Tuesday, August 14, 2018

recent read; CEMETERY WORLD

CEMETERY WORLD by Clifford D. Simak

Keith West's recent posts on Simak spurred me to dig this out and read it.

This book is a throwback to the era of Cold War science fiction. Its story is told in 150 pages. A quick, fun read. I enjoyed most of it though it invoked some time travel near the end which felt out of place.

In the far future, generations after the "Final War" and the migration into space, Earth has become a huge cemetery. The Cemetery Corporation make good money as a tourist destination, pilgrimage destination, and final resting place for those who can afford it.

But the Earth isn't yet *all* cemetery. There are people who work for Cemetery who still live there. And there are still some outcast groups and monsters of the past to be found in the wilderness.

Artist Fletcher Carson arrives to create a great work of art from the impressions and experiences of visiting Mother Earth and Cemetery. Along with archaeologist Cynthia, and Elmer, the robot, they head into the wilds, encountering strange wonders, and sabotage at the hands of Cemetery. The corporation wants *their* version of the story told, not Carson's independent study.

Maybe the story isn't classic or even Simak's best but it breezes along nicely.

The world needs more stories with 8-foot robots named Elmer.

CEMETERY WORLD is out-of-print in the US but frustratingly available in the UK as an ebook from the Gollancz SCI FI GATEWAY imprint. (I really wish more of those ebooks would be made available to North American consumers.)


  1. Thanks for the shout-out. I try to be a force for good in our times.

    I'm glad you enjoyed it. Simak did some interesting things with robots that were quite different than Asimov.

    I thought Open Road had made this one available as an ebook like they have with most of Simak's other work. I was going to buy an electronic version and give this one a reread. It's been so long since I read it, most of the details have faded. I was quite disappointed to find it's not available here. I guess I'll have to read a print version.

    1. The SF GATEWAY stuff is killing me. They even have TARZAN AND THE VALLEY OF GOLD. Why not here?!