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Way Station (1963)

de Clifford D. Simak

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MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
2,481785,926 (3.92)189
Hugo Award Winner: In backwoods Wisconsin, an ageless hermit welcomes alien visitors--and foresees the end of humanity . . . Enoch Wallace is not like other humans. Living a secluded life in the backwoods of Wisconsin, he carries a nineteenth-century rifle and never seems to age--a fact that has recently caught the attention of prying government eyes. The truth is, Enoch is the last surviving veteran of the American Civil War and, for close to a century, he has operated a secret way station for aliens passing through on journeys to other stars. But the gifts of knowledge and immortality that his intergalactic guests have bestowed upon him are proving to be a nightmarish burden, for they have opened Enoch's eyes to humanity's impending destruction. Still, one final hope remains for the human race . . . though the cure could ultimately prove more terrible than the disease.   Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel, Way Station is a magnificent example of the fine art of science fiction as practiced by a revered Grand Master. A cautionary tale that is at once ingenious, evocative, and compassionately human, it brilliantly supports the contention of the late, great Robert A. Heinlein that "to read science-fiction is to read Simak."  … (més)
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» Mira també 189 mencions

Anglès (71)  Finès (2)  Italià (2)  Castellà (1)  Txec (1)  Totes les llengües (77)
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Story: 8.0 / 10
Characters: 9
Setting: 7.5
Prose: 9 ( )
  MXMLLN | Jan 12, 2024 |
First, it is a page turner! That era of sci fi authors were really good at producing stuff that was easy to read and made you want to keep reading, even when the content was pretty unoriginal.

I guess for me I did enjoy it but it feels pretty lightweight of a book - the engagement with the ideas he brings up just feels very limited, mostly asking a few questions but not really working it through. There's a small strange diversion about "shadow people" which are like... Avatars he made up using magic? That he talks to to stop being lonely? It was the only engagement with the obvious issue of loneliness but it was really bizarre - it felt like excerpts from a story on a totally different theme. And then there's a magical deaf-mute girl - yes, literally magical - whose ending point is very obvious when another magical thing is introduced. She is unable to communicate or be communicated with outside of rudimentary gestures, which makes the tropey use of a magical disabled character feel that much more uncomfortable than it already does.

Like, there is a lot of potential with "guy manning an interstellar waystation" but it just doesn't feel like it goes past that. The galactic council is only sketched out but I kept getting hung up on how weird the whole system of transport was (like, there seems to be what, maybe 1 being a day going through his waystation, on average? Which suggests this is a super luxury, expensive thing. But there's just casual people going through to a random festival. But the way the routes are described means you'd think a *lot* of people would have to go through to this same festival. But they don't! It feels like the author didn't think through the scale at all, which I realise sounds daft, but... idk it bugged me). There's some stuff brought up about the weird emotions of being an alien to humans and a human to aliens and where he feels he belongs but there's minimal follow through - it feels like the author just couldn't handle the complexity of emotions and was reduced to just gesturing at the concept. And the ending is just daft.

Like, overall I enjoyed my time with it, but I'm not sure that I'd ever recommend it over any other sci fi book from the era because it doesn't really deliver on ideas or literaryness ( )
  tombomp | Oct 31, 2023 |
I had fond memories of Way Station, but it has not aged well, or perhaps more accurately, SF has matured a lot in 60 years. To its credit, this jumps right into the central idea -- one human running a way station for alien travelers passing through on their way to a big universe Earth is not part of. And it tries to get away from the pulp adventure Simak arose from. But in its place is endless navel gazing, a much too neat and not credible plot resolution that is obvious long before the end, and a denouement that seems forced in the extreme.

