The Goblin Reservation-Clifford D.Simak (1968)

Good SF from Simak with a mystery about a two hundred million year old Artifact and how a man can arrive back on Earth before himself and end up dead while his second self can’t explain any of it. This was nominated for the 1969 Hugo for Best Novel. The winner was John Brunner’s “Stand On Zanzibar.” I feel safe in saying no matter how good this Simak book is along with the other nominees, nothing could even come close to the quality of Brunner’s novel.

It’s five hundred years from now. Professor Peter Maxwell is on the faculty at the College of Supernatural Phenomena at Wisconsin University. He went to the Coonskin Star System to look for a rumored dragon. When he returned to Earth he discovered that he got back a couple weeks ago and is dead.

He remembers being on a crystal planet where the natives were all shadows. The planet goes back to before the current universe. They offer their library of knowledge…for a price. Peter doesn’t know what the price is.

Since he was declared dead he’s out of a job. When he goes to his apartment there’s a girl named Carol Hampton inside with a bio-mech Saber Tooth tiger named Sylvester. He takes her to a wild campus bar where his best friends, Alley Oop, a Neanderthal that was brought back through time and Ghost have a table. He really is a ghost but he can’t remember whose.

Aliens are common on Earth and many attend the University. One group of aliens may be the enemy Earth has always been told about in early SF stories. They’re nicknamed Wheelers because instead of legs they have wheels.

One expedition to the Jurassic Era brought back a huge Artifact. No one has ever been able to find out what it is or where it came from. Maybe the residents of the Goblin Reservation can help. It’s populated by goblins, elves, trolls etc. Peter’s friend Mr.O’Toole is always drinking October Ale, a goblin specialty the trolls would love to have.

Peter has to find out who his other self was and Carol Hampton, Sylvester and the rest try and help him out. The College is no help at all. Now the Wheelers want to make a deal for the Artifact and gain all the knowledge of the crystal planet for themselves.

There’s a lot going on in this book and it’s one of Simak’s most entertaining. If your like me and aren’t exactly breaking down bookstore doors for novels about elves, trolls etc. don’t let that keep from this. The bulk of the book revolves around Peter and his pals trying to solve the mystery of his other self’s death and the mysterious Artifact.

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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