Jonathan Chen's Reviews > Way Station

Way Station by Clifford D. Simak
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's review
Nov 13, 2011

did not like it
Read from November 10 to 12, 2011

It is surprising and this book is a Hugo award winner, and is ranked in the top 100 of all time. A The premise a is somewhat interesting, which I won't repeat here, but Simak does very little with it. The main problem with this novel, as is the case with most science fiction novel, lies in the flat characters and the wooden dialogue. The alien itself, other than having a different physical appearance and penchant for coffee, isn't all that interesting either. The a “big decision ” that has to be made by the narrator (spoiler alert ) is as ridiculous as it is juvenile –the only way to prevent war from taking place is to make the humans “stupid”, in other words, set them back a few generations. The other plot device a, the talisman, makes very little sense also. Incredulously, w are to believe that a this religious artifact, if properly cared for by the right guardian, will bring about intergalactic peace.

The writing itself is also problematic. The Wikipedia entry a states that Simak uses an archaic writing style. As a other reviewers have correctly pointed out, the writing is simply repetitive and dull. It doesn't surprise me at all a that Simak used to be a newspaper writer.

I think sometimes sci-fi writers get a pass for their bad writing because of the good ideas contained in the novels. However, this book disappoints on both fronts. "The Way Station" will surely take a well deserved spot on my list of Top-10 overrated science fiction novels of all time. Off the top of my head, it will take place alongside “Titan," "Red Mars," and “Rendezvous with Rama."


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