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Old 08-09-2018, 11:59 AM   #1
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City by Clifford D. Simak

'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?'

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~Though reading or discussing any version is fine (and could be interesting to compare and contrast), the nominated version doesn't have the added coda, is from 1952 and won the International Fantasy Award.~


We're trying something new - discussion sections - as an encouragement to keep those reading on more of a similar timeline to foster more discussion. These are only softly recommended however and not required at all. Anyone can discuss any part or aspect of the selection at any time. We do ask that if you want to discuss something pertaining to a later section earlier that you put it in spoiler quotes, but if you happen to not then that's fine too.

Recommended discussion timeframe:

~062 pages, In 00 days, around Thursday the 09th of August, the first quarter

~125 pages, In 07 days, around Thursday the 16th of August, half

~188 pages, In 14 days, around Thursday the 23rd of August, three quarters

~251 pages, In 21 days, around Thursday the 30th of August, the entire selection


This is the MR Literary Club selection for August 2018. Everyone is welcome so feel free to start or join in the conversation at any time; the more the merrier!


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Old 08-09-2018, 06:42 PM   #2
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This book should be a very interesting read. Thank you, fantasy fan, for nominating it. It’s good to get out of your comfort genres and try something different, and I do enjoy books with a dystopian aspect. Not available in my Overdrive library but I did find it in Hoopla and Scribd.

I can use my new literary term from last month’s NLBC discussion about Dandelion Wine. It’s another fix-up book!
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Old 08-09-2018, 08:20 PM   #3
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I was glad this book came up as I like "better" ("better" being that which suits me ) science fiction but I don't get around to reading much of it. The last was, in fact, the "fix-up" The Martian Chronicles here in the Literary Club.

Have spent a few spare moments on it; looks very interesting.
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Old 08-10-2018, 10:53 AM   #4
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I am three stories into the collection, and I am enjoying it immensely. The first story was particularly timely on a number of levels.
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Old 08-10-2018, 02:26 PM   #5
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The online Science Fiction Encyclopedia has an extended article about Simak. Here’s the link:

http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/simak_clifford_d

Of course since City is his best known work it gets some discussion (but there are spoilers).

I find “Huddling Place” a very dark story. Simak has been categorised as being an optimistic “pastoral” science fiction author but I think he is much more nuanced than that. I feel that this story is an example. The role of the robot is particularly important In feeding into Webster’s fears.

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Old 08-11-2018, 01:10 PM   #6
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I'm coming a little late to the discussion, but I'll be able to read the first 68 pages today since we are rained and fogged in. I agree this book looks interesting. I have not read science fiction yet this year, I've been challenging myself to read fantasy this year. I looked the book up, after astrangerhere suggested it in the reading challenge discussion thread. So I can add this one to my fantasy challenge as well.
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Old 08-11-2018, 02:38 PM   #7
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Welcome, Wearever! We just picked the book, and we are relaxed about discussions. I have just started reading this weekend too.
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Old 08-12-2018, 03:34 PM   #8
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Welcome Wearever!
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Old 08-12-2018, 09:25 PM   #9
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Thanks for the welcome! Bookworm_Girl & fantasyfan.
I've read the first story of the book over the weekend, I thought of the ghost cities of China. It seems very few want or can afford to live in them.
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Old 08-12-2018, 09:41 PM   #10
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What a great visualization! I hadn't thought of the Chinese cities that sit empty with all those skyscrapers just waiting for people. Your statement reminded me of the Northern Cyprus cities that used to be booming tourist areas, especially popular with the celebrities of that era.
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Old 08-13-2018, 10:04 AM   #11
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I'm coming a little late to the discussion, but I'll be able to read the first 68 pages today since we are rained and fogged in. I agree this book looks interesting. I have not read science fiction yet this year, I've been challenging myself to read fantasy this year. I looked the book up, after astrangerhere suggested it in the reading challenge discussion thread. So I can add this one to my fantasy challenge as well.
I had no idea anyone paid any attention to my geeky posts over in that thread! Glad to be of service.
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Old 08-13-2018, 04:51 PM   #12
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What a great visualization! I hadn't thought of the Chinese cities that sit empty with all those skyscrapers just waiting for people. Your statement reminded me of the Northern Cyprus cities that used to be booming tourist areas, especially popular with the celebrities of that era.
I know there is something very eerie in seeing an abandoned or empty city.
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Old 08-13-2018, 04:55 PM   #13
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I had no idea anyone paid any attention to my geeky posts over in that thread! Glad to be of service.
Lol. Glad you did ! I'm usually lamenting my challenges there. It helps keeps me on track though.
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Old 08-15-2018, 09:11 PM   #14
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Finished the second tale, and the progression of man to continue to isolate himself has really got me thinking. Are we there ?

I also really enjoy the dog perspective on Man or Myth ?
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Old 08-15-2018, 10:03 PM   #15
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Finished the second tale, and the progression of man to continue to isolate himself has really got me thinking. Are we there ?
The atomic-powered personal aircars are still not there. However, From the radio era on, haven't we been retreating into smaller and smaller community units? I know quite a few people who live in suburban houses by themselves. If boomers haven't physically jettisoned the city completely, they certainly have left it mentally in many cases.

The stories really are classic mid-20th-century. The aircars are right out of Popular Mechanics, likewise the robots. What I find odd is that TV doesn't seem to appear in the early story - just radio.

I have to question Simak's science - it's more like fantasy. Although DNA hadn't been scientifically established, Simak's biology seems to be out of Cuvier.
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