FORGOTTEN BOOKS #84: THEY WALKED LIKE MEN By Clifford D. Simak




They Walked Like Men is an alien invasion novel. Simak sets up a puzzle where newspaper columnist Parker Graves finds himself confronted with shapeshifting aliens who can inhabit “dolls” that allow them to pass as humans. Another group of aliens enters the fray to take over the Earth, but Parker Graves is torn between trusting them or suspecting they are far worse than the original alien invaders. Clifford D. Simak was once considered the equal of Heinlein and Asimov. Sadly, Simak’s work has drifted into the “forgotten” category despite its excellence.

28 thoughts on “FORGOTTEN BOOKS #84: THEY WALKED LIKE MEN By Clifford D. Simak

  1. Richard Robinson

    Looks like your image got tagged with an ad there, George. Maybe an edit is needed?

    Ah, Simak.I think the first of his work I read was The Cosmic Engineers, in Astounding SF, but I think my favorite remains City. Good stuff.

    Reply
  2. Scott Cupp

    Another great choice, George. I love the pastoral feel of a lot of Simak which is why WAY STATION is my favorite of his.

    Reply
  3. Randy Johnson

    I don’t think I’ve read this one, though the second cover looks awfully familiar. probably somewhere here. Like you, i could never read everything i have now, yet I keep buying. It’s fun being hooked on books!

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  4. Todd Mason

    As Rick notes, FortuneCity seems to have invaded your post here. I’m surprised that MacFadden-Bartell would spring for a Richard Powers cover, making me wonder if they pirated it…but perhaps they were feeling flush.

    Clifford Simak,as Asimov has noted, was his great model for how to write fiction, much as Sturgeon was Bradbury’s first great model…Simak’s emotional intelligence, as we put it these days, exceeded that of most of his peers at the time, and I’ve probably bored the assembled with my accounts of first finding “Desertion” in a reading textbook, it being one of the key stories combined to make the book CITY, along with “Huddling Place” (my first Simak, I think) and others in the cycle he published in ASTOUNDING in the 1940s. TIME AND AGAIN, gentlemen…not the Jack Finney, but the earlier Simak novel that was also the first serial in GALAXY, begun in the first issue, as “Time Quarry”. Some, such as WHY CALL THEM BACK FROM HEAVEN and CEMETERY WORLD (I think Simak was feeling his mortality in the late ’60s/early ’70s), were minor books, but so much of his work was quietly and gently unforgettable. Poul Anderson’s “Call Me Joe,” which AVATAR waters down, has at least some roots, I suspect, in “Desertion.”

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    1. george Post author

      I’ve found all of Simak’s work to be reflective, Todd. Most of Simak’s books have stayed in my mind decades after I’ve read them. I have fond memories of TIME AND AGAIN. I may need to reread that fine book. If that’s not a Powers cover on the MacFadden-Bartell edition of THEY WALKED LIKE MEN, it’s a convincing fake.

      Reply
  5. Drongo

    An author that I always mean to read more of, but never get around to it. I think I might track down a copy of THEY in the MB or Avon editions.

    Simak’s work is forgotten these days, and my favorite novel by him–TROUBLE WITH TYCHO–is more forgotten than most.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      I have the ACE DOUBLE with TROUBLE WITH TYCHO, Drongo. TROUBLE WITH TYCHO is also available in a Large Print edition from Thorndike Press (with an ugly cover).

      Reply
  6. Todd Mason

    I remember TYCHO, Drongo…because among the first three old AMAZINGs I bought (in a grab-bag from a dealer) was the issue with the short form of “Trouble”…the other two had Robert Bloch’s SNEAK PREVIEW and an early Ellison short novel, title slipping my mind…all Cele Goldsmith issues…

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  7. Todd Mason

    Nope, the AMAZING issue with the Ellison novella was this, republished as THE MAN WITH NINE LIVES (and Norman Lobsenz was Cele Goldsmith’s boss, but apparently did little on the magazines other than write fatuous editorials and responses to letters…why Goldsmith couldn’t do that, and better, I dunno, but this was a largish magazine publisher in MAD MEN days):

