Wednesday, 1 August 2001

Clifford D. Simak: The Goblin Reservation (1968)

Edition: Berkley Medallion, 1977 (Buy from Amazon)
Review number: 891

Simak is best remembered today for serious science fiction like Way Station, but he wrote several more whimsical novels, of which this is one. It is still full of ideas, but these are presented to amuse rather than to make you think.

The invention of a mechanism for time travel has led to some surprising discoveries, not least that creatures such as goblins and trolls had at one time really existed. Peter Maxwell is an expert on them, but an interplanetary trip goes wrong and he is kidnapped by an alien race. Well treated, he is eventually returned to earth, only to find that he is believed dead; a second version of himself came back safe from his trip and then was killed in an accident.

The tone of the novel is something like Robert Heinlein's earlier stories, The Rolling Stones or the short story We Also Walk Dogs. It doesn't have quite the excitement of Heinlein's writing, and also doesn't quite match up to the standard of Simak at his best, but it is still enjoyable.

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