during this time - RAH in particular- while simak did publish some shorter works during this time, his output was scant with large time lapses between works- possibly because he was scraping for a living while trying to support a family of 4- however beginning in 1938 he had become a regular contributor to astounding stories

in 1939 he began an association with the minneapolis tribune newspaper-at the age of 34, america went to war- another time in life when the opportunity to blossom as a novelist may have been derailed- 1949 saw simak hired as the news editor of the mpls tribune- the early 50's saw simak's first novels being published- he was pushing 50 and already into a successful newspaper career- his output was limited

while working a demanding full time job as newspaper editor, he still managed to write "city" and a few other novels- it was only as he approached his 60's that we see an uptick in his output !!! kind of a late start when you consider the other icons of sci-fi genre were regularly being published decades before- the bulk of simak's novels were produced during roughly a 20 year period (early 60's through early 80's) - however, during this span, his output was considerable- roughly a book a year of high quality (imho) writing

combine simak's life circumstances, feeding a family during the depression, then the war, the newspaper job and his late entry into mainstream publishing (and as mentioned, perhaps crappy publishers), his apparent lack of iconic recognition is understandable- when you consider simak said his favorite form of recreation was "lazy fishing" where you lay in a boat and let the fish come to you", his output of quality novels was, in my eyes, prodigious


Mon May 02, 2011 8:14 pm
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Heinlein Nexus

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He's a quiet, pastoral writer. Those values don't fly with many today.


Tue May 03, 2011 12:23 pm
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