Quotes from City

Clifford D. Simak ·  251 pages

Rating: (10.5K votes)


“Once there had been joy, but now there was only sadness, and it was not, he knew, alone the sadness of an empty house; it was the sadness of all else, the sadness of the Earth, the sadness of the failures and the empty triumphs.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“I can't go back," said Towser.
"Nor I," said Fowler.
"They would turn me back into a dog," said Towser.
"And me," said Fowler, "back into a man.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“The need of one human being for the approval of his fellow humans, the need for a certain cult of fellowship - a psychological, almost physiological need for approval of one's thought and action. A force that kept men from going off at unsocial tangents, a force that made for social security and human solidarity, for the working together of the human family.

Men died for that approval, sacrificed for that approval, lived lives they loathed for that approval. For without it man was on his own, an outcast, an animal that had been driven from the pack.
It had led to terrible things, of course - to mob psychology, to racial persecution, to mass atrocities in the name of patriotism or religion. But likewise it had been the sizing that held the race together, the thing that from the very start had made human society possible.

And Joe didn't have it. Joe didn't give a damn. He didn't care what anyone thought of him. He didn't care whether anyone approved or not.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“Man's inability to understand and appreciate the thought and viewpoint of another man would be a stumbling block which no amount of mechanical ability could overcome.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“Jenkins tried to say goodbye, but he could not say goodbye. If he could only weep, he thought, but robots could not weep.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City



“It's like coming home," said Webster and he wasn't talking to the dog. "It's like you've been away for a long, long time and then you come home again. And it's so long you don't recognize the place. Don't know the furniture, don't recognize the floor plan. But you know by the feel of it that it's an old familiar place and you are glad you came."

"I like it here," said. Ebenezer and he meant Webster's lap, but the man misunderstood.

"Of course, you do," he said. "It's your home as well as mine. More your home, in fact, for you stayed here and took care of it while I forgot about it.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“These are the stories that the Dogs tell when the fires burn high and the wind is from the north. Then each family circle gathers at the hearthstone and the pups sit silently and listen and when the story's done they ask many questions:

"What is Man?" they'll ask.

Or perhaps: "What is a city?"

Or: "What is a war?”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“We thought all the time that we were passing through time when we really weren't, when we never have. We've just been moving along with time. We said, there's another second gone, there's another minute and another hour and another day, when, as a matter of fact the second or the minute or the hour was never gone. It was the same one all the time. It had just moved along and we had moved with it.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“Man was engaged in a mad scramble for power and knowledge, but nowhere is there any hint of what he meant to do with it once he had attained it. He”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“Race preservation is a myth … a myth that you all have lived by—a sordid thing that has arisen out of your social structure. The race ends every day. When a man dies the race ends for him—so far as he’s concerned there is no longer any race.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City



“Let’s get going,” Towser urged.
“Where do you want to go?”
“Anywhere,” said Towser. “Just start going and see where we end up. I have a feeling… well, a feeling-”
“Yes, I know,” said Fowler.
For he had the feeling, too. The feeling of high destiny. A certain sense of greatness. A knowledge that somewhere off beyond the horizons lay adventure and things greater than adventure.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“But man had changed. He had lost the old knowledge and old skills. His mind had become a flaccid thing. He lived from one day to the next without any shining goal. But he still kept the old vices—the vices that had become virtues from his own viewpoint and raised him by his own bootstraps. He kept the unwavering belief that his was the only kind, the only life that mattered—the smug egoism that made him the self-appointed lord of all creation.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“One world and then another, running like a chain. One world treading on the heels of another world that plodded just ahead. One world’s tomorrow, another world’s today. And yesterday is tomorrow and tomorrow is the past. Except, there wasn’t any past. No past, that was, except the figment of remembrance that flitted like a night-winged thing in the shadow of one’s mind. No past that one could reach. No pictures painted on the wall of time. No film that one could run backward and see what-once-had-been.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“He stood and watched his friend hobble around the house, felt the cold claw of loneliness reach out and touch him with icy fingers. A terrible loneliness. The loneliness of age—of age and the outdated.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“The walls cried out to him. And voices cried out as well from the shadow of the past. He stood and listened to them, and now a strange thing struck him. The voices were there, but he did not hear the words.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City



