- International Fantasy Award

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Simak, Clifford D.
book-date: 1952
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Edward Valigursky

Book is tight and with slight tilt (less than 1/8") - spine is slightly dished with several faint lines overlaying some raised wrinkles (those are as printed / sold that way.) No stamps, marks or writing.

You could call this a collection of related stories - or a fix-up. The stories are only loosely related, fitting into a common "future history" and often featuring or mentioning a member of the Webster family. The title comes from a notion discussed in the first story: the idea that Cities have or will become obsolete because of advances in transportation and general decentralization - one of side effects of which is that cities were no longer worthwhile targets in the case of atomic war. Humanity diverges and goes many ways: some to the stars, some to Jupiter, some to the woods to become stranger and stranger. It was a Webster who gave the gift of speech and culture to Dogs with a combination of surgery and training - his reasoning was that a different mind might work with humans, seeing and understanding things the human mind cannot.

What makes this seem like a "fix-up" is the framing device of a fictional introduction and story Notes (a page or 2 each, written from the viewpoint of the Dogs and Robots which survived Man's passing) which are written as if the stories were true history - and the fact that the table of contents is laid out to emphasize those "Notes" (although the story title is given just after each "Note on the First Tale" etc.) Here are the story titles:

Huddling Place
The Simple Way - (original title= "Trouble With Ants")

The first 7 stories originally appeared in Astounding from 1944 to 1947, and the 8th was from Fantastic Adventures (1951.) The stories are unchanged from magazine appearance; the "Editor's Preface" and "Notes" were original to the 1952 Gnome Press hardcover. These are tales where Simak broke from his beginnings as a teller of Space-Opera like "Doc" Smith, and began formulating his distinctive "pastoral" voice - incidentally collecting a good amout of acclaim and fame.

In 1981(?), Ace books came out with a revised version of City, which added "Epilogue" to the list of tales / from Astounding: The John W. Campbell Memorial Anthology, 1973.