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Why Call Them Back from Heaven? by Clifford…
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Why Call Them Back from Heaven? (original 1967; edition 1967)

by Clifford D. Simak

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376945,223 (3.19)10
Member:jjmcgaffey
Title:Why Call Them Back from Heaven?
Authors:Clifford D. Simak
Info:Ace Books (1967), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library, Boxed, Working on, BOMBs
Rating:
Tags:Fic, SF, !Sale:YS, _BB_SFBoxes, __scanned, _BB_SF_12

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Why Call Them Back from Heaven? by Clifford D. Simak (1967)

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English (7)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (9)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
(Original Review, 1980-11-28)

In response to a SF fan query about computers that can interpret law, I just finished "Why Call Them Back from Heaven" by Clifford Simak. Although a minor feature of the story, the law of the land dictates the use of jury trials in which the jury is a machine. A couple of paragraphs is devoted to a discussion of how the use of machines has caused lawyers to stick strictly to the letter of the law and objective facts instead of the "sympathy tricks" and other appeals to emotion that are often used in modern day jury trials. (I once saw a TV show where someone sat on a jury for a civil suit and I was amazed by the fact that no one in the courtroom seemed to want the jury to hear the actual FACTS of the case. A lot of mumbo-jumbo about if this or that information was admissible without the jury finding out what the information was. Also, seemed that the lawyers' chief job was to KEEP certain info from becoming known!! And oh the theatrics of the lawyer for the plaintiff!! Truly a thing to behold.) Anyway, this gives me as good as excuse as any to give a mini review of WBTBfH (a book I picked up after reading the name in a friend’s SF list) All in all I thought it was pretty good. It did a better job of describing a possible future world than it did in characterizations. In this sense it reminded me of "The Man in the High Castle" (correct name?) by Philip K. Dick. The world that was described was a very interesting one. In general, I like SF that attempts to be philosophically thought provoking instead of merely portraying a lot of action in an alien environment (space westerns, for example). The greatest shortcoming of the story, in my opinion, is that the reader is asked to believe some rather unbelievable coincidences that just happen to bring the main characters back together at unpredictable times. Also, the ending wraps up all the loose ends in about 2 pages that needed 170 pages to lead up to. All in all, though, NOT RECOMMENDED. I would like to finish this message with a totally unrelated query. Can anyone point me in the direction of "Venus on the Half-shell"? Is this a real book? And if so, who is the author and what is the publishing firm, etc.? I have read just about everything by Kurt Vonnegut and would like to tie up this loose end in my reading.

[2018 EDIT: "Venus on the Halfshell" by Kilgore Trout is a science fiction novel mentioned in several of Vonnegut's novels. At the time that Vonnegut wrote those novels, VotH was simply a prop from his imaginary universes. Since then however, P. J. Farmer wrote a book published as "Venus on the Halfshell" by Kilgore Trout (Farmer’s pseudonym). It follows the descriptions and situations given by Vonnegut quite closely. It is also part of general series of realizations of "imaginary" books and references being done by Farmer. How I wish I had proper Internet back then…]

[2018 EDIT: This review was written at the time as I was running my own personal BBS server. Much of the language of this and other reviews written in 1980 reflect a very particular kind of language: what I call now in retrospect a “BBS language”.] ( )
1 vote antao | Nov 6, 2018 |
What if physical resurrection and immortality were a possibility? A great idea. Unfortunately there are problems with the execution. Take chapter seven. This features three unnamed characters we will never meet again: the salesman, the woman and the woman's husband. They are thinking about buying some land, as land will be worth more once the dead are resurrected. Meanwhile, the hero's character is being left undeveloped. A few chapters before we have been treated to a scene of him attending a team meeting. Why doesn't the hero consider buying land? You could have character development and world building rolled into one. What we have is poorly handled exposition.

Despite this, I would actually read something else by Simak. There are some flashes of quality and I get the impression something has gone wrong with this novel. ( )
1 vote Lukerik | Aug 31, 2016 |
My copy is hardcover, but really stained and old ex-library. I don't know why Simak is out-of-fashion - I think he's as much a master as, say, del Rey.

I like how so many different reactions to the idea of a Second Life were explored. There was the main character, the people he interacted with, and some that he just encountered peripherally - so some readers might think of the book as disjointed or something, but I liked how rich, and yet concise, it was. And there's no tidy ending.... ( )
1 vote Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Simak was in the top of his form when this was written (in 1967). I love the last lines in this, but then, I'm a realist. ( )
1 vote Lyndatrue | Dec 1, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clifford D. Simakprimary authorall editionscalculated
D'Achille, GinoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Esteves, JanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James, TerryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malmsjö, KarinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reß-Bohusch, BirgitTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Webster, RobertCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Jury chortled happily.  The type bars blurred with frantic speed as they set down the verdict, snaking smoothly across the roll of paper.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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