EP453: The Grotto of the Dancing Deer

by Clifford Simak
narrated by Norm Sherman



about the author…

author Clifford Simak

(source: wikipedia) “Clifford Donald Simak (August 3, 1904 – April 25, 1988) was an American science fiction writer. He was honored by fans with three Hugo Awards and by colleagues with one Nebula Award. The Science Fiction Writers of America made him its third SFWA Grand Master and the Horror Writers Association made him one of three inaugural winners of the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Simak was born in Millville, Wisconsin in 1904, son of John Lewis and Margaret (Wiseman) Simak. He married Agnes Kuchenberg on April 13, 1929 and they had two children, Richard (Dick) Scott (d. 2012) and Shelley Ellen. Simak attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison and later worked at various newspapers in the Midwest. He began a lifelong association with the Minneapolis Star and Tribune (inMinneapolis, Minnesota) in 1939, which continued until his retirement in 1976. He became Minneapolis Star’s news editor in 1949 and coordinator of Minneapolis Tribune’s Science Reading Series in 1961. In a blurb in Time and Again he wrote, “I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty three years and have two children. My favorite recreation is fishing (the lazy way, lying in a boat and letting them come to me). Hobbies: Chess, stamp collecting, growing roses.” He dedicated the book to his wife Kay, “without whom I’d never have written a line”. He was well liked by many of his science fiction cohorts, especially Isaac Asimov. He died in Minneapolis in 1988.

Simak became interested in science fiction after reading the works of H. G. Wells as a child. His first contribution to the literature was “The World of the Red Sun”, published by Hugo Gernsback in the December 1931 issue of Wonder Stories with one opening illustration by Frank R. Paul. Within a year he placed three more stories in Gernsback’s pulp magazines and one in Astounding Stories, then edited by Harry Bates. But his only science fiction publication between 1932 and 1938 was The Creator (Marvel Tales #4, March–April 1935), a notable story with religious implications, which was then rare in the genre.

Once John W. Campbell, at the helm of Astounding from October 1937, began redefining the field, Simak returned and was a regular contributor to Astounding Science Fiction (as it was renamed in 1938) throughout the Golden Age of Science Fiction (1938–1950). At first, as in the 1939 serial novel Cosmic Engineers, he wrote in the tradition of the earlier “superscience” subgenre that E. E. “Doc” Smith perfected, but he soon developed his own style, which is usually described as gentle and pastoral. During this period, Simak also published a number of war and western stories in pulp magazines. His best-known novel may be City, a collection of short stories with a common theme of mankind’s eventual exodus from Earth.

Simak continued to produce award-nominated novels throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Aided by a friend, he continued writing and publishing science fiction and, later, fantasy, into his 80s. He believed that science fiction not rooted in scientific fact was responsible for the failure of the genre to be taken seriously, and stated his aim was to make the genre a part of what he called “realistic fiction.”

Comments (10)

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  1. Kate M. says:

    I really enjoyed this story. But just a heads up for the editors, the outro on this episode is completely drowned out by music (at least on the iTunes version).

  2. Loved the story and concept behind as I was left wondering how but my comment is really for the post show time. You had a long time of talking but could hear nothing over the music. It was so loud I had to turn the volume down. Kept trying to sort out what you were saying, finally gave up.

  3. mike r says:

    Amazing story.

    Quickie heads up – there’s a bit of a production issue: There seems to be a bit of a mix-up in the levels in the outro – the daikaiju (sp?) music is rocking and loud, and if you listen very closely, you can hear the outro dialog.

    • Mat says:

      Thank you for the heads-up all! An updated/corrected file is now available for download.

      • Ross Thompson says:

        Any chance of releasing just the outro part on its own?

        • Mat says:

          It wouldn’t really be fitting in any way to put it in the feed, but I’ll cut it out and email it to you.

          For the benefit of anybody else reading this comment, you could also just stream the revised episode right from this page and skip to the end, or re-download it altogether.

  4. Harb0 says:

    this is one of my all time favourite stories
    I was late for work as i pulled over to savour the last moments
    Louis, Enoch Root, and the wandering jew are the greatest creations of fiction ever!
    If any of them are not fictional, so much the better.
    A wonderful reading
    thanks again

  5. Dangerdad says:

    I love Simak as an author, but I gave up on listening to this episode because of the narration. Good mic quality but the whisper-shout style makes it really hard to listen.

  6. ed morse says:

    I loved Simak also, and this story didn’t disappoint. Every time I hear his name, I automatically think of his great book, one of my favorites, “Time Is the Simplest Thing.”