I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.
I loved the charming tone of this story, imparted by the 19th century protagonist, a quiet man entrusted with the upkeep of a Galactic way station. The language used is calm, and refreshingly free of techno-babble, preferring to remain vague on the workings of alien tech. The narration provided by Eric Michael Summerer, is likewise sedate and not given to emotional outburst. The character voices are differentiated nicely with occasional minor accents, but nothing too jarring.
With the exception of perhaps only 2 or 3 scenes, the entire action of the novel takes place in one room of one house, where we learn the secrets kept by the way station keeper, our protagonist Enoch Wallace. The plot's conflict is high-stakes, but resolved rather too quickly and tidily for me. In fact, that leads to my greatest criticism of the story: that the situations, characters, and their motivations are all too altruistic and uncomplicated. Overall, however, I enjoyed this quaint 'palate-cleanser' read, and think it provides just the right amount of wish-fulfillment and wonder.
The audio books I get tend to be either 1) scifi or 2) things for my husband and me to listen to on long road trips--humor or history
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]
This is a great example of a real story. No cussing , no sex, and it's still great! I found it involving and fun.
Would love to listen to more Simak books!
This story illuminates the problem with the space genre. Boring the reader to death leading up to any action at all, then, wam bam thank you ma'am, big let down, the end. The narration was very good. Story was very lackluster. What makes me mad is that the story had such potential to be outstanding. I can just see what happened. Pitched the idea, paid an advance, finished product severely disappoints but what to do? Publish it anyway, maybe someone will think it is art.
this is a classic Sci fi novel, written in the 60's, but still is relevant today. I loved the story and will definitely read more from this author. the story was also told well by the narrator.
I always find it weird when narrators do female voices. It makes all the women in the bookseem like cross dressing men in my head. This book and like that. The narrator differentiated the voices well. The story itself was fantastic.
In a late night, last minute purchase after swiping through book after book, I just said 'screw it, this'll do!'... Turned out to be one of the best SciFi books I've come across, ever. No spoilers - no regrets - click, buy, listen, love! -MAXIMUS
I loved the premise of the story which first interested me. I had held off purchasing due to the time it was written as most of these old sci fi books show their age with the tech they portray but this book did really well and even surprised me with the tech involving his pastime which could be used in a modern day book. Anyhow really enjoyed it and was narrated very well!