    3 • Editorial (Amazing Stories, October 1959) • [Editorial (Amazing Stories)] • essay by Norman M. Lobsenz
    6 • Triple-Time Try • shortstory by Les Cole [as by Les Collins ]
    7 • Triple-Time Try • interior artwork by Summers
    21 • The Most Important Man in the World • shortstory by Milton Lesser [as by Darius John Granger ]
    39 • Unauthorized • shortstory by Harold Calin
    39 • Unauthorized • interior artwork by uncredited
    50 • Excellence • shortstory by Tom Purdom
    52 • Excellence • interior artwork by Summers
    61 • Cartoon: “I’m glad I brought along my magnetic ray machine!” • interior artwork by Frosty
    62 • They Like Us • shortstory by John Brudy
    62 • They Like Us • interior artwork by Summers
    74 • The Spectroscope (Amazing Stories, October 1959) • essay by S. E. Cotts
    74 •   Review: The Fourth “R” by George O. Smith • review by S. E. Cotts
    74 •   Review: No Time Like Tomorrow by Brian Aldiss • review by S. E. Cotts
    75 •   Review: Bombs in Orbit by Jeff Sutton • review by S. E. Cotts
    76 • Sound of the Scythe • novella by Harlan Ellison
    76 • Sound of the Scythe • interior artwork by Virgil Finlay
    140 • Cartoon: “I thought there was a catch to the economy plan vacation!” • interior artwork by Frosty
    142 • . . . Or So You Say (Amazing Stories, October 1959) • letter column by uncredited

    while the Robert Bloch issue was this:
    5 • Editorial (Amazing Stories, November 1959) • [Editorial (Amazing Stories)] • essay by Norman M. Lobsenz
    7 • Minor Detail • shortstory by Jack Sharkey
    15 • The Observers • novelette by G. L. Vandenburg
    34 • Shepherd of the Planets • shortstory by Alan Mattox
    34 • Shepherd of the Planets • interior artwork by Summers
    42 • Science and Superman: An Inquiry • essay by Poul Anderson
    50 • Sneak Preview • novella by Robert Bloch
    50 • Sneak Preview • interior artwork by Virgil Finlay
    134 • The Flesh-Man from Far Wide • [Moderan] • shortstory by David R. Bunch
    139 • The Spectroscope (Amazing Stories, November 1959) • essay by S. E. Cotts
    139 •   Review: One Against Herculum by Jerry Sohl • review by S. E. Cotts
    139 •   Review: Tomorrow Times Seven by Frederik Pohl • review by S. E. Cotts
    140 •   Review: Secret of the Lost Race by Andre Norton • review by S. E. Cotts
    141 • . . . Or So You Say (Amazing Stories, November 1959) • letter column by uncredited

    and the Simak issue was this, with the 1960 name change to AMAZING: FACT AND SCIENCE FICTION STORIES:

    5 • Editorial (Amazing Stories, October 1960) • [Editorial (Amazing Stories)] • essay by Norman M. Lobsenz
    6 • Editorial (Amazing Stories, October 1960) • interior artwork by Stan Mott
    8 • The Trouble With Tycho • novella by Clifford D. Simak
    8 • The Trouble with Tycho • interior artwork by Virgil Finlay
    68 • Seeing Eye • shortstory by A. Bertram Chandler
    69 • Seeing Eye • interior artwork by Bernklau
    86 • The Missionary • shortstory by J. F. Bone
    86 • The Missionary • interior artwork by Emsh
    107 • Homesteads on Venus • essay by Lester del Rey
    118 • The Sound of Screaming • shortstory by Theodore L. Thomas
    118 • The Sound of Screaming • interior artwork by Virgil Finlay
    133 • The Spectroscope (Amazing Stories, October 1960) • essay by S. E. Cotts
    134 •   Review: Bow Down to Nul by Brian W. Aldiss • review by S. E. Cotts
    135 •   Review: Lords of Atlantis by Wallace West • review by S. E. Cotts
    135 •   Review: The Genetic General by Gordon R. Dickson • review by S. E. Cotts
    136 •   Review: Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque by Edgar Allan Poe • review by S. E. Cotts
    136 •   Review: Invisible Men by Basil Davenport • review by S. E. Cotts
    136 •   Review: The Man Who Ate the World by Frederik Pohl • review by S. E. Cotts
    137 • . . . Or So You Say (Amazing Stories, October 1960) • letter column by uncredited

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