Hard science fiction on fundamental topics from Clifford Simack
Clifford Simak is an American science fiction writer, one of the writers of the Golden Age, along with Asimov and Heinlein. Having started writing in the 30s, he released about one and a half hundred novels, novels and short stories, published both in magazines and in full-fledged collections and books. In his works he raised fundamental topics, creating a layer for research and experiments by future authors.
Briefly about the writer
Simak’s main activity was editing. Nevertheless, he published many works that are now considered classic. Consciously avoiding violence, intergalactic empires, star wars and other things, Simak put progress, psychology, and the study of people’s behavior in various non-standard situations at the forefront. In science fiction, he loved science in the first place, trying to make all his works as plausible as possible. His career lasted more than four decades, during which he managed to try himself in the genre of fiction, as well as western and military stories.
As one of the founding fathers of the genre, Simak undoubtedly contributed to the development of science fiction. His stories, raising such fundamental topics as reason, the existence of God, artificial intelligence, progress and many others became inspiration for the next generations of authors.
For a long time it was believed that his surname reads like that “Saymak” (in the original she is Simak), therefore in translations into Russian it was translated that way. Interestingly, not only Russian-speaking readers were mistaken – even Asimov wrote that he first made a mistake in pronouncing the name of Clifford.
Clifford Donald Simack was born on August 3, 1904, Millville, Wisconsin, USA – died April 25, 1988, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. An American writer in the genre of science fiction and fantasy, is considered one of the founders of modern American fiction.
Childhood and youth. Education.
Simak was born in Millville, Wisconsin, in 1904. He studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and then taught in public schools until 1929.
Creative activity and the path to fame
From the beginning of the 30s he worked in various newspapers in the Midwest. There he began working with the Minneapolis Star and Tribune newspaper, until his retirement in 1976. He became a news editor in 1949 and coordinator of the Minneapolis Tribune’s Science Reading Series in 1961, where science fiction books were compiled.
Simak became interested in science fiction after exploring the work of Herbert Wells. His first story was The World of the Red Sun, published in the December issue of Wonder Stories in 1931. Over the next year, he published three more stories in the magazines of Hugo Gernsback (a major businessman and writer, founder of the world’s first science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories) and one in Astounding Stories.
Then there was a long break – from 1932 to 1938, Clifford wrote only one story called “The Creator”, published in the fourth issue of Marvel Tales magazine in March-April 1935).
But as soon as John W. Campbell headed the Astounding Stories magazine in October 1937, Simak returned and became a regular contributor to the Astounding Science Fiction (the magazine was renamed in 1938) throughout the so-called “Golden Age of Science Fiction” (the period 1938 is conventionally considered 1950). In addition to traditional science fiction stories, Simak also published a number of military and cowboy stories during this period.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Simak continued to write and regularly receive nominations for various awards for his work. With the help of friends, he continued to write and publish science fiction, and later fantasy, until his eightieth birthday.
Simak believed that science fiction, which is not serious about science itself and does not pay enough attention to it, became the reason that this genre was not taken seriously, and stated that its goal was to make this genre part of what he called “realistic fiction” (in the original realistic fiction).
He was married to Agnes Kuchenberg, they had two children: Richard Scott and Shelley Ellen. Clifford wrote:
I was happy to live with my wife for thirty-three years and be the father of two children. My favorite vacation is fishing (lazy person’s choice – you just lie in the boat and wait for the prey to come to you). Hobbies: chess, philatelism, rose cultivation.
He dedicated the book to his wife, “without which I would never have written a line.” He was friendly with many science fiction writers, especially Isaac Asimov.
The last years of life and death
He died at his home in Minneapolis on April 25, 1988.
Photos of the writer
Titles, awards and prizes
Hugo / Hugo Award, 1939, retrospective // Short story
→ Rule 18 / Rule 18 (1938)