Clifford Donald Simak (1904-1988) was a prolific American science-fiction author whose career began in the Golden Age of the genre.

In a career that spanned half a century, Simak wrote more than 30 novels, four nonfiction books, and over 100 short stories. His writing received numerous awards, including the prestigious Hugo Award in 1964 for the engaging psychological novel, WAY STATION. Time travel was a frequently used theme in Simak’s work, and can be seen in titles such as TIME IS THE SIMPLEST THING, HIGHWAY TO ETERNITY, and TIME AND AGAIN. Like his contemporaries, Simak’s stories could be found in popular pulps including GALAXY, AMAZING STORIES, and WONDER STORIES.

An early portrait of the author.

A newspaperman by profession, Simak worked for the MINNEAPOLIS STAR AND TRIBUNE for nearly 40 years even as he penned countless original tales. He retired from newspaper work in 1976 and continued to create new works of fiction into the mid-1980s.

His protagonists were frequently ordinary, if not less than ordinary, individuals who would find themselves caught up in situations and stumble along, eventually overcoming the conflict at hand. They were, in a sense, ordinary. Simak wrote very well, and he did so without invoking space opera clichés such as galactic sagas, large-scale invasions by alien species, or space wars. Simak noted that his focus was “on people, not on events.” His writing was, and remains, intelligent and introspective. “I have,” he noted in 1977, “been concerned where we, as a race, may be going, and what may be our purpose in the universal scheme—if we have a purpose. In general, I believe we do, and perhaps an important one.”

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