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Time is the Simplest Thing by Clifford D…
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Time is the Simplest Thing (original 1961; edition 1968)

by Clifford D Simak (Author)

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605732,989 (3.58)15
A telepath acquires a powerful alien consciousness--and must run to escape corporate assassins and angry mobs--in this novel by the author of Way Station. Space travel has been abandoned in the twenty-second century. It is deemed too dangerous, expensive, and inconvenient--and now the all-powerful Fishhook company holds the monopoly on interstellar exploration for commercial gain. Their secret is the use of "parries," human beings with the remarkable telepathic ability to expand their minds throughout the universe. On what should have been a routine assignment, however, loyal Fishhook employee Shepherd Blaine is inadvertently implanted with a copy of an alien consciousness, becoming something more than human. Now he's a company pariah, forced to flee the safe confines of the Fishhook complex. But the world he escapes into is not a safe sanctuary; Its people have been taught to hate and fear his parapsychological gift--and there is nowhere on Earth, or elsewhere, for Shepherd Blaine to hide.   A Hugo Award nominee, Time Is the Simplest Thing showcases the enormous talents of one of the true greats of twentieth-century science fiction. This richly imagined tale of prejudice, corporate greed, oppression, and, ultimately, transcendence stands tall among Simak's most enduring works.… (more)
Member:GeekLair
Title:Time is the Simplest Thing
Authors:Clifford D Simak (Author)
Info:(1968), 214 pages
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Time Is the Simplest Thing by Clifford D. Simak (1961)

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» See also 15 mentions

English (5)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (7)
Showing 5 of 5
What starts off as an intriguing novel about encountering an ineffable alien intelligence ("the Pinkness") soon degenerates into an ode to paranormal humans that attempts a naive examination of bigotry.

There was, in the sixties, an over-earnest interest in the paranormal (ESP, telekinesis, etc) among sci-fi writers. Normally, when paranormal abilities are part of a narrative, they are a simple fact: this person can do X, that person can do Y, nobody can explain it (hence it is para-normal) but that's the way it is. In novels such as this, however, paranormal abilities are presented as the next step in human evolution, and the people with paranormal powers in general are endowed as well with traits such as intelligence, compassion, and tolerance that are considered characteristic of homo enlighticus and absent from its predecessor, homo hillbillicus.

This is compounded in Simak's novel by the rather crude caricature of people who aren't paranormal. There is no subtlelty here: your typical bigot will be loud, unreasonable, cowardly, smelly, unable to stand upright or to project competence and honesty. That can work fine in, say, a fairy tale, where you do not want to explain to a child that well, the world is complicated, and that witch has a mortgage to pay and her daughter has been kidnapped for sexual slavery so maybe, you know, maybe those two kids are holding a match to a powder keg when they start eating her house. If what you want is a fairy tale, then okay, this is a fine one; as a novel, well, it's a bit lop-sided.
( )
  mkfs | Aug 13, 2022 |
A nice and short book from one of the underappreciated authors of the late fifties and early sixties. Mankind has been unable to escape the radiation belts that surround Earth and is unable to leave the Earth but not all is lost after the brave innovators of Fishhook have come up with a truly startling way of travelling out to the stars! Telepathic psycho kinetics send their minds out into the great deeps along with a machine capable of bringing home a record of the mission. A hundred years after the innovators found refuge in Mexico, Fishhook has become the de facto ruler of Earth and Psi talents are feared and hated by the great mass of the rest of the world. When Shep Blaine met the Pink creature on the Blue Planet and the path of humanity was changed for ever.

Simak is a quiet author with quite a lot of his tales set in rural Wisconsin and this tale is, in that way, totally different in that the theme is nothing less than the future of humanity; a species scared to change and doomed to stay on a planet, or one who can accept the techniques of the psis and spread throughout the galaxy, and beyond... ( )
  JohnFair | May 8, 2016 |
Classic science fiction by Clifford D. Simak. The title suggests its a time travel story, but it really isn't. Cover blurbs suggest alien invasion, and it's not. The result though is thought-provoking and entertaining reading. Earth cannot physically send astronauts beyond the atmosphere. Development of psi abilities allows exploration by mind., a nice touch. Blaine finds his mind invaded by an alien he locates and the monopoly he works for, which harvests the technology, seeks to isolated him in a velvet prison. Instead, Blaine makes a run for it while dealing with the alien presence in his mind. Offers some interesting ideas along with a lot of fun. Recommended. ( )
  NickHowes | Jan 15, 2016 |
When space flight proved impossible for humans, they discovered a new way to travel to the stars. By projecting their minds and teleporting their equipment the psychic explorers of Fishhook have been bring back alien ideas, technology and trade goods back from alien worlds and beings for a century. Fishhook headquarters in northern Mexico have become the center of interstellar trade. Shepherd Blaine was one of those explorers until the final seconds of his last voyage right up to the time he encountered a twelve foot high, twenty foot wide telepathic pink creature that greeted him, “Hi pal, I trade with you my mind.”

