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The Visitors

3.38  ·  Rating Details ·  421 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
It looked like a big black box- perhaps fifty feet high, two hundred long. And it had settled squarely on forestry student Jerry Conklin's car, parked next to a fishing stream outside Lone Pine, Minnesota. — The townspeople of Lone Pine were the first to see it- and one of them was the first and only human to shoot at it. He paid for his rashness with instant death.

Mass Market Paperback, 283 pages
Published October 12th 1980 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 1980)
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Aug 12, 2015 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Visitors is like a book out of time. It feels for the life of me like a novel written in 1945, yet it was published in 1980. Was this a lost manuscript? I searched throughout the book for evidence that Simak was playing a kind of trick, an ironic game, writing an imitation 1940's alien encounter book, replete with all the types and tropes of the genre, in order to comment on it, but there was none. Simak, apparently, was in total earnest. This is indeed 1980, seen through the eyes of a man w ...more
I believe I am totally biased and therefore my review may not be worth a whole lot to anyone. First, I grew up in Minnesota and felt really comfortable with the setting of the book. Second, I read "City" as a young person, later bought it, and re-read it over and over. Finally, I kept putting off reading this book. It was on the library shelf at my small-town library, but the description of it just seemed too dumb. I looked past that book for two years before breaking down and checking it out. I ...more
Joey V.
Jun 26, 2012 Joey V. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I've only read two books by Clifford Simak, this one and Special Deliverance. Either he is a remarkably mediocre author, or I've simply read the two worst books in his bibliography. Whereas Special Deliverance is at times amusing, The Visitors struggles to find any redeeming value at all. Which is sad, because on the surface it has all the ingredients of a great story. Alien invasion. Political intrigue. Romance. Small-town politics. International politics. Race relations. Class warfare. Religio ...more
William Korn
May 05, 2016 William Korn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Having just recently been introduced to the works of this "Golden Age of SF" author, I am beginning to detect a pattern. What often "makes" an SF book is the creativity of the basic SF-type idea that drives the plot. In "The Visitors" and "Way Station", the basic ideas are very creative. In this case, we have a very different take on the first encounter between humanity and an alien race, both in how the encounter develops and its consequences.

Another feature of both books it that the plot moves
Grant Spendlove
Dec 14, 2010 Grant Spendlove rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Books and movies about alien visitation fall into one of two categories: the "E.T." variety or the "Independence Day" variety. The alien or aliens are ALWAYS either hostile or benign; there's never any middle ground....except in "The Visitors." If you're tired of looking at extraterrestrials as either vicious conquerors or innocent children, then this is the book for you. While the "aliens" in this book are truly alien, their motives, when revealed, are totally understandable. The book may be a ...more
Mar 29, 2012 Denis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though not of the caliber of "Way Station" and the fix-up/collection "City" it has all the elements of the best of his early works. A awesome premise (though reminiscent of two A.C. Clarke novels "2001" and "Childhood Ends")a large, strange and mysterious floating monoliths appear over the mid-western United States. They consume huge amounts of cellulose and produce something that can be utilized as vehicles and after that houses. Some of the lead character are involved with the newspaper assign ...more
Brick Marlin
Apr 27, 2015 Brick Marlin rated it it was amazing
This was the first Clifford D. Simak book i had read and found the story quite intriguing. i dearly love these old sci-fi tales!!
May 22, 2016 Nancy rated it really liked it
This was a thoroughly entertaining old fashioned SF tale of alien invasion. So fantastic that I was chuckling all the way through.
Chris Bassett
Would undoubtedly work better as a short story.
Jul 20, 2012 James rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The story narrates contact between Earth and the title Visitors, a group of mysterious objects from deep space. The Visitors are simple black oblong boxes, as large as buildings, which approach from space and orbit the Earth before descending to the United States. The nature of the visitors is kept rather mysterious — it's not clear if they are vehicles or living things in their own right. They are apparently unable to communicate with humans in any meaningful way; on one occasion a human is tak ...more
Oct 20, 2015 Conina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Всички!
Какво би станало, когато някоя напреднала и извънземна раса най-сетне ни открие? И с каква цел би ни посетила - като изследователи, като спасители, като натрапници или като бегълци? Как биха променили света и мирогледа ни? Всички тези въпроси може би отдавна вълнуват Саймък, понеже романът е описан много детайлно - имаме гледни точки от религията, журналистиката, правителството и тук-таме подметнати мисли от обикновени хора. Въпреки че идеята за книгата ми хареса, посетителите ми харесаха!, цяла ...more
Jim Mcclanahan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 18, 2012 Mike rated it it was amazing
This is a very interesting book. If is typical Simak in that most of the action takes place in the rural United States. A sleepy town finds a large black object settling down just outside town. It then goes on to eat trees and excretes cellulose. It then buds and gives birth to miniature versions of itself that eat the cellulose and that's pretty much all we get to know about the visitors.

