City series

Story, first published: Astounding Science Fiction, May 1944

"City" begins in 1992. Industry has been decentralized by the threat of atomic war. With the promise of cheap land and the convenience of the family airplane, the people have deserted the cities and fled to the country except for some "squatters" and diehards like John Webster. Webster too very much wants to leave but has remained in the city out of a deep sense of duty. After a final eloquent plea trying to convince the City Council that the cities are indeed dead, Webster resigns as President of the Chamber of Commerce, planning to minister to the technologically unemployed. But when the squatter threaten civil war if the Council burn the houses, Webster tries unsuccessfully to stop the Council. Before any serious bloodshed, the crisis is resolved by one of those ironic twists of fate that Simak sprinkled all through the novel. Adams, a former urban resident, has bought the city for back taxes, planning on turning it into a memorial museum.

Ewald, Robert J.: When the Fires Burn High and the Wind is from the North, p.40-41