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Way Station

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  8,962 ratings  ·  329 reviews
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 h
Paperback, 210 pages
Published 1992 by Collier Books (first published January 1st 1963)
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Community Reviews

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This spare little story is set in a small Wisconsin town. Despite the pastoral setting and the narrow-minded, clannish inhabitants of the town, Enoch Wallace, keeper of an intergalactic transport system known as the Way Station, is a very likeable and open character.

This wonderful, thought-provoking book is a fast and easy read. There is no action, no alien battles in the stars, no government agents surrounding the Way Station and bundling Enoch off in an unmarked van. Way Station is a very quie
The first science fiction book I have ever read was All Flesh Is Grass by Clifford D. Simak. I was so astonished and entertained that I immediately looked for more sf to read and to this day I still prefer reading sf than any other form of fiction. Yes, I should broaden my horizon and read more literary fiction or classics which I do from time to time but I will always favor sf. So I owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Simak for helping me find my reading comfort zone. Any way, All Flesh Is Grass is ...more
Oct 15, 2012 Carol. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: classic sci-fi; gentle readers
Recommended to Carol. by: I have no idea, but thank you!

Four paragraphs:

"And there she sat, with the wild red and gold of the butterfly poised upon her finger, with the sense of alertness and expectancy and, perhaps, accomplishment shining on her face. She was alive, thought Enoch, as no other thing he knew had ever been alive. The butterfly spread its wings and floated off her finger and went fluttering, unconcerned, unfrightened, up across the wild grass and the goldenrod of the field."

"They would say he was a madman; that he had run them off at gu
Way Station by Clifford Simak is a very good, classic science fiction yarn.

A bit dated, just a little and not hurtfully so, similar to a more modern language than that used by Edgar Rice Burroughs.


A great mix of hard science fiction and the softer social sciences cousin of the genre; like Heinlein, without the sexual aggression and with an almost Bradburyesque idyllic sentimentality. Way Station was first published in 1963 and won the Hugo Award for best Novel in 1964. This was certa
4.0 to 4.5 stars. Clifford Simak deserves to be remembered along side the giants of Science Fiction writers. His unique blend of pastoral settings, "middle America" characters and deeply emotional plots that explore important questions about the human condition is something special and places him firmly within the "must read" category. This is arguably his finest novel (along with the excellent City) and I highly recommend it.

Winner: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1964)
A thought provoking, Hugo award winning novel by a Grand Master of science fiction, this novels harkens to the Golden Age of SF. It is a terse, third person exploration of what to means to be human and alienated at the same time. Reading this for the 1st in my autumn years, it brings back the need to escape from Earth and from the adolescent that is mankind. I am left full of if onlys. Tis not your typical SF from any period.
Predivna knjiga puna finih ideja koje nisu često korišćene. Interesantni likovi, priča koja drži pažnju i što je najbitnije iako stara knjiga nema klišea ili sličnih gluposti i stvarno se nema ideja kako će se priča završiti ili šta će se sledeće desiti.

Po meni pravi klasik SF-a i nešto što bi trebalo svako da pročita.
Oct 20, 2010 Adam rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Adam by: Alex Hiatt
Shelves: science-fiction
Way Station is an exceedingly charming science fiction story. Enoch Wallace, the protagonist, is a very earnest, endearing character made eccentric and quite wise by years spent alone or in the company of traveling aliens. Finishing the book, I was left most strongly with this impression of Enoch's character. There are several other levels on which this book is brilliant. It is not, as I was led to believe by a miscommunication, a mere exposition of Enoch's unique character and situation. It is ...more
Enoch Wallace es el guardián de una casa algo especial que permite el paso de viajeros de otras partes de la galaxia en dirección a sus destinos. Como muchas novelas de esta época (1963) tiene muy presente las tensiones generadas por la guerra fría y sus posibles consecuencias. A lo largo del texto encontramos reflexiones sobre la guerra, sobre el hombre y su posición en el Universo, lo insignificante de las diferencias humanas comparadas con ese algo superior que el autor denomina conocimi
A true classic of the genre. This is the best Simak novel I have read so far. It has its faults, there were a few wonky items such as characters that ought been further developed and some hastily thought out solutions to crisis, but those aside, there is here some of the most beautifully passages ever written by Simak. The very idea of a civil war vet being selected by an alien to man a way station on earth for travellers traversing between the stars is as charming as it sounds.

