An invisible barrier that isolates a small American town from the rest of the world: I think this is the first time that motif was exploited. Stephen King’s novel and the Simpsons episode came about 40 years later.
Can plants think? Studies on the subject have been coming in recent years. One recent study found that trees on one end of the forest can somehow communicate with those on the other end. Another one demonstrated that leaves can remember events and transmit that memory to the rest of the plant. Again, Clifford Simak seems to be half a century ahead of everyone else here.
It could be linked to the current GM food debate too, because it talks of the risks of replacing Earth’s natural crops with something better, but unpredictable.
This book is a fascinating study into people’s reactions when confronted with something surreal and unexplained, yet wonderful and providing unlimited opportunities. And as it turns out, with some exceptions, both the average Joe and the esteemed world leaders can often get blinded by egoism and fail to see further than the end of their noses.
I was a bit dissatisfied with the way the protagonist was portrayed; he seems to be just too calm and collected to be realistic. I mean, I’m usually a pragmatic and relaxed person, but if confronted with such weird stuff, I’d totally flip out.
(view spoiler)[The ending was a bit unconvincing too. If humans were the only intelligent lifeform capable of caring for another being simply for its beauty, why would any other intelligent being understand, appreciate and crave that? (hide spoiler)]
With these exceptions, the book was able to grasp the reader’s attention, provoke thought and pose questions.