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Cosmic Engineers

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  291 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Two reporters looking for a story in the outer reaches of the Solar System come upon a derelict spaceship. Inside, they find the only inhabitant, a beautiful young woman who has been imprisoned for a thousand years in suspended animation, suspended but aware for the whole time. Together they set off on a grand adventure across the vastness of space and time in a search for ...more
Published April 8th 1982 by Mandarin (first published 1939)
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Jul 12, 2016 Sandy rated it liked it
Every great novelist has to begin somewhere, and for future sci-fi Grand Master Clifford D. Simak, that beginning was his first novel, "Cosmic Engineers." This is not to say, of course, that this novel was the first attempt at writing that Simak had ever made. Far from it, as a matter of fact. "Cosmic Engineers" originally appeared as a three-part serial in the February – April 1939 issues of John W. Campbell's highly influential "Astounding Science-Fiction" magazine, and in a slightly expanded ...more
Sep 02, 2012 Debra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stephen King favorably mentioned author in Chapter 2 of Berkley's 1983 paperback edition of Danse Macabre.

Wow was Simak ahead of his time with this fun and fast little science fiction story. Some space/time confusion for us layman, but not too bad. What was unheard of in the day may actually be possible in the future. Fun take on humankind (MAN) as the savior of the universe. Glad the author tempered that with the knowledge that man isn't ready to have the power to save the universe (and destro
Christense Jiang
Dec 22, 2011 Christense Jiang rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
There's nothing like golden age sci-fi. Even the mistaken science is charming; it's nice to go back to a time when Pluto was a planet. Most of all, it's nice to return to a time of optimism. This book is set far enough in the future, further than most, which makes the level of scientific advances more believable. It was a time when we believed that we were just a few tweaks away from a promising new future--atomic energy, interstellar travel, time travel, robots, colonies on Mars--and Jupiter! ...more
Ovidiu Neatu
Oct 03, 2015 Ovidiu Neatu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You can find a lot to complain about this book; mostly retro-technologies that don't quite fit the environment that's supposed to be the future and a lot of mambo-jambo about higher dimensions of space.

But the share number of big ideas and astonishing encounters make it very impressive for a 1939 novel, that's why I gave it 5 stars.

As an historical point, I strongly suspect that when Asimov said that Simak had a great influence on him he had this book in mind. I can see in "Cosmic Engineers" ger
Joe Sycamore
Feb 14, 2013 Joe Sycamore rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any fan of hard science fiction
Recommended to Joe by: No one, I bought it because I liked the cover and the sleeve notes.
I first read this book over 40 years ago and was blown away by its scope and imagination. It remains one of my five favourite books (and cover artwork). Ok the ideas seem slightly out of date and the characters are a little one-dimensional but that was how science fiction was written in the 50's. It was one of the first books I read where the female character was more than just eye candy for the beefy hero. I found the idea of man being a very minority presence a bit depressing but far more ...more
Oct 08, 2016 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed
Cosmic Engineers is a classic work of Science Fiction-- apparently, in the 50's Simak decided to expand a novella or seriel that he had written in 1039 and turn it into a novel.

Simak wrote a lot of good Science fiction. However, I can't say that this is one of them. First, as Science Fiction it shows it's age, badly. The pulp style is present and didn't wear well with age. Ideas that were relatively new about hyperspace travel, suspended animation, etc. just seem like fantasy images rather than
Fantasy Literature
3 stars from Sandy, read the full review at FANTASY LITERATURE

Every great novelist has to begin somewhere, and for future sci-fi Grand Master Clifford D. Simak, that beginning was his first novel, Cosmic Engineers. This is not to say, of course, that this novel was the first attempt at writing that Simak had ever made. Far from it, as a matter of fact. Cosmic Engineers originally appeared as a three-part serial in the February – April 1939 issues of John W. Campbell’s highly influential Astoundi
Glenn Schmelzle
May 17, 2009 Glenn Schmelzle rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephen Kacir
Enjoyable, but not one of Simak's best works. Some concepts from this book are explored more fully in other novels and short stories, and undoubtedly came from this earlier short novel which was originally published serially in "Astounding Science Fiction." The book shares themes with "Project Pope," "City," "Ring Around the Sun," "Destiny Doll," "Cemetery World" and maybe even "The Goblin Reservation." Similarly it borrows from "Hellhounds of the Cosmos." The novel is choppy, perhaps due to its ...more
Denzil Pugh
May 25, 2012 Denzil Pugh rated it liked it
As a good review, I read The Cosmic Engineers by Clifford D. Simak. It was one of my dad's old sci-fi books, and so I randomly picked a book out of the hundreds and read it. It was a mix of Sagan's Contact and any number of Star Trek episodes I could name. The characters were shallow, but the plot and the themes were strong and driving. It is like I have said before, pure science fiction stories rely on strong, believable science theory, and less on the characters involved. In this, Simak ...more
Jan 23, 2015 Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only book by Simak I have previously read is the wonderful Way Station. I've been meaning to read more of Simak for years, and have been collecting his books from second hand bookshops whenever I find them.

