Way Station (novel)
1964 Macfadden Edition cover
|Author||Clifford D. Simak|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
Way Station is a 1963 science fiction novel by Clifford D. Simak, originally published as Here Gather the Stars in two parts in Galaxy Magazine in June and August 1963. Way Station won the 1964 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
Enoch Wallace, an American Civil War veteran, is chosen by an alien called Ulysses to administer a way station for interplanetary travel. Wallace is the only human being who knows of the existence of these aliens, until almost a hundred years later, when the US government becomes aware of and suspicious about his failure to age or die. Factions in the galactic federation want to close off development of Earth's entire arm of the galaxy to concentrate resources elsewhere, and the government's stealing the body of a dead alien gives them impetus to push forward, while the loss of an artifact giving contact with the spirit of the universe causes galactic civilization to begin to fray.
The novel has a number of seemingly disconnected subplots that are not resolved until the conclusion of the book. One such subplot is related to the fact that the government is very interested in Enoch and spies on him for an indeterminate time. Enoch's closest neighbors are an asocial and coarse hillbilly family whose daughter is a deaf mute. She heals warts, birds and butterflies and is the total antithesis of her clan. By adopting an alien math, Enoch is able to compute that the world will go to war and eventual nuclear suicide. Strangely, Enoch has a gun he never uses except in an elaborate hunting simulation. Enoch's ghostly support system, which he created years ago, collapses on him during the course of the novel. Finally, Enoch is left with the choice of allowing the Earth to destroy itself in war or call down a galaxy sponsored "dumbing down" that would last for generations but avert the looming war.
The book addresses the Cold War and basic human drives towards violence and peace from a science fiction perspective.
Awards and nominations
- Way Station won the 1964 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
- Way Station placed 27th in the 1966 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll
- Way Station placed in a tie for 25th (with Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke) in the 1987 Locus All-Time Poll
- Way Station placed 31st in the 1998 Locus All-Time Poll
Film, TV or theatrical adaptations
- "Worlds Without End 1964 Hugo list". Retrieved 2011-04-28.
- "The Locus Index to SF Awards: 1966 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll". Retrieved 2008-05-17.
- "The Locus Index to SF Awards: 1987 Locus All-Time Poll". Retrieved 2008-05-17.
- "The Locus Index to SF Awards: 1998 Locus All-Time Poll". Retrieved 2008-05-17.
- Morfoot, Addie (2004-12-04). "Revelstone goes to 'Way Station'". Variety. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
- Horton, Rich (2001). "Featured Review: Way Station, Clifford D. Simak". SF Site. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
- Jordison, Sam (March 3, 2009). "Clifford D Simak: sci-fi in the countryside". Books Blog (The Guardian). Retrieved January 25, 2011.
- Wimmer, Josh (February 27, 2010). "Clifford Simak's Way Station: A Place to Move On From". io9. Retrieved January 25, 2011.