The Goblin Reservation was Clifford D. Simak’s fourteenth novel. An entertaining blend of science fiction and fantasy, it features a ghost, leprechauns, trolls, banshees, a dragon, a cybernetic sabertooth tiger, a Neanderthal, Shakespeare, aliens who get around on wheels, time travel, and stranger things. It was nominated for a Hugo Award in 1969.
The novel opens in the distant future as Professor Peter Maxwell is traveling home to Earth, which has been transformed into a single great University. When he gets there, he learns that he already arrived a week earlier — and was promptly murdered, either by aliens or their rivals, the goblins and trolls who’ve been brought from Earth’s distant past for study, and now live on a protected reservation. Suffice to say, The Goblin Reservation is wholly unlike any other fantasy novel, and could only have been written by Clifford D. Simak.
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It was originally serialized in two parts in Galaxy Science Fiction magazine (April and June, 1968). It was first published in paperback by Berkley Medallion in March 1969, with a cover by the great Richard Powers (above left). It was reprinted by Berkley in May 1977 with a much greener cover (above middle, artist unknown), and again in May 1982 by DAW, with a cover by Kelly Freas (above right).
Frederik Pohl, the editor of Galaxy, bought the novel for his magazine. I don’t know if the book was abridged for its magazine appearance, but probably. It made the cover for the April 1968 issue (above left, art by Gray Morrow).
The Goblin Reservation first appeared in the UK in 1969 from Rapp & Whiting, but the cover they gave it is so boring I can’t bear to look at it (it’s here — but brace yourself.) Far superior is the January 1971 paperback from Corgi, with a cover by the brilliant Bruce Pennington (above middle). The last UK edition was from Methuen in March 1987, with the best cover of the lot (above right).
The last English language paperback edition of The Goblin Reservation appeared in February 1993 from Carroll & Graf, part of their Masters of Science Fiction line. The cover was by Les Edwards. It was significantly cropped for the paperback appearance; the original canvas (above) is a stunning piece of art.
Here’s the back cover text for the the Carroll & Graf edition:
Professor Peter Maxwell is in desperate straits. En route to an interplanetary research mission, he was snatched by a strange, shadowy race to a previously uncharted planet. Ancient beyond comprehension, this planet is a storehouse of information that would be invaluable to the people of Earth — even an Earth so far advanced that perfected time travel allows goblins, dinosaurs, ghosts, even Shakespeare to coexist. His attempts to interest the rulers of Earth are thwarted, however, by a startling discovery — Maxwell was ingeniously duplicated. The “other” him came back before he did, and soon after was “accidentally” killed. Now no one will believe the original Maxwell really exists…
The Goblin Reservation was published by Carroll & Graf in February 1993. It is 192 pages, priced at $3.95. The cover is by Les Edwards. It has been out of print for 22 years. There is no digital edition.
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