A Choice of Gods – Clifford D. Simak

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After almost all humans suddenly disappeared, the remaining humans develop long lives and psychic powers. All the robots remain, and seek their own new purpose in life. The humans form three groups – the few that work with robots, the Native Americans that disdain robots, and a nomadic group that fears robots.

A Choice of Gods should really have been an essay, and much shorter. As a novel, it wastes space on a skeletal storyline that feels grudging, and mostly just gets in the way of Simak’s philosophical points – mostly, a fairly simplistic view that acquisitiveness has ruined the planet. He veers close to a ‘noble savage’ philosophy, though these tribes have kept a few newer ways. Simak is on stronger ground with the needs of the robots, but doesn’t do enough with them. He also introduces aliens, in the form of a literal can of worms. Unfortunately, also some pretty traditionally rigid gender roles, though he should have known better by the time this was written.

Essentially, the contents of a mildly interesting essay spread into a disappointing and not very interesting novel. Recommended only for Simak completists.

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