Review: Way Station by Clifford D. Simak

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B Reviews / B Reviews Category / Book Reviews / 3 Comments

Enoch Wallace is an ageless hermit, striding across his untended farm as he has done for over a century, still carrying the gun with which he had served in the Civil War. But what his neighbors must never know is that, inside his unchanging house, he meets with a host of unimaginable friends from the farthest stars.

More than a hundred years before, an alien named Ulysses had recruited Enoch as the keeper of Earth’s only galactic transfer station. Now, as Enoch studies the progress of Earth and tends the tanks where the aliens appear, the charts he made indicate his world is doomed to destruction. His alien friends can only offer help that seems worse than the dreaded disaster. Then he discovers the horror that lies across the galaxy…


Dear Readers,

I often enjoy reading science fiction from its Golden Age and knowing that this book was a Hugo Winner in 1964 increased my desire to read it when I heard a recommendation from a book tube blogger I enjoy.

I liked it and respected it quite a bit, but it did not knock my socks off AND I know the main reason it did not knock my socks off! It is not a fair reason at all, but it is not as if it happened on purpose. See I am a big fan of the Ilona Andrews’ writing duo and I now strongly suspect (don’t know for sure of course) that their Innkeeper series main premise took its inspiration from this book.

Obviously this book was first, and of course Simak deserves all the credit for coming up with the idea of galactic transfer station old Earth. But Andrews developed it so much more with the premises of Inkeepers as a profession, their Houses being alive, so many fun alien beings and all the adventures. Anyway, now unfortunately this story pales in my mind in comparison to those series through no fault of its own!

I really liked the description of the alien travel here; it may have been quite new for its time I think. It was interesting and the main character was wonderful. I thought the writer described his struggles really well. I also think that author showed Enoch as someone who is older despite not physically aging while he is inside the house. I liked it much better than what I find in some fantasy romance stories when the character is presumably hundreds years of age (part of the reason why I almost stopped reading about vampires) and the thoughts they have are of the young people in their twenties.

Not here. Enoch is very curious about the world around him and his Guests and the Galaxy he got exposed too, thats why he reads as a dynamic character, but he very much remembers his past and things that changed or not changed. I thought his story was well done.

Now, the blurb if you ask me gives enough spoilers already – I feel like the main premise should not have been spoiled, so I am going to try scratching my head about another character without giving too many spoilers. There is a young woman there, who cannot speak or hear and she ends up having a good ending as a character, but she also ends up being very VERY special and I just don’t know about that. I think her disability and her being special was too connected if that makes sense.

Also, and I know I keep talking about other things in this review rather than the book, but hopefully it is at least somewhat connected to the book. Some of you may remember the Hugo related squabbles few years ago and the arguments that science fiction of the past was not progressive or something, did not discuss the political issues of the days it was written in or something.

I take it they did not mean this book when they were making those arguments.

Grade: B

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Sirius started reading books when she was four and reading and discussing books is still her favorite hobby. One of her very favorite gay romances is Tamara Allen’s Whistling in the Dark. In fact, she loves every book written by Tamara Allen. Amongst her other favorite romance writers are Ginn Hale, Nicole Kimberling, Josephine Myles, Taylor V. Donovan and many others. Sirius’ other favorite genres are scifi, mystery and Russian classics. Sirius also loves travelling, watching movies and long slow walks.

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