The Goblin Reservation is another classic tale from the late sci-fi author, Clifford.D.Simak, and is set in a world not that far removed from our own.
In this universe, Goblins, Trolls and Faerie have all been found to exist and now live out their lives on specially secluded reservations away from prying eyes. Peter Maxwell is a Profesor at the College Of Supernatural Phenomena and has spent his life befriending and studying these curious creatures but is called away to a distant planet when he hears rumour of the existance of a dragon. Unfortunately, whilst using a matter-transporter to travel off-planet, Maxwell is abducted by the inhabitants of a mysterious crystal planet that want him to broker a deal between their two species. It is not until his return to Earth that Maxwell realises that in fact he was not abducted but instead copied and that his doppelganger continued to his original destination, returned home several weeks before and has since died! Maxwell is now left with no job, no apartment and no income with everyone he knew previously now thinking him deceased.
With only the vaguest idea how to broker a deal between the aliens who sandbagged him and his own species, and with little idea what price the aliens desire in exchange for their vast stores of knowledge, Maxwell finds himself quickly in over his head. Thankfully his friends, a spirit known only as Ghost, a Neandathal trawled forward in time by a branch of the University and the woman Professor who has taken over his apartment, are there to assist and help Maxwell get to the bottom of everything....but it soon becomes clear that things arfe more complicated than at first thought!
This is classic sci-fi and, equally and more importantly, classic Simak with plenty of subversive humour and a tongue-in-cheek feel to it that is certainly refreshing in what can often become a tired and overly serious genre. This has been described as "Simak (writing) in a good mood" and that certainly sums everything here up as this is rather a jolly little romp from beginning to end. Clever too are the subtle references to his other work, though here they are slightly disguised so as to distinguish this book from being an actual sequel! At one point the characters talk of Simenson who had intentions to open up a Safari Trek back in the Jurassic Era when he discovered the secret of Time Travel ( as another character once planned in the Simak novel, Catface). In another instance, there is rumour that the University has made contact and is having liasons with The Devil ~ a plot that Simak again once used in another of his novels though in that instance The Devil wanted to liase with The President Of The U.S.A instead of just the Principle of a Mid-Western University specialising in the Supernatura!
Simak is a classic sci-fi writer and one who is often mistakenly overlooked. Certainly he is one of the grand masters of the genre and this is a fine example of his work! As such, you would ignore this novel at your peril as it is well worth a peruse and has not aged a bit i the intervening twenty years or so since it was first published!