Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

‘Desertion’ by Clifford D. Simak

with 8 comments

One man and his dog swap their bodies for alien avatars and instantly go native because everyone knows life on Earth is inherently inferior.

Quality: **
Hardness: **

I have now reached p624 and the end is still nowhere in sight (although I have reached the end of the second – apparently entirely arbitary – section of the anthology). I think I need a break.

Written by Martin

26 July 2010 at 09:40

8 Responses

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  1. There do seem to be a lot of stories that seem to have only been chosen so yet another classic writer can be represented and who cares if the stories actually are any good or match the theme of the anthology.

    I think you’ve hit the point of diminishing returns here. Why go on reading something you dislike to prove a point?

    Martin Wisse

    26 July 2010 at 21:53

  2. It is true I have disliked the majority of the stories in the anthology but then I also discovered ‘The Planners’ by Kate Wilhelm and ‘The Heat Of Fusion’ by John M Ford and a couple of others. So it isn’t universally bad. And even the ones I’ve disliked have provided some benefit in the form of broadening my historical understanding of SF.

    But yes, I will be having a break.


    26 July 2010 at 22:45

  3. Why go on reading something you dislike to prove a point?


    Adam Roberts

    26 July 2010 at 22:56

  4. Why go on reading something you dislike to prove a point?

    While this point may apply for a novel, it doesn’t really apply to a short-story anthology. OK, so story A, B, and C might have been bad, but X, Y and Z are still to come, and they might be good.

    I’m reminded of when I watched RTD-era Doctor Who and complained about it all the time. People always asked me why I kept watching if I hated it so much. And I always had to point out that it was because I was hoping the next episode would be a good one, and that if I quit because of the RTD rubbish I’d miss the good episodes from people like Moffatt, Cornell, and even RTD himself once (Midnight).

    Going back to “Ascent of Wonder”, I’d say there are still good stories to come in part three. Though I quite understand the need for a break at the moment.

    Nick H.

    27 July 2010 at 00:44

  5. Indeed.

    Speaking of which, I just had a hit for: malazan book of the fallen “adam roberts”. So there is obviously a demand for more Roberts On Epic Fantasy. Actually, now that Erikson has finally finished the thing, I am tempted to read it as I suspect I would quite like it. Perhaps I will set aside the first half of 2012.

    Oh, and Nick’s comment was the thousandth one on this blog. Which is… something.


    27 July 2010 at 09:51

  6. “even the ones I’ve disliked have provided some benefit in the form of broadening my historical understanding of SF.”

    Frinstance this one, Desertion, was part of the fix-up classic novel of linked stories called City, which I remember as being poignant and evocative and elegiac when I read it back in the 70s as a teenager… I wonder what it would be like to come back to it now. Disappointing, possibly.

    According to the Wikipedia article linked to above, the “novel’s” stories are a bit of post-World War Two Blues “and reflect the attitude that humans are unable to live at peace with their fellow beings. There is an underlying theme throughout the book that humans possess a fundamental aggressive flaw they will never be able to overcome”, demonstrated by the webster suggestion to the dogs of dealing with the ants by destroying them utterly.

    Which presumably informs the sense that “life on Earth is inherently inferior” (I’ve just finished reading Anthony Beevor’s Berlin, which, along with his Stalingrad, provides suitably depressing examples of human behaviour).

    Nicholas Waller

    27 July 2010 at 14:59

  7. […] ‘Transit Of Earth’ by Arthur C. Clarke ‘Prima Belladonna’ by JG Ballard ‘To Bring In The Steel’ by Donald Kingsbury ‘Gomez’ by C.M. Kornbluth ‘Waterclap’ by Isaac Asimov ‘Weyr Search’ by Anne McCaffrey ‘Message Found in a Copy of “Flatland”‘ by Rudy Rucker ‘The Cold Equations’ by Tom Goodwin ‘The Land Ironclads’ by HG Wells ‘The Hole Man’ by Larry Niven ‘Atomic Power’ by Don A. Stuart ‘Stop Evolution in Its Tracks!’ by John T. Sladek ‘The Hungry Guinea Pig’ by Miles J. Breuer, M.D. ‘The Very Slow Time Machine’ by Ian Watson ‘The Beautiful And The Sublime’ by Bruce Sterling ‘The Author of the Acacia Seeds’ by Ursula K LeGuin ‘Heat Of Fusion’ by John M. Ford ‘Dolphin’s Way’ by Gordon R. Dickson ‘All The Hues Of Hell’ by Gene Wolfe ‘Occam’s Scalpel’ by Theodore Sturgeon ‘giANTS’ by Edward Bryant ‘Time Fuze’ by Randall Garrett ‘Desertion’ by Clifford D. Simak […]

  8. […] Interpretation’ by Paul Cornell – in which I discuss a story that won the 2011 BSFA Award. 10) ‘Desertion’ by Clifford D. Simak – in which I discuss a story which is clearly on a reading list somewhere in 24 […]

    Four « Everything Is Nice

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