Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Hugos: Way Station by Clifford Simak

In 1964, the Hugo award went to a quiet and thoughtful but surprising and thrilling 'pastoral' novel of realistic science fiction by a dude called Cliff, in which a long-lived shut-in is actually the minder of a way station for alien visitors.

I have a beloved uncle called Cliff who lives a similar existence to the main character, Enoch Wallace: rarely leaving his isolated house. Coincidence?


My uncle enjoys his sci-fi, but is not the first contact point of an extra-terrestrial civilization debating the fate of self-destructive and primitive humanity. So far as I know.

I was quite fond of Way Station, giving it a respectable three stars out of four, though except for digging on the pacifist philosophy I don't recall a lot of details.
I remember that, thanks to alien tech, Enoch's house is impervious to the passage of time. I wish that was true of our house. As, to be frank, I wish my body was also immune. Specifically, I think I'd kill for unrottable teeth. Though, thankfully, I don't have the option, and I hope I never do.

Keep your magic teeth, universe, and let me keep my pacifism.

Enoch is given a choice in this story: to allow humanity the free will to nuke itself, or to let the aliens 'dumb us down' so we don't have the wherewithal to kack ourselves.
That's a tough one, and it presupposes that smart people = sad people.

Which might be true: I'm feeling generally happy and I can barely make a blog work properly- why are those pictures and hyperlinks just jibberish today instead of thumbnails?

Maybe this already happened. After all, I'm not nuked, but thanks to Joel McHale and the Soup I keep getting a glimpse of a very stupid world outside my little sphere.
Beg with all your psychic energy to Space Ulysees that Heidi and Spencer are not the human norm!

Beg, I say!

No comments: