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Encyclopedia > Way Station
Way Station

1964 Macfadden Edition cover
Author Clifford D. Simak
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Science Fiction
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date 1963
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 of 1963. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Clifford Donald Simak ( August 3, 1904 - April 25, 1988) was an American science fiction author. ... In political geography and international politics, a country is a political division of a geographical entity, a sovereign territory, most commonly associated with the notions of state or nation and government. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... A publisher is a person or entity which engages in the act of publishing. ... Doubleday is one of the largest book publishing companies in the world. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... ISBN-13 represented as EAN-13 bar code (in this case ISBN 978-3-16-148410-0) The International Standard Book Number, ISBN, is a unique[1] commercial book identifier barcode. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative, typically in prose. ... Clifford Donald Simak ( August 3, 1904 - April 25, 1988) was an American science fiction author. ... Galaxy Science Fiction magazine was the creation of noted pulp magazine editor Horace Leonard Gold, generally known as H. L. Gold. ...

Way Station won the 1964 Hugo Award for Best Novel. The Hugo Awards are given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works. ...

Plot summary

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. At the same time, a powerful artifact sacred to the aliens for whom Wallace works is stolen, and Wallace becomes convinced that the Earth is about to be consumed by a nuclear war. Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... ... This article is about Earth as a planet. ... Nuclear War is a card game designed by Douglas Malewicki, and originally published in 1966. ...

The novel has a number of subplots that erupt from nowhere and are finally drawn together at the end:

  • The government is very interested in him and spies on him for an indeterminate time.
  • His closest neighbors are a psychotic family whose daughter is a deaf mute. She heals warts, birds and butterflies and is the total antithesis of her clan.
  • Adopting an alien math, he computes that the world will go to war and predicts nuclear suicide.
  • He has a gun he never uses but one day he goes into the cellar and there's an elaborate gun range operated by alien technology that inserts you into a hunt for alien beasts.
  • The Talisman—the galaxy’s connection to the universal spiritual force—is lost, and the 'great cofraternity of the galaxy' is beginning to break down as a result.
  • His ghostly support system which he created years ago collapses on him.
  • He 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.

This novel uses a somewhat archaic voice, and some of the grammar is difficult to follow:

  • "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."
  • "I've been figuring for years how to get it told, but there's no way of doing it."

The book is overall rewarding and presents an interesting view of the cold war and basic human drives for violence and peace through science fiction's eyes. For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ...



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