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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, gentle, simple, human and timeless
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...
Published on 24 Mar. 2002 by P. R. Rustage

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars EBook version littered with errors
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.
Published on 2 Oct. 2011 by Steven Docker


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, gentle, simple, human and timeless, 24 Mar. 2002
By 
P. R. Rustage - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Science Fiction, but warm and with a twist., 12 Aug. 2009
By 
R. F. Stevens "richard23491" (Ickenham UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle but Brilliant SF, 23 April 2015
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They don't make 'em like they used to" is an apt phrasing fitting many different things, not the least of which is science fiction. Way Station was written in the 1960s, and I can't imagine a book anything like it being written today. I don't think we have anyone like Clifford D Simak writing science fiction today though.

Simak writes 'pastoral sf', a heady mix of technology, philosophy, and a love of backwoods America. He is equally at home describing the beautiful countryside, or the sound of skylarks on a spring day as he is imagining strange aliens, advanced technology and weird science.

Way Station centres around Enoch Wallace, an American Civil War veteran, living in backwoods America, who meets an alien one day and is asked to be the keeper of a Galactic 'waystation' for travellers journeying between the stars. As it is not a part of the Galactic community, Earth is off-limits but is a necessary stopping place (like a rest area service station on the motorway or interstate I guess!) Enoch meets many strange creatures and wonderful things, but keeps his feet firmly on the ground of mother Earth. Things stay this way for more than a century with Enoch barely aging. Eventually though, someone's bound to notice...

Way Station isn't a long book, but fits quite a lot in. We learn a bit about the strange - and some not so strange - aliens that Enoch Wallace meets as they travel through his station, and find out something of what he has learned about the galactic community. We get a bit of philosophical musings, and Enoch's worries about the state of humankind, as Earth teeters on the brink of nuclear war (this was written in the 1960s, so at that time nuclear war was a very real and dangerous threat). Slowly though, Enoch's century of peace and quiet is shattered as a crisis builds both on Earth and out in the galaxy too.

Not everyone will love this book. If you like your science fiction full of nasty aliens with big guns, or hot bosom babes with lots of sex in it, you are going to be sorely disappointed and very bored! But if you like experiencing a sense of wonder, a little adventure and aren't a bit put off by the slightly dated historical backdrop and old fashioned technology, you might just enjoy this. It is a classic of golden age science fiction and well worth the reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Heart science-fiction, 16 July 2013
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 unassuming little cottage in the countryside.

It's a long time since I read this book, and one of the overwhelming impressions that stayed with me was the feeling of being in the countryside. I felt it. The book gave me a memory of the countryside almost as if I'd just been there on vacation, even though the countryside as conjured up in my mind was somewhere I had never been. I cherish that feeling that this and other Simak books gave me. It was something unique in science fiction, at least within the scope of my reading. The rolling hills, the waving fields of grain, the guy in country clothes carrying a rifle and walking his dog, the small town community with its nosy neighbours, and the alien interstellar transport terminus that he hides in his basement. I love the incongruity of it, and that alone would have been enough to sell me on this book.

But there's more. There's the threat of galactic war, and the effect it will have on earth, which again is incongruous with the tranquil setting of the book. There's the interaction he enjoys with the various alien races who briefly stop off in his house, making an incredible counterpoint to the backwoods neighbours he otherwise has to deal with and avoid.

But what I took away most from this book was the aching loneliness of the man who, because of the nature of his work, must conjure up imaginary friends rather than have real friends. It was his relationship with these hologramatic friends that really made me feel for him, which is something I never do with science fiction. My heart ached for the guy.

The conclusion of the matter is that Way Station is a great little vignette of science-fiction, which sees galactic events from a tiny little perspective. But it's this tiny perspective that gives the book its heart and soul, making it a human story. It's a beautiful book.

This book is written for adults, but suitable for children. It's completely inoffensive, sporting no foul language, sex, or even violence. Kids probably wouldn't understand some of its themes. They might find it interesting, or they might find it plodding. It will speak much more powerfully to adults, with their life experience and emotional maturity.

It's not hard science-fiction.

It's heart science-fiction.

Reviewed by the author of Copout.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Smells good!, 6 April 2013
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This review is from: Way Station (Hardcover)
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 barracks. After only a few pages I was enthralled, and its memory has been always with me ever since. Its one of the most exciting and atmospheric sci-fi stories that I've ever read, and when I found that Books Need Homes Too! had a second hand copy, I didn't think twice and bought it. But second hand is in this case a misused word. There's nothing that suggests that this particular volume was owned once, except perhaps by time itself. It's in a superb condition, and it shows of course the obvious marks of aging. Apart from that, I'd never know if someone before me have read it, in the intervening 50 years since it was first published. All the pages are in perfect condition, with no tears, stains, pen/pencil marks or wrinkles. The dust jacket has also miraculously survived time and/or use, taking in account that it's plain white. The binding is as solid as it must have been half a century ago, and although is shows an slight warp in the shape of the spine, that is only natural after the passage of so many years. And the smell... Oh, the smell! If old books have got something that define their magic above any stupid piece of modern technology or hollow entertainment, is the dignified scent of decades-old cellulose. In the case of Way Station, it speaks of its maturity with a fragrance similar to that of a good perfume, or a good wine that has aged well in an oak barrel. When I breath in among its pages, I know that books are magic because they are made by the dreams contained in the human heart. Many thanks Books Need Homes Too!
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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
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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 A Way Station With Real Soul, 6 Aug. 2006
By 
Mr. John Frank Herbert (Greenwich, London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Enoch wallace is a bit of a recluse, living on his farm in Wisconsin, and just happens to run a Way Station for inter-galactic travellers; his reward from the Galacticos is that he is 130 years old but still looks about 30 - he only ages when he leaves the farmhouse.

I must say that I've never read a book quite like this, that had such an incredible effect on me: this very ordinary man is balancing the fate of the Universe in one hand, and the Earth's future in the other, and whilst reading page after magical page, I felt this incredible calmness within myself.

With all the troubles in the World today, and the evil that abounds, Enoch wallace reminds us that somewhere out there there are still people who care, and that humanity's survival indeed depends on such honest souls.

Believe me this book's a permanent fixture in my bookcase, to be read again and again, particularly on those dark depressing days when all the news is bad.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A sweet inspirational story, 12 Mar. 2014
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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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Way Station
Way Station by Clifford Donald Simak (Unknown Binding - 1964)
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