Way Station

Monday, July 2, 2012




Way Station (AKA Here Gather the Stars)
Clifford D. Simak, 1963

Hugo Winner - 1964

Premise: Enoch is a solitary man. He lives alone, deep in the countryside. His only visible errand is to meet the mailman every day. He is over 120 years old. When a federal investigation conflicts with Enoch's actual job, on his shoulders may fall the fate of the world.

This was a fairly lovely little book. Enoch runs a way station for interstellar travellers. Quite a bit of the book is recollections of different beings he's met and things he's learned from them.

He keeps records of everything he learns, even though he can't share any of it with the rest of humanity - not yet anyway.

The larger plot is a quick series of unintended intersections between forces on Earth and plotting factions in the Galactic Federation. The fallout endangers both the existence of the Way Station and Earth's future opportunity to join the wider galaxy.

It's fundamentally a pretty optimistic book, but it doesn't shy away from examining the human propensity toward violence and intolerance. There are some mystical elements that are handled well at first, but the plot does get a bit stuck on deus ex machina by the end.

Enoch's character is interesting: he's caught between his loyalty to humanity and his facsination with and belief in the wonders the Way Station brings him.

I enjoyed the read, although it's such a small quiet book, I'm not surprised it fell somewhat into obscurity.

3 Stars - A Good Book


List of Hugo Winners

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