A great story, dated in a technological sense but very original in its concept. I enjoyed it from beggining to end. The story is never dull, always something happening to draw you further along the path to the end of the book.
Yes because I like science fiction and time/light speed travel tales and this one fits the bill.
Hopscotch by Neal Stephenson perhaps. Because of the material, not the detail or imagination.
As with any good narrator, he has a greater repertoire of voices than I could conjour up in my own mind.
It was a good listen but it didn't move me to tears or laughter.
I'd give this 3.5 stars, rounding up to 4. I used to love golden age sci-fi, but for me, most of it just doesn't hold up today. This was my first Simak novel. I enjoyed the writing and the story, and I can understand why it was a Hugo winner -- in 1964. I wonder how much this novel influenced the writers of Star Trek. Today, of course, four decades later, the interstellar federation which Earth is just on the verge of being ready to join has been done and done and done in every possible variation, so Simak's vision seems a little quaint. Apparently he was known as one of the more optimistic sci-fi writers, and that's apparent here; most of the conflicts are intellectual rather than violent, and the ETs are more alien in form than in manner. It all takes place in a homey backwoods setting and the resolution involves all the species of the galaxy recognizing their spiritual oneness so... yes, a pleasant story, but not a particularly challenging or mindbending one.
I didn't particularly like the narration; Summerer keeps adding a laugh or a chuckle or a baffled/astonished pause to the characters' voices, which I think substantially changed the tone of some of the dialog from the way it reads in print.
Social Scientist and Researcher; mostly retired but conducting longitudinal research into social issues especially the media and social networking. Avid SF and alternative history fan; enjoy a good crime yarn and have become something of an addict for audiobooks.
I grew up with the science fiction authors Robert Heinlein, Eric Frank Russell and Cliff Simak. Way Station won a Hugo award and arguably, it is amongst Simak's greatest works. Without revealing too much of the plot, a US Civil War veteran is orphaned on a farm and starts to receive strange visitors. As the years pass, he doesn't grow any older and this arouses a certain amount of hostility in the local community. The way station of the title is the farmhouse of Enoch Wallace, the keeper, who is a very human character and whose interaction with citizens of the galaxy, is more comfortable than that which is the price he pays for being human but seemingly immortal. When the crisis comes, Cliff Simak's belief in the good in people comes to the fore and we are richer for the telling of the tale.
I have very fond memories of Way Station. It was one of the first "hard" science fiction stories I read as a teenager and it opened up the possibilities of the genre for me. I was captivated by the ideas in the book and it sent me on a journey through the world of science fiction that I have never abandoned. Nevertheless, I was disappointed listening to this, much as I was eight years ago when I checked it out of a local library. The story presents some fascinating ideas and conflicts as you would expect in a winner of a Hugo Award. But Simak really does not do a very credible job of developing the ideas and resolving the conflicts. In particular, his handling of the conflict with the government is unbelievable, even for someone who was writing during a time when the government was viewed much less critically. Unlike some others, I liked the narrator and it is worth a listen. But, if I am honest with myself, and rating it as if I was approaching it for the first time, it is not a five star story.
It is an older book (I read it decades ago), and it does not hold up as well as many others (such as, for example, The Forever War). Simak ultimately is an optimist, and perhaps such optimism seems particularly naive today. But the coincidences needed to resolve the central story are just too far-fetched.
I enjoyed this audiobook so much that I've listened to it twice (a rare thing for me to do). I loved the main character who has a sort of haunted quality, if it's possible for one to be haunted by one's own past. Has to be one of the best Sci-Fi books I've listened to. A timeless classic.
I work full time in Financial Services, teach part time, listen to music (a lot) and love Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction.
I would. This is a quiet book filled with some big ideas. Most of the action occurs internally, so in many ways this is both a psychological and anthropological view of man and his place in the world/universe. I loved this book and cannot believe that I never read it before. I am glad I did.
In tone, but not subject matter it reminded me of the works of Ursula LeGuin, particularly The Dispossessed. Different subject matter entirely, but a quiet story where the action takes place within the characters and their relationship to society.
It also reminded me of some early Asimov and Ray Bradbury. This is an optimistic book and harkens back to an era when Sci Fi was optimistic as well.
He did a great job. He let he story unfold without hurrying and let Enoch speak in a contemplative manner that suited him perfectly/
"Movies Stink Read the Book"
Seriously .... this is a very well written book. Simak was a journalist by trade and it shows. The story is uncomplicated but it suites the simple nature of the protagonist and his situation. It reminded me of older Sci Fi that was written for the story itself. Devoid of fighting, hyperbolic action the story serves the intent of the narrative arch. This is not an action packed, page turner; it is a simple rumination on the human spirit.
I have to give Audible credit, they continue to release books that are not only popular, but speak to the rich history of Science Ficiton. I consider this book to be foundation to any fan or amateur student of the genre. Highly recommend.
The ethical and philosophical considerations raised by Simak. This is a gentle book that manages to encompass human frailty, war and a multi-pointed view of what it means to say "alien" in a very, to me, successful fashion.
It would be easy to say Enoch was my favorite, but truthfully I found all the characters engaging and interesting. Some of the aliens were more human than some of the earthlings!
No...I find breaks to think about the story very pleasant.
I like this book. I think it stands the test of time better than many science fiction books of that period because of the strong characters.
The narration worked very well. Enoch's voice was well realized, I think. I recommend the story and the production.
Science fiction comes in many guises. Way Station is a less common variety, for the entire novel takes place on Earth, very few aliens are involved and there are no big space battles. However, what it lacks in those areas, it makes up for in ideas. The main character is the only human alive who knows that a panoply of inhabited planets exists, trading with each other and co-inhabiting the galaxy in (relative) peace. As the caretaker of a hidden portal that just happens to be located on Earth, he has lots of time between alien arrivals and departures to ruminate on the state of Planet Earth. Brought up on a farm, he is in tune with nature and takes walks every day during which he marvels again and again at the beauty and wonder of the living things around him. But he also has occasion to wonder at the violence of human beings, both as individuals and as nations. When mutual nuclear annihilation of humanity grows from a threat to a virtual certainty, our hero asks his alien overseers for advice and the option they offer is a chillingly final solution.
The parts of the book that describe the natural world are lyrically written, some of the most beautiful passages I have ever read describing our planet. The science fiction parts are not as detailed, for instance, there is practically no attempt to explain how the transportation device works…it might as well be magic, as far as the protagonist knows. And we see very little of the alien life that seems to be teeming all around our corner of the galaxy. The ending is a bit obvious, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a very good example of idea-based scifi.
As I read this novel, originally published in 1963, I couldn’t help thinking about the social and political realities that were whipping up the globe at the time—the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War are obviously weighing heavily on Simak’s mind. But the book also was an influencer. I couldn’t shake the idea that it must have influenced Gene Roddenberry as he was developing his ideas for Star Trek, primarily the Federation of Planets and transporters. There’s also a great description of something that any Trekkie would immediately identify as a holodeck, and which anticipates today’s first-person shooter video and online games. All of which makes this a good read, even 50 years after it first saw print. [I listened to this as an audio book narrated by Eric Michael Summerer]