"Way Station" won
The book is touted as a sci-fi classic, which is what initially drew my interest. It's important to take the date of authorship into consideration when reading the book, since sci-fi typically betrays the imprint of the author's own socio-cultural moment. But the book has aged well and hold its own fairly well against more recent works. Sci-fi at its best raises important questions about ethics and the nature and destiny of humankind, and Way Station is no exception. It's a hopeful book, not wit ...more
Karen Mardahl
This is one of the freshest SciFi books I have read in some time, and it is a 52-year-old story! The entire concept of the way station was a brilliant construction, I thought. Then, the character of Enoch Wallace is added, and the story comes to life. I listened to the audiobook and found the narrator, Erik Michael Summerer, to be perfect. The listening was pleasurable, and the story really caught my imagination. I really liked the descriptions of other worlds and other beings. Enoch Wallace had ...more
More than once, I have read an author's most celebrated work only to consider it their weakest. At the same time, I understood why it attained its popularity. Simak's Way Station is unfortunately another such book.

It starts off with a typically imaginative scenario by the science fiction great; Enoch Wallace is a 140 year-old who fought in the Civil War, but has the appearance of a man of 30. That's because his house is a rest stop/way station for intergalactic travelers, and inside of it, he d
Amy Sturgis
What a beautifully wrought story. Simak's story about a U.S. Civil War veteran who seems to live a prolonged hermit's existence in the house his parents built in rural Wisconsin, but in fact manages a busy way station for intergalactic travelers, is deceptively cozy and simple on its surface. Yet in his gentle, pastoral narrative, Simak couches a serious meditation on war and human frailty. My tastes usually run darker, to the dystopian and apocalyptic, and yet I found myself welcoming Simak's q ...more
I consider myself an avid sci-fi fan, but I had never heard of Clifford D. Simak before I decided to read every novel to win the Hugo award. This novel took the prize in 1964, but it turns out Clifford had novels nominated for consideration in 1962, 1969, 1973 and 1988. He was the third Grand Master of science fiction. And yet: I'd never heard of him.

It's really sort of sad--and quite sobering as an aspiring author--to realize how quickly you can be forgotten even by those in your own genre and
Julie Davis
Rereading this for A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast, where Scott and I will be discussing it next week.

Here's what I said when I named it among my top fiction for 2009:
From SFFaudio's review: This story spans more than a century, but most of the ‘action’ takes place in the middle of the 20th century, over a couple of months. See, a friendly alien recruited Enoch Wallace to become something of a galactic station master shortly after the American Civil War. Now, with his neighbors generally ac
Clark Hallman
Way Station (1963), by Clifford D. Simak, is one of the classic science fiction novels that all fans should read. It is a well-written and very enjoyable novel, which won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1964. Enoch Wallace, a Civil War Veteran, was chosen to be the keeper of a way station on Earth for interplanetary travel by aliens. He has been administering the way station for about 100 years or so, which has prevented him from having much of a human life on Earth, except for daily walks to m ...more
Fungus Gnat
Not long after the Civil War, Enoch Wallace, who fought in it, is approached by a space alien to serve as the custodian of a way station (his house) for interstellar travelers from a variety of alien races. Now, almost a century later, Enoch’s pleasant existence is threatened by neighbors and intelligence agents who wonder at his reclusive existence and his failure to age like everyone else.

With the exception of a few of the book’s short chapters in the early going, the story is told entirely f
Another in my gleefully rediscovered "S-F from the 70's" collection. This one, like most of them, does not dissapoint, a clever tale of a Civil War fellow who seems to be living a very long time, and whose cabin has become a Way Station for a great number of aliens going hither and yon in the Galaxy. But it's more complex than that, with a befriended alien named Ulysses, meticulous journals, a woodcarving mailman, a deaf-mute woman who is MUCH more than she appears, a Talisman and world/galactic ...more
Luke Burrage

Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #220.
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I re-read it every couple of years. It is great!
Stephen Goldin
I always wanted to be the guardian of the way station.
This book was amazing and made a good change of pace from epic, gritty, or intricate science fiction. This is the "bottle show" of the science fiction world. Set on 1960s Earth* (and written on 1960s Earth*) it is about a civil war veteran (not the grizzled type though, or, if he ever was, it has long smoothed over into a man full of wonder and love of life) who mans an interplanetary stopover station. This is the story of the upsetting of his routine.

