Novel, first published: Galaxy Science Fiction, Dec. 1952- Feb. 1953
Jay Vickers was an ordinary man, or so he thought. All he wanted was to be left in peace to finish his next book. However, strange things started happening- from his discovery of a mouse that was not a mouse, to the visit of an old neighbor that was not a man. Or at least he was not an ordinary man. For as it turned out, neither was Jay Vickers.
This is the story of human mutation- the next step in the evolution of the species. What if mutants walked among us already? What if they were organized? What if they had unbelievable powers, such as the ability to cross between alternate worlds or dimensions at will, or to intuitively reach the absolutely correct answer by intuition or "hunch", or to telepathically reach out to the stars? Such supermen would automatically try to conquer lesser men, would they not? Or would they do everything in their power to free the rest of humanity from slavery and suffering? Just what would the political and corporate powers- that- be do to keep their power and their slaves? How would mutants undermine the power of these bosses to set mankind free?
This is a story of unlimited freedom, of worlds without end, ready for the taking. It is also the story of powerful, benevolent beings that exist only to help those who need that help. Simak sets this optimism off against the far-flung future - of 1987. This is a future of a lop-sided mechanical culture of technology that could provide creature comfort for a few, but not human justice or security for the many. It is a future of hate, and war, and worry. Nothing like the way the world really turned out....
OAKSHAMAN: Amazon Customer Review
Simak proved again that he could write complex plots. It is the year 1987, the cold war is still on, but a more serious threat to the world economy has appeared. Somebody is selling at ridiculously low prices such consumer goods as cars that run forever, razor blades that never dull, light bulbs that never dim, and houses heated by cheap solar energy. This same mysterious industry is giving away synthetic carbohydrates to starving populations. A writer, Jay Vickers, is summoned to New York by his agent, Ann Carter, to meet a man named Crawford, representing the industrial combine. The combine is naturally upset at such a threat to conspicuous consumption and planned obsolescence. Crawford wants Vickers to write a book, "impartially" explaining what is happening, but Vickers is not interested. ...
Ewald, Robert J.: When the Fires Burn High and the Wind is from the North, p.74-75