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Publisher's Summary

Jenkins was a robot. He was built to be the perfect worker, tireless and uncomplaining. But, quite unexpectedly, he also became a close companion to generation after generation of his owners as the human race matured, moved beyond the confines of its once tiny planet, and eventually changed beyond all recognition. And then, because he was a good and dutiful servant, Jenkins went on to serve Earth's inheritors.

Here is a masterful tale of an Earth overrun by ants, a series of parallel worlds ruled by dogs, and a Jupiter where the human race finds its Gold Age - if "human" it could still be called.

BONUS AUDIO: City includes an exclusive introduction by Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Mike Resnick.

©1980 Clifford D. Simak (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Simak's unforgettable compassion and affection for all creation shines through." (scifi.com)
  • All-Time Best Science Fiction Novels (Locus Magazine)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    156
  • 4 Stars
    98
  • 3 Stars
    72
  • 2 Stars
    20
  • 1 Stars
    11

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    125
  • 4 Stars
    83
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    35
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    11
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    9

Story

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    65
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Disturbing

This was a book I couldn't stop reading and it was also a book I couldn't stop thinking about once it ended. It's message was thought provoking. A story of a family, the Websters, the plot evolves into the ultimate destruction of humanity. And yet we see that other alien races in the novel tend to make similar errors as they, too evolve. Life's questions, such as "to kill or not to kill" and "what does it mean to be human" and even the more abstract scifi rule to not interfere with another race are prevalent throughout the novel. If you are looking for a light reading experience, this is not the novel to read. But if you are looking for a book that will evoke discussion and comment on the human condition, this is a gold mine. Do not let the age of the book fool you into thinking it is no longer pertinent. The story is more pertinent today than it could have been when it was first written. The author's own comment prior to the Epilogue was intriguing. The narrators were very good and overall, this was an excellent read. I am delighted I bought it.

21 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • mORRINSVILLENew Zealand
  • 08-27-08

A very special kind of story.

A little Rickety around the edges as any novel from the 1940s imagining the far future would be, it is the only criticism of an otherwise remarkable narrative. A leading writer in the field of speculative fiction, Simak created his own sub-genre that explored the nature of humanity and the universe with optimism, compassion and gentleness. His words hold a special kind of magic, based on a undefined spirituality that sets him apart from the humanistic philosophies of so many of his contemporaries. Listening to his words, one cannot but help feel that Simak was one special kind of man. Probably not for everyone, this is not space opera, this is sci-fi as philosophy and literature.

24 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

City

Does not live up to the written description. Very disappointed. More about the Webster family that dogs.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

interesting

This is a very interesting and thought provoking story. I liked Way Station better, perhaps because it was one continuous story. The City stories are linked as well by the robit character of Jenkins who ends up being very close to human, sort of super human. It's just a little harder to care about him. Harder to care about the Websters after they give up. Overall, I enjoyed the book very much and would recommend it to any SciFi lover.

7 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

*Beautiful Example of Classic Sci-Fi*

Although it took two chapters before this novel really got its legs, I can't say enough great things about it.
I have read a lot of Simak's other works, and City is, BY FAR, his best.
It's really a shame that science fiction of this high caliber no longer exists as plentifully as it did during the 1950's & 60's.

Pick this one up if you are a fan of Robert Sheckley, Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, or Ray Bradbury.
Really, really excellent listen.

9.37 / 10.00

7 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting but not profound

Between chapters they warn you might not understand or you might be upset. It's an interesting story but not as profound as it professes to be.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Reader is odd

The sound production isn't great. He reader has a nice voice but such a boring cadence. I only got through the first chapter.

2 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Change is, after all, inevitable

A series of 8 short stories recounting the last decades of the human race and the ascendence of Dogs as the dominant species-- and how different their mindset is regarding the world and minor lifeforms.

Every story deals with a form of change in the society and how Humans, Dogs and Robots deal with it. All of them written and published between 1944 and 1951. Simak is a gifted author, City still a very enjoyable read and the audio performance is very nice. Worth your time.

2 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jennifer
  • SAN DIEGO, CA, United States
  • 05-13-09

a book from my past

I enjoyed it but of course is kind of out dated and not as good as I remembered it, But it is a classic...

1 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Canine mythology about humanity

City by Clifford D Simak describes a futuristic canine intelligence that regards stories of a non-existent humanity as part of their early stage creation myths. Simak originally published these as a series of short stories that were later tied together and finally much later added a final chapter to tie up one loose end with successive generations of a single family tying the tales together. Beginning in the near future (for the 40's and 50's), humanity migrates away from cities as a way of removing the threat of nuclear war. This leads to a disintegration of social cohesiveness and overall ennui about life in general. Intelligent life is discovered on Mars and dogs are uplifted by improving their eyesight and vocal abilities. Robots fill in more and more as the population declines. Mutations arise and wreck havoc, while interplanetary and interstellar flight further reduce the human population. Finally, much of the remainder of the planet modify themselves to survive on Jupiter and abandon Earth. Throughout, one robot survives to provide some continuity. Each story is preceded by an analysis by various canine scholars as to the validity of each tale with a general conclusion that these stories represent primitive canine attempts to explain their origin.

Simak utilizes concepts from earlier sci-fi writers such as H G Wells and Olaf Stapledon to describe the rise of a canine intelligence along side the fall of man as a consequence of steps to avoid nuclear war. The bleak prospects facing humanity in the late 40's and early 50's is evident throughout.

The narration is quite good with a decent range of character distinction.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful