11) City, by Clifford D Simak
One of those classics of SF that I’d never actually read (also I’m gradually working up a piece on Simak’s Hugo/Nebula winning story “Grotto of the Dancing Deer”). A set of eight stories chronicling the disappearance of humanity to new states of mental and physical being, while the Earth is taken over first by dogs and then by ants, all set in a framing narrative presenting the material as fragments being analysed in the far future by canine scholars, slightly reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale and Arthur C Clarke’s “The Fires Within” (I’m sure there are other examples but that’s what comes to mind). I had read one story from this collection a few months ago, but it turns out to be atypical, set on the planet Jupiter rather than the small-town American setting shared by all the other stories. The tone is elegiac and regretful, and the conclusion is that humanity cannot be saved in its current form; but there are better beings, and better worlds, to come.