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Way Station (A Collier Nucleus Science Fiction Classics)

Way Station (A Collier Nucleus Science Fiction Classics) - Clifford D. Simak I am going to cheat and give a picture of one of the book covers which summaries the main idea perfectly:
Way Station the book
Rarely do I see such a fitting cover picture on a book: it does not show any particular scene, but the plot itself.

There is a way station for intergalactic travelers somewhere deep in the rural USA. The following picture shows exactly what I think the inside of the said station looks like:
Way Station the place inside
And this is outside view:
Way Station the place outside

The book is interesting in the sense that it packed a lot of interesting ideas into around measly two hundred pages. It also managed to be occasionally slow. I would be the first one to say it is outright boring at times. The musings of the main character about whether he still belongs to human race became really old really fast. Please note I am not trying to say there are no interesting parts in here; there are and quite a few of them.

I still gave 4 stars to the novel - boring parts and all. Let me give you my reasoning.

I am overfed on grimdark fantasy. I keep wishing all people living in yet another grimdark fantasy universe would commit suicide to put themselves (as well as their readers) out of their non-stop misery. I am overfed on dystopian future. Speaking about dystopian romances in particular I always want to shout out loud to their heroes at the end, "This is not going to be Happily Ever After; your dystopian world is here to stay and there is no happiness to be had in there!!!".

This book gives something I can really appreciate: hope. I really forgot the last time I saw any sign of hope in a modern science fiction story. This is particularly curious in light of the fact that it was written during the time of Cuban Missile Crisis. Actually some of the things in there strongly point to that particular historical event.

This raises one important question: we were optimistic during the height of the Cold War. This is most definitely not the only example of optimistic science fiction written during that time. Now the war is over and all we can think of is bleak post-apocalyptic future without a single ray of hope in it. Why?