Good Night, Mr. James – Clifford D. Simak

Good Night, Mr. James


A collection of mostly science fiction stories by Clifford Simak.


The logic behind the arrangement of most anthologies is a mystery to anyone but their editors, and that’s true here. While the last volume (#3) in this series I reviewed had some of Simak’s strongest work, this (#8) has a fair amount of filler – decent, but uninspiring, and not mostly at the level I look for from Simak. Happily, there are some standouts. The best stories are:

  • Kindergarten – A mysterious alien box that gives perfectly targeted gifts. Highly reminiscent of “Operation Stinky” in volume 7, or vice versa, since that was written later.
  • notableDeath Scene – Foreknowledge of the coming day ends war, but it has its costs. A nicely understated story that illustrates its point without hitting us over the head with it.
  • Census – When we’ve moved away from cities, and the census does more than just count people. The end leans toward the bathetic, but the bulk of the story is good.

A nice selection of stories, but not Simak’s best.

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