Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The City

When I grow up—even if I don’t ever quite grow up—I want to write like Clifford D. Simak. In the middle of reading a lot of 2010 and 2009 novels, I digressed to his 1952 novel The City. The book is timeless, though somewhat folksy. In it Simak writes about one of my favorite themes, evolution. How could humans evolve? How could individuals adapt to the extreme environment of another planet and how would that adaptation change the species as a whole? Given a different start would humans evolve differently and be less warlike? What would happen if everyone could suddenly understand each other’s point of view? If dogs and ants were given a little help, could they evolve more rapidly? How would they be different from humans? How might robots evolve if left alone? The book is mostly sentimental, but has enough science to make it intellectually interesting. Best of all, it makes me think.

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