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The Visitors de Clifford D. Simak
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The Visitors (original: 1979; edição: 1988)

de Clifford D. Simak

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569841,872 (3.48)13
An enormous, mysterious box descends upon smalltown Minnesota, spelling trouble for the world, in this classic adventure from a Science Fiction Grand Master. Forestry student Jerry Conklin is fly-fishing when something huge lands on his car, crushing it into the earth. It looks like a big black box--about fifty feet high and two hundred feet long--and the object stirs up quite a commotion among the townspeople of Lone Pine, Minnesota. One of them even shoots at it--and quickly pays for it with his life. Around the country, people scramble to determine what exactly the box is. Is it a machine? Or maybe a sentient being? What does it want? They have no way of knowing. Jerry, meanwhile, has firsthand knowledge after the visitor abducts him. Then, just as he discovers it is a living, intelligent creature, it releases him into the darkness of night. As Jerry searches for a way back to civilization, more visitors descend upon Earth. They seem harmless enough. Then they begin eating trees, and that's only the beginning . . . Praise for The Visitors "One of the most engaging novels of alien invasion ever written." --Library Journal… (mais)
Membro:JohnGrant1
Título:The Visitors
Autores:Clifford D. Simak
Informação:Ballantine Books (Mm) (1988), Paperback
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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The Visitors de Clifford D. Simak (1979)

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Simak threw out a few gems in the latter part of his career but this is not one of them. A tiresome rehash of old ideas and ones in which he has dealt with in a far more compelling manner previously*. The premise is very vague: extra-terrestrial life in the form of big black boxes invade Earth, but the motive is unclear and they don't appear hostile. A reasonable starting point that remains just that and barely develops at all over the course of 300 pages, with a variety of names and no faces. This is peak cardboard cutout, if that. Simak makes no effort to describe the characteristics or visual appearance of any of the many many superfluous names in this novel; it is virtually impossible to keep track of who is who half the time, and one's inability to do so will have no impact whatsoever on being able to follow the little that is going on.

There's not much in the way of the author's token pastoral descriptions here; something which makes much of his work, even his lesser work, such a joy to read. Instead, there is a strong emphasis on dialogue, which is absolutely not Simak's strength; here it is particularly dry with lots of repetition. Discussions in the government, in the newsroom, amongst civilians - all asking the same questions, again and again; none of them being answered. If Simak wanted to create a work focused on ideas and speculation, this was not the way to go about it. So little substance and nothing that bears thinking about. There is the barest hint of subtext, paralleling the native Americans and the loss of their land and culture to the white man with Earth and 'the visitors', but this is mentioned so briefly as to be ignored and so explicitly as to wince (nor is it ever revisited). The best praise I can give is for an unsettling possibility implied right on the very last page, but this momentary intrigue hardly makes up for the colossal, empty slog that precedes.

A contender for Simak's worst book and possibly his most dull. Steer clear unless, like me, you feel compelled to read everything the man has ever written.


* Simak's They Walked Like Men has invaders in the form of black balls which can take different forms; The Visitors has black boxes that breed in different forms, such as the cars and houses at the end of the novel. Both are a threat to the economy, the main difference is that the balls are an explicit enemy, whereas the black boxes are seemingly well-meaning. The idea of the economy being thrown out of balance by another race's interference is one that Simak has often used and particularly strongly in Ring Around the Sun, where the sudden appearance of an everlasting car, lightbulb, lighter, houses etc. strike fear into the government. The link drawn between the visitors and their close relationship with trees is also something often tackled by Simak; All Flesh is Grass is another example of plant-like extraterrestrial life. ( )
  TheScribblingMan | Jul 29, 2023 |
“The Visitors” was first released as a three-part serialized story in Analog magazine in 1979. Clifford D. Simak then released it as a full novel in 1980. If you’re unfamiliar with Simak, he’s a Sci-fi Grand Master and won several Hugo awards and one Nebula. He grew up in Wisconsin and lived all his life in the Midwest. His writing is rustic, calm, and largely non-violent and this work is a fine example of his gentle style. While written in late 1970’s, it’ still came across to me as a 1950’s or 1960’s in terms of style and approach.

