Way Station, by Clifford Simak

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Way Station, by Clifford Simak

Post by Omphalos »


I have always loved the flash bang side of SF. I love the futurity of it all, and things like lasers, robots, spaceships and artificial brains figure big into that. I suppose that those were the things that originally interested me in the genre as a child, and it really has never rubbed off, because I still crave it regularly. But that is not all that I love about SF. Since my early 30's I have developed another side to my appreciation, and the softer, more humane stories that I used to eschew now fill my book cases and, I think, dominate these review pages. One of my favorite authors of all time, at least since 1998 - my early 30's - is Clifford Simak. Book-for-book and story-for-story I think that he most of all among all his brethren writers produced the highest concentration of good, literate SF. And while he did not exactly have a unique voice in the genre, he did easily place his imprimatur on everything that he touched. In the next few years I will be getting gradually to the bulk of his short SF - in fact I have already started writing about a few pieces already - but before I do that I thought it would be important to hit upon his two bright, shining masterworks, City, and this week's book, Way Station. City was the story of the indomnibility of the quest for knowledge, if not the human spirit, and a tale about how technology, time and competition can tear apart mankind's aspirations. It was epic in scope; an amazing look at mankind's true place in the universe. Way Station is great deal narrower in scope, but just as powerful in its message. It is the story of a solitary hermit named Enoch Wallace - a Civil War veteran who was given the gift of near immortality in exchange for labor: Specifically job duties as the station-master of a remote stop on an intra-galactic railroad. It is about one man's relationship with himself, his species, and the myriad denizens of the cosmos and the sacrifice that he must prepare himself to make to maintain what he considers to be an important status quo...Please click here, or on the book cover above, to be taken to the complete review..
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)

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