Clifford D. Simak - Why Call Them Back from Heaven - Unb
Read by: Roy Abers
Runtime: 6 Hours and 22 Minutes
In this world eternal life is guaranteed by The Forever Center. When you die your body is preserved so that you can be reborn into its new eternal existence. So in this world the greatest crime is one that prevents the gathering of the body at death in sufficient time and denies this second life to the recently deceased. And the penalty is a severe one, the guilty party is being denied your chance of immortality.
But this is an odd world. Given the possibility of eternity, people are hesitant to spend money and attempt to save as much as they can for their future years. And The Forever Center is the most powerful and richest organisation on the planet.
This novel is superb, a wonderful example of just how good a writer Simak was. This kind of thing might not appeal to everyone these days. Back in the day when this book was written novels were a great deal shorter. In 1967 190 pages was a perfectly good length book. In these more modern times books of this size (excepting novella releases) just don't happen often.
I guess it's a matter of economics, 400-500 page novels being easier to sell – they appear to be better value than ones of less than half the size. And that is, frankly, a bad thing. Now I am not saying that 500 page novels are necessarily bad. There are good ones, I've read many of them. But I have also read many that felt as though they had been padded.
This book, however, is perfect to its length. The writing is immensely tight, so you don't get masses of description, nor in depth insights into the though patterns of the characters. But if you are not the type of person who needs to know the colour of the wallpaper in the rooms where the action happens then you could find this to your liking.
It's an original tale. Even after 40 years it feels fresh and original, not in anyway formulaic. But one warning – if you read and enjoy this, you may have to track down all other Simak books.