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Way Station [Hardcover]

Clifford D. Simak
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1980
Neighbors saw Enoch Wallace as an ageless hermit, striding across his untended farm as he had done for over a century, still carrying the gun with which he had served in the Civil War. They must never know that inside his unchanging house, he met and conversed with a host of unimaginable friends from the farthest stars.
More than a hundred years before, an alien being named Ulysses had recruited Enoch as the keeper of Earth's only galactic transfer station. Now Enoch studied the progress of Earth as he tended the tanks where the aliens appeared, and the charts he made indicated that his world was doomed to destruction. His alien friends could only offer help that seemed worse than the dreaded disaster.
Then he discovered the horror that lived across the galaxy . . .
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Bentley Pub (May 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0837604400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0837604404
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.2 x 5.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,640,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Clifford Simak was raised in Wisconsin, and his science fiction combines galactic scope with nostalgia for the old American Midwest. Way Station (1963) is a fine example of this unlikely mix, and probably his best novel--it won him a Hugo award.

Its hero Enoch Wallace first appears as a mystery man: an impossibly young-looking Civil War veteran, 124 years old and still living in his parents' remote Winconsin farmhouse. Nowadays this building has a glittering, Tardis-like interior, ever since Wallace was recruited by aliens as stationmaster on a minor branch line--not a railway, but Galactic Central's network of matter transmitters carrying passengers between the stars. Earth isn't ready for this secret, and countryman Wallace's best friends are extraterrestrials and ghostly simulations.

When the CIA investigates his reclusive lifestyle, it accidentally stirs up an interstellar diplomatic crisis. Wallace's job, and his place in the countryside he loves, are suddenly threatened. So are his hopes for persuading Galactic Central to step in and halt our accelerating slide towards nuclear war. (The Cuban missile crisis was then recent history.)

All the story threads converge neatly: the rustic lynch mob, the galactics, the CIA, the unhappy ghosts, the local deaf-and-dumb girl who can charm warts and heal butterflies, and the bizarre virtual-reality rifle range built for Wallace by an alien construction team. There are painful losses, victories, and a final note of lonely hope. It's a book of great charm--old-fashioned SF, but timeless rather than dated. --David Langford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Archetypal Simak...a book about substantial ghosts, about loneliness and about the sense of wonder itself...Simak at his very best Brian W. Aldiss --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This would make a lousy hollywood blockbuster. No explosions, no galactic warships, no evil aliens, no shoot outs or car chases, no impressive special effects, no sex.
But it makes a wonderful book.
This is typical Simak at his best - sci-fi in your backyard - in this case literally. Its a gentle tale of an ordinary guy living in an ordinary place who happens to have an extraordinary job - stationmaster for a branch line of an intergalactic matter transmitter highway. The station is in his back room.
If that idea makes you smile then you will love this low-key gentle adventure. I read it first time about 30 years ago, it has stuck in my mind ever since. On re-reading it hasnt lost any of its charm.
I just wish there were more books like this one. It's simple narrative style is full of genuine humanity.
If we ever need a galactic ambassador I hope we can find someone like Enoch Wallace - or even Simak himself. Someone whose home-spun philosophy: that people are people whatever their colour, shape, size and number of eyes is above the petty power mongering that the adversaries in this book epitomise.
Lighten your day by reading something warm and fulfilling. This is a great and timeless little classic.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic of the Old School 1 Jun 2003
Although 'Way Station' is never at the top of "Best SF Novel" polls, it is quite frequently placed somewhere near the top, a quiet classic which every one should read. Simak's story of a man (the odd and fascinating Enoch) from the 19th century taken on by 'Galactic Centre' to run a secret stopping-off point for travellers moving from solar system to solar system is a moving, intelligent, and brilliantly imagined classic. Occasionally the style of the prose feels dated and the 'philosophy' becomes sentimental, but once those brief occasions are accounted for what becomes clear is that 'Way Station' is a novel packed with ideas (both SF and more broadly philosophical) and with a desire to tell a wild and original story. There is soul and passion here (things that are sometimes hard to find) and - crucially - an unfettered appreciation of the amazing and breath-taking potential of science fiction.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enthralling read 18 May 2001
By A Customer
This tells the story of Enoch Wallace, a survivor of the US Civil War, who is now 124 yrs old but looks only 30. His long life is due to the fact that his house has become a 'Way Station' on an intergalactic trade route and his contacts with aliens has enabled his immortality. Aliens stop off at the Way Station on their way to other planets in the galaxy. However, the Way Station is under threat, both from humans on earth (his long life has raised questions) and from political intrigue in the galaxy. The search is on for the mythical 'Talisman' which is supposed to bring peace to all the galaxy.
I enjoyed this book immensely. Although it was written in 1964, it is still relevant today, particularly in exploring the attitudes of men to things they do not understand. The character of Enoch Wallace is well developed and his snapshot view of a galaxy populated with many different aliens is tantalising, leaving one wishing Simak had told us more about them. Definitely one of Simak's best books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Clifford Simak is one of my favourite SF writers, and he manages to make the most unlikely situations seem quite believable and normal. His characters are (almost) always warm and sympathetic, fitting in perfectly with his beautifully depicted landscapes.

