Clifford Simak's ''City'' (1952): The Dogs' Critique (and Others')

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Shaw, Bruce. "Clifford Simak's City (1952): The Dogs' Critique (and Others')." Extrapolation 46.4 (Winter 2005): 488-99. The essay should be available to subscribers at the Liverpool University Press site, here.[1]

Focussed on the debate among the scholarly Dogs that links the stories, but offers useful summaries and insights from the Dogs' critique. Especially relevant:

"Desertion": Shaw notes that the story introduces us "to an extra-terrestrial wilderness" on Jupiter that is preferable to "the technological installation" on the planet "after dog and man have" passed through a "converter" and become "Lopers," a species that can live and thrive on Jupiter (Shaw p. 491).

And on the last story (the 8th), "The Simple Way," which Shaw notes

picks up the main themes of the previous story [and stories] by reintroducing us to Dan, Dogs, and other animals, Mutants, Robots, cobblies [approximately: other dimensions and entities therein], and ants [see story "Census" and passim]. [...] John Webster lies in Geneva in the Sleep. It is 10,000 years since he closed the city. Jenkins the robot, once the Dogs' mentor, lives in a parallel world. The ants have learned how to manufacture minute robots (an early science fiction hint of nanotechnology). [...] Jenkins communicates telepathically with Jon Webster, asking what Men did about ants [taking over big robots with their nano-'bots, and using them to build a city that may fairly soon cover the world]. The solution, that men used to poison them, calls for chemistry, which the Dogs do not have, and for killing, which goes against the grain. Jenkins deCides that it is better to lose the earth than to return to those old practices. (Shaw pp. 493-94)

For the ants, note what Thomas Dunn and Richard Erlich have called "The Ovion/Cylon Alliance": the motif in SF of associating and in some stories even merging machines and insects, especially bees and ants.

RDE, finishing, 28Mar22