How do you deal with the being that doesn’t think like you is the theme of Simak’s 1961 tale. It’s not just the alien mind that Shep Blaine now shares, it’s the way the rest of the world deals with “parries,” humans with paranormal abilities. In northern Mexico they’re the elite, and Fishhook plans to keep it that way, but north of the border in the United States they’re a feared and persecuted minority. Preachers preach against them, and people stay at home after dark and cover their houses with hex signs out of fears of them. Shep Blaine narrowly escapes being lynched by a mob after he crosses the border. Ironically, it’s the alien part of his mind that both gives him away and saves him. Simak’s theme is the folly of narrow-minded bigotry told as a very enjoyable science fiction tale that speaks to the time of its composition and to the present day. ( )
  MaowangVater | May 19, 2014 |
Shepherd Blaine telepathically travels to other planets, working for a corporation called Fishhook. Fishhook has a monopoly on this means of travel, and thereby a monopoly on all the goods and information brought back to Earth. The general public fears and distrusts Fishhook, but still buys their products, and resents the hell out of the whole thing. Other paranormals, or "parries" not working for (and protected by) Fishhook are hunted and killed like witches in the 16th century. When Blaine encounters an alien consciousness and melds with it, he is forced to leave Fishhook and go on the run. Encountering parry hunters, reformers, and always one step ahead of Fishhook agents, he grapples with this new alien side of himself and what his new purpose is in life.
Interestingly, the only other book by Simak I have read featured folks who telepathically traveled to the stars as well. I wonder if this is a common theme with him. Also similarly to that other book [A Choice of Gods], this novel is short on action and long on philosophical musings. The action parts are quite suspenseful and well written, which makes me wish there were more of them. The philosophy is thought-provoking, but largely moot, and relates only to this fictional society. It points out some interesting things about religion, fear, and the power of backlash, but ultimately, irrelevant.
I also have a bone to pick with the cover. I don't think the illustrator even read the book because it contained no scene remotely like the man on a barren planet with a space suit, facing down a spherical alien craft. No one even bodily traveled to another world, or encountered any aliens in battle. It's terribly misleading.
I don't mean to be overly critical, because I very much enjoyed reading it. I would recommend this more for people who like to muse about the great 'what ifs' and not for those who like a tight, action-packed space opera (which is what the cover implies). ( )
2 vote EmScape | Oct 9, 2010 |
Showing 5 of 5
Simak replonge ainsi dans sa ruralité de prédilection, et l'essentiel du livre est une sorte de road movie, si on prend le road movie, dévoué qu'il est à l'exploration des paysages de l'Ouest américains (et de ses habitants les plus primitifs), pour la forme contemporaine du western. Western auquel Simak emprunte plus que des lieux : du vocabulaire (dans le texte original), des personnages comme le shérif ou le prêtre et des épisodes comme l'attaque de la diligence (un camion) par des Indiens (ce sont des jeunes télékinètes, ne pinaillons pas) ou le lynchage d'un prisonnier défendu plus ou moins mollement par le shérif. Blaine, certes, a acquis des pouvoirs extraterrestres sur le déroulement du temps, mais il ne s'en sert que de façon parcimonieuse, un coup chacun, histoire de réserver des surprises au lecteur.
added by circeus | editBifrost, Pascal J. Thomas (May 6, 2013)
 

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clifford D. Simakprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bruna, DickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dosoudil, PavelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Griffiths, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hunter, MelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
NoyesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, Richard M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
van Harmelen, PhilipTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Végh, IstvánTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Westermayr, TonyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Finally there came a time when man was ready to admit that he was barred from space.
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Hi pal, I trade with you my mind!
They were hunted animals. Hunted animals in this great United States which for years had valued freedom, which in its later years had stood as a forthright champion before the entire world for the rights of man.
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A telepath acquires a powerful alien consciousness--and must run to escape corporate assassins and angry mobs--in this novel by the author of Way Station. Space travel has been abandoned in the twenty-second century. It is deemed too dangerous, expensive, and inconvenient--and now the all-powerful Fishhook company holds the monopoly on interstellar exploration for commercial gain. Their secret is the use of "parries," human beings with the remarkable telepathic ability to expand their minds throughout the universe. On what should have been a routine assignment, however, loyal Fishhook employee Shepherd Blaine is inadvertently implanted with a copy of an alien consciousness, becoming something more than human. Now he's a company pariah, forced to flee the safe confines of the Fishhook complex. But the world he escapes into is not a safe sanctuary; Its people have been taught to hate and fear his parapsychological gift--and there is nowhere on Earth, or elsewhere, for Shepherd Blaine to hide.   A Hugo Award nominee, Time Is the Simplest Thing showcases the enormous talents of one of the true greats of twentieth-century science fiction. This richly imagined tale of prejudice, corporate greed, oppression, and, ultimately, transcendence stands tall among Simak's most enduring works.

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