The Goblin Reservation

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Illustration of the novel by Soviet artist Eugenia Sterligova.

The Goblin Reservation is a 1968 science fiction novel by American writer Clifford D. Simak, featuring an educated Neanderthal, a biomechanical sabertooth tiger, aliens that move about on wheels, a man who time-travels using an unreliable device implanted in his brain, a ghost, trolls, banshees, goblins, a dragon and even Shakespeare himself. The Goblin Reservation was a Hugo Award nominee in 1969 and was originally serialized in Galaxy Science Fiction magazine.


The Goblin Reservation is the tale of Professor Peter Maxwell. It is set in the distant future when the Earth has been transformed into a university planet; a planet where creatures from all over the galaxy come to study, teach, and be entertained by the amazing discoveries that Earth is now rich with. Among the many things that Earth can now boast is Time University: a university devoted to slipping through time and discovering the truth about past events. People and creatures from the past are brought forward in time to be interviewed, studied and to provide entertainment for the people of the future. Among these are Alley Oop, a very smart, if at times crude, Neanderthal rescued from certain death and educated in the future. The creatures that people of the past always thought to be myth—such as trolls, fairies, goblins, and the like—have been discovered and placed on various reservations where they live and are studied by those working at Supernatural, a division of the planet-wide university.

The story begins when Peter Maxwell comes home to Earth only to discover that he has died. He is forced to investigate his own "murder" and discover who or what wanted him dead. He also returns with an additional mystery. He was apparently copied by unknown aliens and sent to a hidden world that may have come from the universe that existed before ours.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Hugo Awards 1969 nominee.[1]


In a 2012 video interview with Gawker Media science fiction site io9, Hugo award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson attributed The Goblin Reservation as the book that got him initially interested in science fiction.[2]