THE WAY STATION
a resource for readers and collectors of
CLIFFORD D. SIMAK
The fiction-writing career of the late science fiction and fantasy author Clifford D. Simak (1904-1988) spanned a remarkable stretch of time from his short stories in the earliest days of pulp publishing in the 1930s to his last novel in the 1980s. He has been referred to as a "pastoralist" in the genre, owing to his frequent use of rural settings and simple characters in his tales. Despite the gentleness of his prose, he returned again and again to some of the weightier themes of science fiction -- including humanity's relationship to and destiny in the universe. He obviously enjoyed using aliens, robots, and time travel as plot devices to help flesh out his thoughts on the matter. And yet, his main characters tended to be average, work-a-day people -- country doctors, journalists (in real life, he was a newspaper writer and editor), farmers, and the like with whom readers could readily identify as they found themselves thrust into bizarre circumstances. Even the seemingly interchangeable spaceship-commanding protagonists of many of his far-future short stories would fit right in at any modern midwestern family reunion.
Although he is best known for just a few of his works, such as the collection City, the short story The Big Front Yard, and the novel Way Station, his output is large and varied. To the best of my knowledge after nearly 30 years of collecting his works, Simak published 27 novels and 141 short stories. His short fiction has appeared in at least 20 anthologies devoted solely to his work, though many of these collections duplicate some of his more popular stories.
What follows is my attempt to put an order to these stories that I hope will be useful to his fans around the world. The first section contains all of the science fiction short stories listed alphabetically with notations about some of the magazines and anthologies/collections that they appeared in. A guide to the abbreviations is provided. These notations do not necessarily include all appearances of the individual stories -- merely the ones that I personally own. Other pages include a list of the collections and the stories they include, a list of the novels, the miscellaneous war and western stories he wrote in the 1940s, and various other items of non-fiction by or about him.
If you have questions or
notice any errors in this list, or know of other Simak stories that have escaped
my notice, please e-mail me at email@example.com. For your other
research needs, the most valuable bibliographies on Simak that I have seen are
Muriel R. Becker's "Clifford D. Simak: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography,"
which covers his output up to 1978; "Clifford D. Simak: Pastoral Spacefarer," by
Phil Stephensen-Payne (Galactic Central Bibliographies for the Avid Reader,
Volume 39), which gets collectors up to 1990; and the most recent bibliography
that I know of, which was edited by Pierre-Paul Durastanti and appeared in a
2001 issue of the French magazine BIFROST. I am greatly indebted to these
bibliographers for my collecting successes -- especially to Phil, who has
tracked down many of Simak's more elusive stories and sent me transcripts. My
thanks also to fellow Simak fans Roger Fullilove, Scott Henderson, and Kevin
Landreneau for sending me information to add to this site. Scott has a terrific
site devoted to Simak's short science fiction stories at
with much more detail than mine about where you can find them in print. Happy
Meanwhile, Darkside Press had set about publishing a series of collections that it said would include every short science fiction, western, and war story from this great author by the time it all wrapped up. It has been quite some time now since the first two volumes came out, and the links that I used to have here to the press do not seem to work anymore. If and when I ever hear what has become of this project, I will provide an update here.
April 2009 Update: I was able to "officially" add another old Simak western tale to my collection recently, thanks to finding "The Fighting Doc of Bushwack Basin" in an issue of .44 Western Magazine from 1944 available on eBay. Until this purchase, I only had a photocopy of that story that a fellow collector was kind enough to send me some years ago.
Last modified April 14, 2009
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