Disappointing. ( )
  ChrisRiesbeck | Oct 26, 2023 |
I first read this in the late 1970s and loved it for a charming, pastoral delivery of a SF Contact novel. I just reread it for the first time since then and I'm again amazed at Simak's understated complexity. This really is a gently- and clearly-told rural fable of a man given extended life in the hills of Wisconsin to operate a cloaked interstellar transfer point; it is also a rumination on individual and species maturity and responsibility. The Cold War drama that lurks offstage in the original telling now can reflect the ideological crises in the US and world at large in 2021; are we mature enough taken singly or as a whole to survive, let alone participate in a star-spanning civilization?

Adding both great nuance and strength to this is the slowly-revealed crisis ongoing within that greater civilization; Ulysses, the ET contact, seems to wonder if they as a whole are mature enough to survive as a civilization. There is also a minor sub-plot involving some characters that appear to be Constructs of Enoch's and what occurs (in my interpretation) represents all the fancies and conceits one must let go of to move on. Kids can't keep believing in Santa Claus, Enoch has to release his creations, and mankind will have to give up some closely-held but ultimately fruitless passions as well: perhaps notions of race or socioeconomic superiority.

Read this, but read it more slowly that you might given the easy way it's told. This is Simak's best novel because it still carries that weight in its pages. ( )
1 vota MLShaw | Apr 17, 2023 |
Considerada un clásico de la ciencia ficción, esta novela nos aproxima casi con misticismo a un futuro de hermandad entre los seres humanos, reivindicando la igualdad y denunciando la absurda tendencia humana hacia la violencia y la guerra. Mediante una prosa de exquisita sencillez, Simak teje una trama de suma actualidad que aúna hondura psicológica, acción, filosofía y optimismo, para liberarnos de encorsetamientos y prejuicios mentales.
  Natt90 | Mar 9, 2023 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Clifford D. Simakautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Baumann, JillAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Faragasso, JackAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Moore, ChrisAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Summerer, Eric MichaelNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Van Dongen, H. R.Autor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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The noise was ended now. The smoke drifted like thin, gray wisps of fog above the tortured earth and the shattered fences and the peach trees that had been whittled into toothpicks by the cannon fire. For a moment silence, if not peace, fell upon those few square miles of ground where just a while before men had screamed and torn at one another in the frenzy of old hate and had contended in an ancient striving and then had fallen apart, exhausted.
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Here lies one from a distant star, but the soil is not alien to him, for in death he belongs to the universe.
Somewhere, he thought, on the long backtrack of history, the human race had accepted an insanity for a principle and had persisted in it until today that insanity-turned-principle stood ready to wipe out, if not the race itself, at least all of those things, both material and immaterial, that had been fashioned as symbols of humanity through many hard-won centuries.
Could it be, he wondered, that the goldenness was the Hazers' life force and that they wore it like a cloak, as a sort of over-all disguise? Did they wear that life force on the outside of them while all other creatures wore it on the inside?
...the Earth was now on galactic charts, a way station for many different peoples traveling star to star. An inn...a stopping place, a galactic crossroads.
...on the other side of the room stood the intricate mass of machinery, reaching well up into the open second storey, that wafted passengers through the space from star to star.
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Hugo Award Winner: In backwoods Wisconsin, an ageless hermit welcomes alien visitors--and foresees the end of humanity . . . Enoch Wallace is not like other humans. Living a secluded life in the backwoods of Wisconsin, he carries a nineteenth-century rifle and never seems to age--a fact that has recently caught the attention of prying government eyes. The truth is, Enoch is the last surviving veteran of the American Civil War and, for close to a century, he has operated a secret way station for aliens passing through on journeys to other stars. But the gifts of knowledge and immortality that his intergalactic guests have bestowed upon him are proving to be a nightmarish burden, for they have opened Enoch's eyes to humanity's impending destruction. Still, one final hope remains for the human race . . . though the cure could ultimately prove more terrible than the disease.   Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel, Way Station is a magnificent example of the fine art of science fiction as practiced by a revered Grand Master. A cautionary tale that is at once ingenious, evocative, and compassionately human, it brilliantly supports the contention of the late, great Robert A. Heinlein that "to read science-fiction is to read Simak."  

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