Mark Dewey's Reviews > Way Station

Way Station by Clifford D. Simak
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Jun 25, 10

bookshelves: hardcopy, science-fiction, bookclub
Recommended to Mark by: Jessica
Read from May 28 to June 25, 2010 — I own a copy

This book was fairly good. I liked the premise quite a bit. The mood of the main character is rather nostalgic, lonely and maybe a little depressing. Most of the book is about his coming to terms with his experiences, circumstances/opportunities and choices, and what he will make of them. There are lots of flashbacks. There are moral issues/concerns to think about. It's not an action/thriller, except maybe in one or two short parts. There are a fair amount of new aliens you may not have heard the likes of before—few of them are much like humans. There are a lot of things, too—gifts from the aliens and such.

The way the book is advertised is misleading. It does make it sound like a comedy/thriller. Nothing like what is depicted in the cover art happens in the book: the cover art of my edition has a bunch of giant alien shelled bugs chasing after a frantic-looking lady, and there's some ship or other in the background; the landscape is bleak. There are aliens in the book (not that kind), and there is a lady, but yeah, nothing at all like that. The only landscape that we ever see in the book is a forested area.

The book didn't at all end or progress how I expected. The way things resolved in the end seemed as things newly introduced rather than as something built off of previously established things. It sort of builds off of previous stuff, but not to a degree that seems normal. That was kind of weird for me. Other than that, I liked it fairly well.

It's a short book. It's easy to follow, but it's not particularly fast-paced.

That idea they had to prevent the war was pretty wild (whether or not they used it; I shan't say). I was surprised Enoch even considered it as being potentially better than a war, but then, there were lots of potential consequences that he did not consider.

We never learn directly about the crystals that Enoch sells (i.e. where he gets them), although one could imagine.

I didn't agree with how I perceived that things happened with Enoch and Mary. I mean, is a physical relationship and the knowledge of reality really all that important when everything else is present (including sight and sound—maybe even smell)? But then, Enoch was pretty old (and I suppose Mary, too)—so he (they) might have more insights and experience on what is important to him (them). I don't know. It seemed like they just had attitudes, and not like they were fretting over something that really mattered so much that they took things to the lengths that they did. And, what of the other shadow people? They were worse than Mary, just because they knew they weren't human, but they were made to be like humans. We never learned whether they had a society amongst themselves. (If so, did it really matter that they weren't human?)

Too bad they didn't have something like an intergalactic Internet. That would have helped out tremendously with a lot of the research difficulties and the ignorance about his gifts. Computers in general, actually, could have helped out a lot. I noticed Enoch was keeping his records on paper and ink. (But then, people today still do that.) The methods for the things Enoch did seem as if they would have been quite interesting at the time he wrote the book, but from a modern perspective it looks a little on the manual, non-digital side (which is to be expected I suppose).

I read this for a book club. It should be interesting to discuss.

CONTENT WARNING: This book has some violence and gore (not all throughout—just in one scene).
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Reading Progress

05/28/2010 page 27
14.21%
06/14/2010 page 85
45.0% "Chapter 15."
06/14/2010 page 91
48.0% "Chapter 16."
06/19/2010 page 133
70.0% "Chapter 24."
06/25/2010 page 164
86.0% "Chapter 31."
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