The Goblin Reservation by Clifford D. Simak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
1969 Hugo nominee for best novel.
Maybe I'm a chump. I mean, I look at a title like this and I smack my lips and a slight thought drifts across my subconscious, "Satire". I remember loving Way Station, but not quite making the connection between that classic SF title and this. What was I expecting? A haunting exploration of old alien tech and a breath of injustice that makes me think of indigenous Americans and their troubles spiffed up in the mask of an alien? Well... yeah. Aren't assumptions fun and idiotic? Yeah!
Instead, we've got a light romp with fae, banshees, and goblins. What's the first important thing I've learned in the novel? That Goblins are inherently Irish and they love October Ale. I had to laugh.
I was expecting a social commentary, not a murder mystery for oneself after having been duplicated after matter transmission and showing up later only do discover that another he had kicked it. Oh yeah, and this is wide galactic society with lots of strange and familiar species, and yeah, those goblins and fae have been around a long time on earth, don't you know? Of course, they're all just people and some have extra tech and long, long lifespans, but you know how that all is. Once the cat is out of the bag and superstition gets kicked in the head, we can generally all get along, can't we?
Oops, we've got rampaging Shakespearian scholars in the pub again, still upset about learning that the good bard was actually the Earl of Oxford. And don't forget immortal ghosts who've forgotten their original life. And bug carriages. And crystal planets. And ancient genetic feuds, spanning injustice throughout multiple universes and over vast stretches of the timescape... and yeah, there is a time college. What did you expect?
This was a fun and light and wild ride of a novel, full of humor and joy and even when the topic is dark, our faithful narrator is always pretty damn level-headed and reasonable. Even when the bug cages with wheels are soooooo creepy. And pew pew. :)
I had a very good time and this is the third Simak novel that I've read. City was a deep and disturbing novel about robots and telepathic dogs discussing the eventual and complete demise of humanity. Way Station was a gorgeous exploration of ancient alien tech that allows us to explore the universe... at a price. This book also had it's dark elements, but it was easily the lightest and most adventuresome of the three, full of good friends, righteous action, and crazy cool settings, aliens, and consequence. :)
What a classic SF author! So far, he's a real rocket. :)
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