Way Station is a science fiction novel by Clifford Simak, originally published in 1963, across two issues of Galaxy Magazine under the title Here Gather the Stars. It was later published as a single book. The story is about a man named Enoch Wallace who is being investigated by the US government because he appears to be immortal having lived for over a century, yet still appears to be 30. It turns out that Enoch was contacted by aliens shortly after the US Civil War, and was hired to run a newly built way station on Earth which acts as a resting point for alien travelers on their way across the galaxy. Part of running the way station means trying to understand many different alien cultures to accommodate them, but the more difficult part is not letting other humans know about the way station as they become more curious, and fighting his own loneliness from the isolation.
I decided to read this book after seeing it on a list of the best 100 science fiction novels. I finished it on 2018-02-25.
I do not own this book, but I have listened to an audio book recording.
— This section contains spoilers! —
- While it didn't become a favorite, I found the book enjoyable. The idea was unique, the characters were interesting, and the writing was quite competent.
- The various aliens and their non-human outlooks are fun to think about.
- I had predicted the book's ending about halfway through.
- I didn't care much for the inclusion of Mary and David. While I like the idea of holographic life becoming sentient over time, they seemed unrelated to the over all plot.