I enjoyed the sense of wonder and the warm,
Many readers consider Way Station to be Simak's best book. After all, it beat the much more popular Dune in the Hugo awards for 1964. While I prefer City, I still think Way Station is a marvelous merging of science fiction and subtlety. Again, the setting is Simak's much beloved rural Wisconsin. Enoch Wallace is manning a way station on Earth for galactic civilizations yet Earth is still oblivious to their presence. The fact that Wallace hasn't aged for a hundred years does nothing to hide certa ...more
My first Simak novel I was quite impressed. The first half of the book is setting up the situation, back story and character. The plot only begins to unfold in the second half.

The book culminates in a global and (unbeknownst to the rest of humanity) a galactic crisis at which the protagonist Enoch Wallace finds himself the centre of.

Enoch single handedly mans a way station on a galactic highway in which a galactic confedation of alien beings traverse at faster than light speeds, that have techno
Don't get me wrong -- I really enjoyed this book. But since City, also by Clifford Simak, is one of my favorite, favorite books of all time, I was unfortunately comparing it. And Way Station, though it has an awesome premise and a psychologically complex main character, unfortunately falters in the narrative department about halfway through the book and never quite recovers.

Short version: a soldier in the American Civil War comes home to Wisconsin and is randomly tapped to secretly run a transpo
I "read" this as an audio book and will remember it as a great story. The premise is simple (aliens build a stop-over station on Earth to facilitate galactic travel and find a man to run it), but Simak manages to build a very large universe around a small corner of rural Wisconsin. His descriptions of the aliens and their gifts are fascinating, and I love the attention he pays to detail of the natural world. While the medium of sound did draw my attention to a few flaws in the styling--especiall ...more
Andrea Bampi
Letto tutto d'un fiato, in spiaggia, questa perla di Simak mi ha riconciliato con la SF dopo diverse mezze delusioni. Prosa elegante, trama ben congegnata, personaggi vividi, flusso narrativo coerente, pensato, appagante; e soprattutto, una pletora di idee originali e di immagini evocative, sparate una dietro l'altra, senza risparmio (brutto vizio di molti altri autori),
Simak è più che meritatamente uno dei Big assoluti della SF di tutti i tempi, e VA letto, stop.
Non me la sento di dare 5 stelle
Charles Dee Mitchell
Of my recent forays into mid-century sf, this has been the most disappointing. There's a deadening, earnest tone to the writing that I actually remember from reading sf magazines as an adolescent. There is no irony and not a scrap of humor. When Simak describes nature he gets a little woozy. When he strives for a sense of the cosmic, he ends up sounding like the ponderous narration to some film you might have been shown in social studies class. The common theme to the few books from period I hav ...more
This little science fiction classic was enjoyable and I'm not sure why I only gave it 3 stars. Maybe it was because I quickly figured out the ending and was sorry there wasn't more development. Or maybe I just got a little tired of Enoch Wallace philosophizing with himself. That being said, this was a good story that discussed some lofty ideas like what is home, what potential do humans have, what does it mean to be human. The language was clear and concise and the characters of Enoch Wallace th ...more
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Non-SF Recommendations for Way Station? 3 32 Oct 27, 2012 04:45PM  
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  • The Wanderer
  • A Case of Conscience (After Such Knowledge, #4)
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  • This Immortal
  • Rite of Passage
  • Dreamsnake
  • Double Star
  • A Time of Changes
  • The Snow Queen (The Snow Queen Cycle, #1)
  • Downbelow Station (The Company Wars, #1)
  • The Mule: From Foundation And Empire
  • Man Plus
  • To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Riverworld, #1)
  • Stand on Zanzibar
  • No Enemy but Time
  • On Wings of Song
  • The Terminal Experiment
"He was honored by fans with three Hugo awards and by colleagues with one Nebula award and was named the third Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) in 1977." (Wikipedia)

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“Here lies one from a distant star, but the soil is not alien to him, for in death he belongs to the universe.” 15 likes
“That was the way with Man; it had always been that way. He had carried terror with him. And the thing he was afraid of had always been himself.” 4 likes
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