Cosmic Engineers didn't reach Way Station levels of enjoyment for me, but it certainly wasn't far off. It is a delightful gem of a book which includes god-like beings, time travel, robots, multiple dimensions, space exploration and cryogenics. All this and more packed into a very small bo
Samuel Lubell
Aug 20, 2013 Samuel Lubell rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This is Simak and has major flaws. The year is 6976 but has newspapermen from the 1950s and most of the technology does not seem more than a couple of centuries beyond ours. There's a threat to the universe and all the aliens are helpless until they beg some Earth know-how from the journalists on the ship and the female they rescue from suspended animation. One factor that redeemed the book is that the female character is the super-genius (as she was conscious during her thousand year sleep). ...more
Fantascienza avventurosa vecchio stile.
Dopo una prima parte introduttiva abbastanza tranquilla, diventa il "festival della supercazzola: universi quadri e pentadimensionali, sfere ipertemporali, leggi della fisica piegate alla narrazione quando non inventate di sana pianta, deus ex machina a manciate.
Il tutto con un ritmo narrativo "a strappi", condito da pistolotti pseudo-filosofici sulla frontiera americana, che qui diventa frontiera dell'umanità, la volontà di potenza e la possibilità di real
Jul 15, 2012 Coyle rated it really liked it
Good solid old-school science fiction, with one-dimensional characters, deadly peril, unlikely action, and an unbendingnly optimistic outlook. This book is especially good for thinking about how early science fiction writers dealt with the removal of any kind of Transcendent reality from their worldview. If the logical conclusion of science is the destruction of the universe (and it is- even if billions of years from now), what hope can there be for humanity? Lots of it, of course!

Highly recomm
Stephen Poltz
Sep 15, 2015 Stephen Poltz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every book of Simak’s I read reinforces that he’s my favorite author of the golden age of SF. He created great stories without falling into the trappings of space opera. His books are always thoughtful and though provoking. “The Cosmic Engineers” is no exception. While on the surface, it has a plot that sounds like space opera, it’s much more, yet retains a simplicity and sweetness that I’ve come to expect from him.

Come visit my blog for the full review…
Nov 27, 2014 Nawfal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Probably this is only three stars. There is so much wild conjecture, illogical rambling, and bad science. The characters are one-dimensional and bland. The plot is odd and seems to roam. However, this novel has the huge idea, the grand imagination, the vast scope, the meta-concepts that readers don't find in contemporary science fiction. This is not a dystopia, nor a zombie-novel. This is kosmic and epic. But maybe not such a great story.
Apr 29, 2011 Mark rated it liked it
Wham-bam space opera, originally from 1939 but expanded into short novel form by 1950.

It does show its age a little, with rootin'-tootin' Space Reporters, a gorgeous gal who's stayed in suspended animation (but with her mind working!) for hundreds of years.

But there's some great, if implausible, ideas here: colliding universes, alien races, massive machines.

Very much in the Doc Smith vein; not surprisingly, really.

Good fun, but by no means Simak's best.
Ralph McEwen
Aug 09, 2012 Ralph McEwen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vacillating between 3 or 4 stars and giving it credit for its age so it get 4. A good science fiction adventure with implausible but tantalizing ideas. The characters are shallow but it a short novel with lots of concepts to throw at you. The cover is correct in stating that there are enough thrills for five sequels and there were just not directly related more like distant cousins. A quick enjoyable read that should be enjoyed by more people.
Tom Britz
Clifford D. Simak has deservedly earned his Gran Master status, however this offering (his first novel) is not up to par. This book first published in 1950 is dated badly. Simak started out by writing space opera in the E.E. "Doc" Smith vein and it just wasn't to be. Happily he (Simak) went on to write some of the genre's greatest classics. My personal favorite is Way Station.
Jul 27, 2014 Steve rated it really liked it
Read this 30 years ago and found the same copy in my late father's library. Old school sci -fi, very old school. This has the same grand optimistic vision of the future that many writers of the Golden Age had. Fun, but not his best.
Ralph Carlson
Jul 30, 2014 Ralph Carlson rated it really liked it
Innersteller space travel, colliding universes, energy weapons, evil aliens, journey to the edge of the universe, time travel to the Earth at the end of time, saving the universe, and other marvels in a fast paced 150 page novel. What's not to like?
Aug 29, 2014 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I read this classic likeable SF story in the 1960's when Pluto was still a planet. The author wrote this about 1939. The story takes place in the future and has nasty aliens, travel to the end of the universe, time travel, a female lead ...
Great to read a book of this age, in this genre, with a smart female lead. Mr. Simak has been a favorite writer of mine for a long time and I am glad I finally got a copy of this book.
PJ Dlamini
Feb 28, 2016 PJ Dlamini rated it it was amazing
My first sci-fi book. and i haven't read anything better than this in the genre. mind expanding like science, many sci-fi tales miss that ingredient in their tales.
Maggie rated it it was amazing
Jan 07, 2015
Judi rated it really liked it
Sep 21, 2014
Scotto rated it it was amazing
Sep 30, 2008
Tbfrank rated it liked it
Nov 08, 2015
J. P. Borders
J. P. Borders rated it liked it
Dec 01, 2013
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Apr 28, 2015
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"He was honored by fans with three Hugo awards and by colleagues with one Nebula award and was named the third Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) in 1977." (Wikipedia)

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“In this room, he told himself, history might have been written, the course of cosmic empire might have been shaped and the fate of stars decided.

But now there was no sign of life, just a brooding silence that seemed to whisper in a tongueless language of days and faces and problems long since wiped out by the march of years.”
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