Book review: Way Station

Book cover for Way Station by Clifford D. Simak

When reading for recreation, I primarily read science fiction for reasons I’ve previously documented. I particularly enjoy near-term, hard science fiction. It fascinates me to see how authors extrapolate current technology trends into believable stories. It’s amazing how many of the trends projected in these stories have come to pass.

I also enjoy classic science fiction. Authors such as Isaac Asimov, Philip K Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, and Ray Bradbury wrote books that were well ahead of their time. Some of their writings are just as applicable today, if not more so, than when they were written back in the day. That’s why I like to occasionally slip a classic author into my reading, which is how I happened upon Way Station by Clifford D. Simak.

The premise behind Way Station is interesting. A soldier from the American Civil War lives in the rural midwest. His house is used a stopping point for aliens traveling through the universe. In other words, his house is used by the aliens as a way station.

The catch? The story is set in modern times and the soldier, named Enoch, has not aged. While the story was originally published in the 1960’s, the story could have been published this year. In fact, there were many times I forgot I was reading a book that was nearly 60 years old. The story in Way Station, just like Enoch, has survived the passage of time unscathed.

Unfortunately, Way Station didn’t quite do it for me. I like more action in my recreational reading. The story was slow and methodical, primarily driven by the characters. I prefer a story where the action drives the story.

Overall, Way Station was worth reading as part of my goal to read classic science fiction works. It’s impressive how little the story has aged given that it was first published in 1963. If I hadn’t known beforehand when it was published, I would have assumed it was written within the last 10 years.

Would I recommend Way Station? It depends. If you’re looking for a fast, action packed, page turning thriller, then you’re going to be disappointed. On the other hand, if you enjoy reading classic stories that have withstood the test of time, particularly those from the science fiction genre, then Way Station needs to be on your reading list.

One thought on “Book review: Way Station

  1. Chris Masters

    I came across your blog when searching up reviews for Way Station – randomly doing so during a bout of insomnia. It is one of my favourite books and I agree with you that it is very character led. I have always loved ‘real’ sci-fi and therefore this book satisfied my need.
    Plus, as an English teacher (in the UK) I have used the opening paragraphs as an amazing example of descriptive writing.


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