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Way Station

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  8,090 ratings  ·  287 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
...more
Paperback, 210 pages
Published 1992 by Collier Books (first published 1963)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nancy
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
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Apatt
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
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Oct 15, 2012 Carol. [All cynic, all the time] rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: classic sci-fi; gentle readers
Recommended to Carol. [All cynic, all the time] 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
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Stephen
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)
Kernos
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.
Adam
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
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
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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
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Tim
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
Quaint.

Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #220.
Ben
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
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
Nathaniel
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
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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
Aili
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
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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
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Cheryl
Simak at his very best - a thoughtful classic, still relevant and enjoyable. Themes of what it means to be human, to be alien, to be spiritual, to be handicapped, to be immortal, to be alone, to be part of a galactic brotherhood, to love, to fear, to seek one's destiny or to accept one's fate... all in 210 pages of a good yarn.

The copy I got from the library doesn't have a jacket, so I'm glad this edition is listed on goodreads with a cover image. It does suit, but implies, perhaps, something a
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Lyn
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. Charming. 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
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Vlad
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
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Keith Davis
A Civil War veteran is recruited by an alien to man a hidden interstellar transportation station on Earth. As long as he stays inside his invulnerable way station he will never age and can enjoy the company of passing alien travelers and the gifts they bring, but he refuses to give up on humanity and continues to interact with the changing world outside his station.
Tony
My first taste of Simak as an author, and a book that I think has held up incredibly well over time. It deals with a man that runs the Earth way station in a great galactic transportation system. He alone knows of its existence. But events unfold to broach the secret. This was just a really fun read, and had some really wonderful, and at times disturbing, concepts in it.
Matt
Inventive as always, Simak thoroughly engages the reader with this intriguing tale. I was first captivated by this story when my father read it to my brother and I as children. I picked it up and re-read years later and found it to be every bit as enjoyable the second time around.
Jared
Often considered Simak's best (I say that honor belongs to "All Flesh is Grass") and is full of the sort of pastoral atmosphere that is so unique to the writer. We definitely could use a science fiction writer to carry on in the tradition of Simak.
James
Reread. Classic. There's something about the unification of past (Civil War), present (sort of), and future (aliens!) in one shack (or shack-like object) and in one lonely man that always moves me. Classic science fiction.
Warren Rochelle
I love this book--often lyrical prose, the intersections between a 19th century man, the 20th century, the aliens, the watchers, the machine that made daydreams become real, the talisman, Lucy.
John Snead
I've read this book several times and find new joy every time I read it. It's clearly a book from a different era, but is absolutely wonderful and I consider it Simak's best work.
Mr_Toad
Simak himself - and this book in particular - was life-changing for a ten year old as I was then. Taught me to trust everyone I meet, even if they look strange eg have tentacles!
John Wohlers
Fantastic story, that holds up VERY well despite the age. Probably one of the best Science Fiction stories I've read.
Pam
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I re-read it every couple of years. It is great!
Sherry
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 30 Oct 27, 2012 04:45PM  
  • The Wanderer
  • A Case of Conscience (After Such Knowledge, #4)
  • They'd Rather Be Right
  • Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
  • This Immortal
  • Rite of Passage
  • Cyteen (Cyteen #1-3)
  • Stand on Zanzibar
  • Man Plus
  • A Time of Changes
  • Dreamsnake
  • No Enemy but Time
  • The Snow Queen (The Snow Queen Cycle, #1)
  • Hominids (Neanderthal Parallax, #1)
  • Double Star
  • On Wings of Song
  • The Mule: From Foundation And Empire
  • Mission of Gravity (Mesklin, #1)
23012
"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)

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clifford...
More about Clifford D. Simak...
City The Goblin Reservation Time and Again All Flesh is Grass Time Is the Simplest Thing

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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.” 11 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.” 3 likes
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