The influential grandmaster Clifford Simak was born 118 years ago

Clifford Simak

Born in Millville, Wisconsin on August 3, 1904, Clifford Simak began his lengthy career as a science fiction writer with his story “The World of the Red Sun,” in the December 1931 issue of Wonder Stories. Over the next 55 years, Simak produced many novels and short stories including the science fiction classics Way Station and City. Several collections of his shorter works exist, most notably Strangers in the UniverseThe Worlds of Clifford SimakThe Best of Clifford Simak, and OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS: THE BEST SHORT FICTION OF CLIFFORD D. SIMAK.

Cover by Michael Dashow

He was named a Grand Master by both the Science Fiction Writers of America and the Horror Writers Association and won the Hugo, Nebula, International Fantasy, Locus, and Jupiter awards. A newspaperman by trade, Simak excelled at clean economical prose. Like those of Ray Bradbury, many of his best stories incorporate the rural Midwest of his childhood.

I sometimes think that despite the fact that my boyhood spanned part of the first and second decades of the 20th century that I actually lived in what amounted to the tail end of the pioneer days. I swam in the big hole in the creek. I rode toboggans down long hills, I went barefoot in the summer, I got out of bed at four o’clock in the morning during summer vacations to do the morning chores. For four years, I rode a horse to high school.

—Clifford Simak, from Seekers of Tomorrow by Sam Moskowitz