I wrestled with how to start this series of blogs on my creative influences. Should I do it chronologically, starting with my earliest? Maybe begin with the one that most closely relates to my current writing endeavor? Perhaps I should do a ranking, like those irritating “Top Ten” lists?
In the end, I simply decided to go through them somewhat randomly and then on Facebook to feature some of the works that may be less celebrated, but that I enjoyed.
Kicking off my list is Clifford D. Simak. An imaginative writer from science fiction’s early days and continuing into his 80’s, he died in 1988. He garnered multiple awards in the field, including three Hugo’s and one Nebula. He was named the third Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association.
His books are an easy read, but not simplistic. He had some recurring themes, including injecting his home state of Wisconsin in many tales. He frequently brought time travel into his stories and had an affection for “humanistic” robots, often taking them down the path to “sentience” (exploring or simply introducing the concept of robots with a soul).
An intriguing characteristic of his “heroes” and human protagonists is their very lack of the extraordinary. They are often the most befuddled and clueless of all the characters, much like a real person might be if they were beset by the imaginings of Mr. Simak in real life. In all of his stories, there is an underlying sense of humor and thoughtfulness. One could imagine reading the final page of his book and looking up with a wry smile and nodding your head.
You will be able to find ample reading material about and by Clifford D. Simak, but if you’re interested in my favorites by the author, pop over to the Jeremy Shuttle Adventures Facebook page and take a look at a few.