Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Simak, Clifford D

(1904-1988) US writer and journalist who in his long literary career chiefly produced sf (> SFE). Much of his fiction had – or yearned for – rustic settings, usually in the US Midwest, and was flavoured with nostalgia, gentle whimsy and a likeably old-fashioned moral sense; these qualities carried over to his fantasies, mostly late and minor works. Despite its title The Werewolf Principle (1967) is sf, rationalizing Shapeshifting in terms of alien psi Talents. The Goblin Reservation (1968) is a curious Science-Fantasy mixture, with supernatural beings like Fairies, a Ghost, Goblins and Trolls now given scientific recognition in a Far-Future sf setting not without menace but heavily larded with whimsy. Out of Their Minds (1969) imagines Fantasyland as an sf reification of human belief: the thus-created Devil protests our shift of interest to UFOs, Toons, etc., by shutting down Earth's modern technology, but is too easily thwarted by the reified Don Quixote. Enchanted Pilgrimage (1975) approaches straight fantasy; it is a generally routine Quest with motley Companions through a Magic-ridden Alternate World whose odd inhabitants include an amorphous "Chaos Beast", reminiscent of Cthulhu-Mythos deities, that gives Caesarean birth to an apparent robot. Fantasy elements – Witch, Giant, magic Sword, healing Unicorn horn – mix uneasily with sf hints of aliens and galactic society. Sf is further downplayed in the broadly similar The Fellowship of the Talisman (1978), whose supposedly feudal-English characters retain Midwestern folksiness of Diction; a Midlands Waste Land is crossed and Earth's Evil (alien evil against which even a Demon assists) is dispelled by a token of Christ. Where the Evil Dwells (1982) again repeats the quest formula, with diminished energy. [DRL]

Clifford Donald Simak


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.