Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Goblin Reservation by Clifford D. Simak

A cross between fantasy and science fiction. Goblins, fairies and ghosts are real and living among men. Also, interstellar travel via transporter booths and aliens are commonplace. A man returning from a trip to another world (and that trip went haywire – he found him self in a strange, previously unknown crystal world) finds out that he already returned a few week ago, and soon after that died in an accident. He also finds that in his apartment lives a beautiful woman with a sabretooth tiger and he doesn't have his job anymore. He moves in with his Neanderthal friend and tries to find out what is going on – and at the same time he has a secret mission given by the inhabitants of the crystal world.
And what role is played by a strange monolith which was found in far past? At least it has some very strange attributes - it is supposed to reflect all radiation, but it is at the same time totally black. A contradiction Simak probably didn't notice?
Usually mixture of fantasy and science fiction doesn't work very well – and it doesn't work this time. There are also quite many – maybe too many - plot threads going on, some of them fairly sketchily told, and then everything comes together bit too fast in the end. The characters weren't too well characterized, I didn't really care for them. Not nearly as good as “Way Station”, my favorite book by Simak.

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