Friday, May 18, 2012

Way Station

Way Station by Clifford D. Simak. This was a throwback novel. Classic SF of the style that I haven't read in almost 20 years (I trend more toward military SF and urban fantasy). It definitely required a context switch but it is interesting to stretch my normal bound.

Enoch Wallace is a Civil War veteran who is living in the contemporary times(circa 1963 for the novel) and has finally attracted the attention of the government due to his lack of aging. Shortly after the the war he is offered the chance to become a station master in an chain of FTL transfer stations for travelers. He effectively is a hermit who has little interaction with society but talks with all the travelers who comes through.

Enoch only ages when he leaves his house, so he is aging at less than 1/24 normal, which is what finally draws the governments attention. There are a couple of threads that combine for a burst of activity toward the end and are fairly well wrapped up by the action. The writing has aged fairly well, and there is even concepts that are quite familiar as SF to modern readers (VR shooting range, aliens not so perfect). It does have some of the common threads of SF of the time (humans bad and immature, aliens superior) that does leave it feeling dated though.

I never read this author before and I found it quite entertaining to be exposed to him, definitely a good insightful book. I can definitely see why it won the Hugo for Best Novel in 1964. And I really cannot help but include this classic cover....

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