“Jenkins tried to say goodbye, but he could not say goodbye. If he could only weep, he thought, but a robot could not weep.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“The need of one human being for the approval of his fellow humans, the need for a certain cult of fellowship - a psychological, almost physiological need for approval of one's thought and action. A force that kept men from going off at unsocial tangents, a force that made for social security and human solidarity, for the working together of the human family.
Men died for that approval, sacrificed for that approval, lived lives they loathed for that approval. For without it man was on his own, an outcast, an animal that had been driven from the pack.
It had led to terrible things, of course - to mob psychology, to racial persecution, to mass atrocities in the name of patriotism or religion. But likewise it had been the sizing that held the race together, the thing that from the very start had made human society possible.
And Joe didn't have it. Joe didn't give a damn. He didn't care what anyone thought of him. He didn't care whether anyone approved or not.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“Look, Nathaniel. Men may not always be the way they are today. They may change. And, if they do, you have to carry on; you have to take the dream and keep it going. You’ll have to pretend that you are men.” “Us dogs,” Nathaniel pledged, “will do it.” “It won’t come for thousands and thousands of years,” said Grant. “You will have time to get ready. But you must know. You must pass the word along. You must not forget.” “I know,” said Nathaniel. “Us dogs will tell the pups and the pups will tell their pups.” “That’s”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“The need of one human being for the approval of his fellow humans, the need for a certain cult of fellowship—a psychological, almost physiological need for approval of one’s thought and action. A force that kept men from going off at unsocial tangents, a force that made for social security and human solidarity, for the working together of the human family. Men died for that approval, sacrificed for that approval, lived lives they loathed for that approval. For without it a man was on his own, an outcast, an animal that had been driven from the pack. It had led to terrible things, of course—to mob psychology, to racial persecution, to mass atrocities in the name of patriotism or religion. But likewise it had been the sizing that held the race together, the thing that from the very start had made human society possible.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“There isn’t any room,” said Joshua. “You travel back along the line of time and you don’t find the past, but another world, another bracket of consciousness. The earth would be the same, you see, or almost the same. Same trees, same rivers, same hills, but it wouldn’t be the world we know. Because it has lived a different life, it has developed differently. The second back of us is not the second back of us at all, but another second, a totally separate sector of time. We live in the same second all the time. We move along within the bracket of that second, that tiny bit of time that has been allotted to our particular world.” “The way we keep time was to blame,” said Ichabod. “It was the thing that kept us from thinking of it in the way it really was. For we thought all the time that we were passing through time when we really weren’t, when we never have. We’ve just been moving along with time. We said, there’s another second gone, there’s another minute and another hour and another day, when, as a matter of fact the second or the minute or the hour was never gone. It was the same one all the time. It had just moved along and we had moved with it.” Jenkins nodded. “I see. Like driftwood on the river. Chips moving with the river. And the scene changes along the river bank, but the water is the same.” “That’s roughly it,” said Joshua. “Except that time is a rigid stream and the different worlds are more firmly fixed in place than the driftwood on the river.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City



“What is a bow and arrow? It is the beginning of the end. It is the winding path that grows to the roaring road of war. It is a plaything and a weapon and a triumph in human engineering. It is the first faint stirring of an atom bomb.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“Your kind of politics is dead. They are dead because any tinhorn with a loud mouth and a brassy front could gain power by appeal to mob psychology. And you haven’t got mob psychology anymore. You can’t have mob psychology when people don’t give a damn what happens to a thing that’s dead already—a political system that broke down under its own weight.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“Your kind of politics is dead. They are dead because any tinhorn with a loud mouth and a brassy front could gain power by appeal to mob psychology.”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“Unconventional,” said Jenkins. “What is conventional?” asked Andrew. “Living in a dream? Living for a memory? you must be weary of it.” “Not”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“Man’s inability to understand and appreciate the thought and the viewpoint of another man would be a stumbling block which no amount of mechanical ability could overcome. That”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City



“Had the memory worn thin? Had the debt he owed been paid? Had he discharged the last ounce of devotion? “There are worlds out there,” Andrew was saying, “and life on some of them. Even some intelligence. There is work to do.” He”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“And why should I,” asked Joe, “do something for someone who isn’t even born yet? Why should I look beyond the years of my own life? When I die, I die, and all the shouting and the glory, all the banners and the bugles will be nothing to me. I will not know whether I lived a great life or a very poor one.” “The race,” said Grant. Joe laughed, a shout of laughter. “Race preservation, race advancement. That’s what you’re getting at. Why should you be concerned with that? Or I?” The”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“fellow humans, the need for a certain cult of fellowship—a psychological, almost physiological need for approval of one’s thought and action. A force that kept men from going off at unsocial tangents, a force that made for social security and human solidarity, for the working together of the human family. Men died for that approval, sacrificed for that approval, lived lives they loathed for that approval. For without it a man was on his own, an outcast, an animal that had been driven from the pack. It had led to terrible things, of course—to mob psychology, to racial persecution, to mass atrocities in the name of patriotism or religion. But likewise it had been the sizing that held the race together, the thing that from the very start had made human society possible. And”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“For what need was there to go anywhere? It all was here. By simply twirling a dial one could talk face to face with anyone wished, could go, by sense, if not in body, anywhere one wished. Could attend the theater or hear a concert or browse in a library halfway around the world. Could transact any business one might need to transact without rising from one’s chair. Webster”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City


“you humans are a lonely lot of folks. You never have known your fellow-man. You can’t know him because you haven’t the common touch of understanding that makes it possible to know him. You have friendships, sure, but those friendships are based on pure emotions, never on real understanding. You get along together, sure. But you get along by tolerance rather than by understanding. You work out your problems by agreement, but that agreement is simply a matter of the stronger-minded among you beating down the opposition of the weaker ones.” “What’s”
― Clifford D. Simak, quote from City



About the author

Clifford D. Simak
Born place: in Millville, Wisconsin, The United States
Born date August 3, 1904
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