Proving that there is no such thing as an original idea, Clifford.D.Simak's All Flesh Is Grass utilises a concept that would later be used by both Stephen King, in Under The Dome, and author Michael Grant in his novel, Gone.
After a series of bizarre events the day before, Brad Carter sets off to meet up with an old school friend with the intention of going fishing. But he has no more than reached the town limits of Millville when he hits an invisible barrier that has sprung up overnight. Soon, it emerges that no sentinent living creatures can cross this barrier but that inanimate objects such as empty cars can pass straight through. And that is not all. It soon becomes quickly apparent that a superior alien intelligence is at work and that they have plans for the human race......
Featuring the familiar concepts of first contact with an alien race that Simak was famous for using extensively throughout his large body of work, intelligent plants with their own set of agenda, multiple worlds and the usual everyman hero that so often took centre stage in this author's novels, All Flesh is a brilliantly concieved piece of sci-fi that, like all his books, is just as relevant today as it was on first publication. Apart from the small fact that man has not yet made it into space, this book could be set in any time and it truly is a timeless sci-fi classic that is so often overlooked in today's modern age! With its anti-war theme and its not-so-subtle digs at nucleur armament, the story is a precursor to much that would end up following and is a fine example of this author at his very best!
The way that the hero, Carter, has to try and ascertain this new race's intentions (are they benevolant? Do the aliens have a hidden agenda that involves taking over the earth? If that is the case, can they be stopped?) is the true focus of this novel rather than events in the dome itself and it takes a much larger look at the forces behind the barrier than King's similar novel which instead concentrated on the human angle and the breakdown of relationships therein. There is some of that here also, as suspicions mount that Carter may be party to more than he lets on, but it is touched upon only briefly as Simak has sonmuch more than this that he wants to say!
Overall, I think this is one of the best books this author wrote and truly encapsulates the feeling of the time in which it was written. It is far superior to Stephen King's Under The Dome despite being written many decades before and is one of the most interesting sci-fi novels I have ever had the pleasure to read. It is true that I am ever so slightly biased, as a big fan of this author, but I really feel that if you miss out on this you will miss a treat!