The story is about how the humans interact and react to them. What effects they have on people. What the gov
Michael Brown
Aug 28, 2016 Michael Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of my small-town used bookstore purchases this year. This was first published in 1980 and the writing is different than what is typical today. However, there were some themes in the book that are surprisingly modern.

Take for instance, the first chapter where one character is railing against the PC-ness of "Injuns" wanting to be called Native Americans. Another character calls them a "bigot". See if this response doesn't pop-up in your Facebook feed almost every day:
"When you call a
Dave Metzener
Jan 16, 2013 Dave Metzener rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Pretty much anyone
Recommended to Dave by: Science Fiction Book Club
This is one of the oldest books in my collection. I read this a long time ago and recently remembered it and decided I wanted to read it again.

The book really shows it's age. Think of a television show from the 80's, how it was acted compared to current day shows. Now think of current day writing and this book is like an 80's television show in the way it was written. It just reads like an 80's book. I don't know any better way to describe my feeling of the style of writing.

The story in the book
Dec 16, 2014 Ubik rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Well, hmmm...I liked it, but it just kinda ended right when it was getting good. I will definitely continue to read more Simak. Way Station and Special Deliverance were both amazing. Simak has a special touch for "no frills" writing that I sometimes find refreshing in a world of authors going overboard with fluffy and fanciful writing, and I liked it here as well, but it just ground to a stop. I would definitely read the sequel if there was one. Sadly, as far as I know, there isn't one. I really ...more
Apr 15, 2009 John rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up at a Worldcon a few years back. Time was, I thought there could never be such a thing as a boring Simak novel, even though some of the later books of his I'd read had been a bit, well, lacking in sustenance. Sadly, The Visitors proved to be dull as ditchwater. The aliens arrive in the form of lots of big, featureless black boxes that arrive in forest areas and start devouring trees. One does so on the outskirts of Lone Pine, Minnesota, and Simak's usual roster of small-town char ...more
Jul 09, 2013 JimGeary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, red_in_2014
A brisk little read, but it seems to stop where it should've started. A facile treatment of cornucopia economics by one-dimensional characters. The journos are somewhat human (author bias, no doubt), but the POTUS has all the range of JC Dithers. If the General had grunted, "Hulk smash," it would've been character development. Black character: "The man be keeping us down." Word.
Matteo Pellegrini

Sembrava un'enorme cassa nera, alta forse venti metri, larga duecento, ed era venuta a posarsi giusto sulla macchina di Jerry Conklin, parcheggiata presso il fiume in cui Jerry stava pescando. Gli abitanti di Lone Pine, Minnesota, erano stati i primi a vederla, e George, il barbiere, fu il primo a spararle contro. Ma fu anche l'ultimo.

Steve Wratten
So so. I didn't like the ending. There are a lot of parallels to "the Alien Years" by Silverberg. I agree with the reviewer who felt it seemed like a novel from the 40's, with a very dated setting and stilted dialog.
Jan 13, 2008 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After 27 years, I have finished this book...Interesting concept of an alien invasion hampered by shallow character development and a plot that lacks much cohesion. Obviously a short story that was expanded into novel size, like a lot of Simak's other novels, including the superior City.
Mark Schlatter
Jul 08, 2011 Mark Schlatter rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
The book basically ends about 40 pages after it gets going. The idea is interesting --- what would happen if an alien invasion happened in a very unexpected way? --- but the bulk of the novel leads up to the reveal of the "unexpected way". It is a very slow build up a very few consequences.
Feb 05, 2015 Richp rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was pretty ordinary, and I like Simak's work.
Apr 07, 2016 Calvin rated it liked it
I enjoyed the ideas in this book so much, I was very frustrated to arrive at the end and realize they had not been taken further.
Caer Glas
Dec 26, 2007 Caer Glas rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I generally like Simak's writing, but this is far and away his worst work that I've read. Slow, pointless, boring. Can best be described as a newspaper procedural, if you can imagine that...
Glenn Schmelzle
Oct 31, 2010 Glenn Schmelzle rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 17, 2010 Larry rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The premise sounded quite good but the book bored me, was glad when it was finished!
Livre assez mineur, le format d'une nouvelle aurait sans doute plus judicieux.
On retrouve en revanche le style de l'auteur et son humanisme.
Shalini Nemo
Plodding pace and the ending was not satisfying.
Erik Graff
May 18, 2009 Erik Graff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Simak fans
Recommended to Erik by: 1
Shelves: sf
Originally published in Analog magazine, this is not one of Simak's best.
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What's The Name o...: Solved:Sci Fi Alien Gifts [s] 9 85 May 26, 2010 11:24AM  
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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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