Ring Around the Sun by Clifford D. Simak


Science FictionRing Around the Sun by Clifford D. Simak Ring Around the Sun
Clifford D. Simak; Ace Books 1959

An everlasting razor blade, cigarette lighter, and light bulb. A recipe for disaster? Jay Vickers’ agent has him come into New York City to meet a man about a book.

George Crawford, the owner of a very large business, wants Vickers to write a book exposing how these items will ruin America and the world. It’s things like this that will last forever that will bring an economy to its knees and ruin the system. Belongings that will last forever will bring down capitalism. Vickers refuses the job, much to his agent’s disgust. Ann Carter keeps trying to change his mind for his sake as well as hers.

Vickers has been pulled out of the world of his current book for this meeting. He catches up on the news and starts noticing and hearing about things. A cheap car that will last forever. A house that can be bought by the room and built for less. Poor people are disappearing in full family groups. Clothes are the next indestructible thing to come to market. The Cold War heats up, then cools off again.

When Vicker’s eccentric neighbor disappears, he has to run. Suddenly the people in his town have turned against him. First he returns to the Illinois town and the farm where he grew up. Then he goes farther.

Ring Around the Sun was first published in 1953. Clifford D. Simak set this book 25 years into his  future. Once the reader takes the time period into account and makes mental adjustments, Ring Around the Sun becomes an intriguing book.

The first part of the book pulled me right in, keeping my interest and filling me with questions. The historical anomalies were not a distraction. Simak knew what would happen to capitalism if items were built to last. Unfortunately, the book falls flat in the last quarter. The solution works fine, but it doesn’t have the punch of the earlier part of the book.

The other ideal that Simak doesn’t address in Ring Around the Sun is the person’s need of style changes over the years, especially in clothing. The everlasting car may run and work forever, but a person will get tired of it and want something new. Also, Ring Around the Sun doesn’t account for the one-upmanship people can be inclined to do. They not only want to keep up with the Joneses but have more than them.

Despite the lackluster ending, Ring Around the Sun is classic science fiction from one of the early masters. The intriguing premise will keep the reader pulled in.

More books by Clifford D. Simak

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