Way Station concerns an old farmhouse set in the backwoods of Wisconsin, and the story has resonances from the old Coaching Inns or perhaps Stage Coach watering holes, but the assorted visitors passing through are anything but human. The farmhouse pre-dates the Tardis in being ever so much bigger on the inside than it is externally.

The story is about the hero Enoch Wallace, and the human interaction with the bad, good and great off-worlders, and how eventually our world (perhaps) begins to come to terms with being part of the Universe.

A simple story, deceptively simply told, but it is also a skilfully crafted masterpiece and a Hugo winner. I think it might be Simak's best, but I have several others of his that come close. I've lost track of how many times I've read my paperback copy in the forty years I've owned it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars EBook version littered with errors 2 Oct 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Just purchased the EBook version of Way Station which is one of my favorite stories by a wonderful author. Sadly the EBook (part of Gollancz's new SFGateway project) is littered with typographical errors which make for a disappointing reading experience. So five stars for the story but only one star for the publisher and the new SFGateway project.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Sci-Fi 20 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a great book and if you have not read anything by Simak this is the one to read, the end is a little "silly" but given when it was written it make perfect sense. A true sci fi classic
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5.0 out of 5 stars A sweet inspirational story 12 Mar 2014
By Snue
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the story of a Civil War veteran who is chosen to man a base for intergalactic travellers. He is unable to interact with many Earth citizens, but maintains a friendship with a couple of the local residents in his American rural location as well the various travellers that arrive from space en route to other parts of the galaxy. Set against a background of incipient global warfare, Enoch Wallace would dearly love to share some of the amazing revelations and insights that he has recorded through his extended lifetime. Events unfolding in the galaxy help him to change his view of his future part in the Way Station's importance both to Earth and to a wider sphere of influence.
Gently and humanely written, this story pleases me as much as when I first read it when I was 15 years old-50 years ago! The technology described is surprisingly prescient.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fifty years old, still compelling
Way Station is a gentle book. I could search for a better term but that one seems adequate. Read it and see. The story is austere but draws the reader to the end.
Published 5 months ago by Tamara Petroff
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Scify
One of the great scifi classics. First read many years ago enjoyed reading again. To anyone who is a real fan this is a must read
Published 6 months ago by F. D. Daley
4.0 out of 5 stars Sane, mature, thought-provoking SF from the Golden Age
First published in 1964, "Way Station" is one of Clifford D Simak's best novels - which is saying a lot. Read more
Published 6 months ago by T. D. Welsh
5.0 out of 5 stars Would make a great film.
I read this book as a child 50 years ago. Just re-read as a Kindle book & still love it. I wonder why it hasn't been the basis of a film before now.
Published 6 months ago by Jeffery Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars back to an old favourite
I havent' read sci fi for many years, so when I found this on kindle I thought I would go back to an old favourite. Read more
Published 11 months ago by ellis
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart science-fiction
A middle-aged veteran wanders the farmlands and forests of rural Wisconsin, carrying his antique civil war rifle and musing over his experiences before arriving at his house, an... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Bart Cline
5.0 out of 5 stars Smells good!
I first read this book when I was 20, while in the military service. It was a precious gem patiently waiting for a lucky reader to be found, in the poorly furnished library of the... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Sergi
5.0 out of 5 stars Way Station review
I first read this story years ago and I have yet again finally got round to reading it again. What a story. Very convenient on my kindle as well. Read more
Published 15 months ago by D. Walter
4.0 out of 5 stars A unique SF novel .
I first read this novel in the 1960s , and was surprised to see how well it stood up to the passage of time and how it retains it's appeal and relevance . Read more
Published 17 months ago by William Pringle
5.0 out of 5 stars classicSF
THs is simply my favourite SFnovel (and for forty years) . Clever plot , very nicely worked. Just don't miss it.
Published 18 months ago by Paula Diggle
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