A primary theme, near and dear to Simak’s heart (he worked at newspapers), is media ethics. He argues for integrity and the resistance of sensationalism by the press. Simak also lightly takes on racism and sexism and draws a parallel with the history of the displacement of the Native Americans. However, his depictions of Blacks are somewhat stereotypical and distant and female characters are few and far between. I don’t think the novel passes the Bechdel test. Still, Kathy Foster is a main character and a smart, savvy reporter and there is certainly no sexism or racism other than what is intentionally shown as weakness in a few characters.

The story begins with the arrival of a large black rectangle in rural Minnesota. The objects sets down across a river, destroying a bridge and a car. The owner of the car, Jerry Conklin (closes we get to a MC), is taken inside and later expelled harshly. The story then follows the government, a Minneapolis newspaper, and the general population as they attempt to understand and deal with the arrival of these ‘Visitors.’ The conflict in this story is low key – the Visitors kill one person and only in self-defense. Still, Simak does well in building tension around the implications of the arrival of aliens and slowly revealing their nature and intentions.

I enjoy Simak’s ability to entertain largely using wonder and intrigue instead of aggression and bloodshed. His depiction of the alien’s makeup and motivation is unique and revealed with great pacing. His characters are adequately structured, although we really don’t have a main character and I think the story suffers a little from this. It also ends abruptly with many unanswered questions which was a disappointment to me, especially knowing there is no sequel.

A creative first contact story which drives the plot with intrigue and wonder with a sudden ending that leaves the reader wanting more. ( )
  Kevin_A_Kuhn | Sep 18, 2020 |
URANIA COLLEZIONE NR.140
  Vincenzop. | Apr 1, 2018 |
Hm. Interesting ideas, of course, as it's Simak. Characterization, esp. of women, slightly better than many of his previous works (but that's not saying much, I have to admit). How much you like this depends on how much you're interested in different people's pragmatic reactions to the appearance of this evidence of alien life. The President wants to be re-elected. The manager of the newspaper wants scoops, and the editor wants to fulfill the mission of 'information for the people's good.' Citizens are variously terrified, welcoming, hostile, annoyed, and even bemused. And by the end when it just ends, with not much of anything actually having happened, with no solid information about what's next, the reader is likely to be both bemused and confused. I thought I'd figured it out, but then I read Grant's review on GR and he has a quite different interpretation.... I really like that this alien is nothing like the 'human with wrinkly forehead' that we usually get. I also like that there are no villains.*

What is driving these people to urge a day of prayer is the obsessive urge of the suddenly devout to force everyone else into at least a simulation of their state of mind." (That's the press sec. of the Pres. opining. It's a very minor bit, but I think it's a good sample.)

*Come to think of it, that may be why I like all of Simak so much, why I keep reading him even though he doesn't have the most talent. His stories are about ideas, about people trying to figure something out, not about good vs. evil.)" ( )
1 vote Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Not my favorite Simak, but he always pleases me because he forces me to think/wonder. The aliens are atypical, the predicament thought provoking. Don't expect a neat resolution. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
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Clifford D. Simakautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Luzak, DennisArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Moore, ChrisArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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An enormous, mysterious box descends upon smalltown Minnesota, spelling trouble for the world, in this classic adventure from a Science Fiction Grand Master. Forestry student Jerry Conklin is fly-fishing when something huge lands on his car, crushing it into the earth. It looks like a big black box--about fifty feet high and two hundred feet long--and the object stirs up quite a commotion among the townspeople of Lone Pine, Minnesota. One of them even shoots at it--and quickly pays for it with his life. Around the country, people scramble to determine what exactly the box is. Is it a machine? Or maybe a sentient being? What does it want? They have no way of knowing. Jerry, meanwhile, has firsthand knowledge after the visitor abducts him. Then, just as he discovers it is a living, intelligent creature, it releases him into the darkness of night. As Jerry searches for a way back to civilization, more visitors descend upon Earth. They seem harmless enough. Then they begin eating trees, and that's only the beginning . . . Praise for The Visitors "One of the most engaging novels of alien invasion ever written." --Library Journal

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