Way Station
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Way Station

by Clifford D. Simak
Release date: 1963
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: science fiction
Tags: hugo award

This book is also knows as Here Gather the Stars.

As a young man, Enoch Wallace had fought in the civil war — one of the lucky ones who made it back alive. Now, more than a century later, Enoch is still one of the lucky ones… still alive and still young. For shortly after the war ended, Enoch had been approached by an alien who offered him a much needed job and purpose in life: to become keeper of the Way Station, an interstellar depot for the numerous sapient species who roamed the starways.

His house itself was transformed into the Station, and as long as he stayed inside, Enoch was immune to the effects of time. Except, perhaps, for loneliness. Because all the people he had ever known or cared for were long since dead, and he had virtually no contact with his neighbors in the modern world outside. But that state of affairs was about to change…

A U.S. government agent began snooping around Enoch's home — and discovered the grave of an alien who had died at the Station years earlier. The Way Station, whose continued existence on so primitive a planet as Earth depended on its users' discretion, was threatened with exposure. And suddenly Enoch found himself faced with a desperate choice.

If the Earth depot were closed down, he could become the keeper of another Station on another planet. At the same time, he longed to share some of the knowledge he'd gleaned from the aliens with his own people. If he could, he would bring the Earth into the interstellar community.

But was the Earth ready? Could Enoch convince his fellow humans of the beauty of that dream, or would they reject him for his own unique role among them? Where did he himself truly belong — displaced and distrusted on a world full of strangers... or forever alone in a vast alien universe?

(updated 2015-01-12)

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