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by Jack L. Chalker

Entered by a thousand unsuspected gateways -- built by a race lost in the clouds of time -- the planet its dwellers called the Well World turned beings of every kind into something else. There spacefarer Nathan Brazil found himself companioned by a batman, an amorous female centaur and a mermaid -- all once as human as he.Yet Nathan Brazil's metamorphosis was more terrifying than any of those...and his memory was coming back, bringing with it the secret of the Well World.For at the heart of the bizarre planet lay the goal of every being that had ever lived -- and Nathan Brazil and his comrades were...lucky?...enough to find it!
Download Midnight at the Well of Souls epub
ISBN: 0345324455
ISBN13: 978-0345324450
Category: Fantasy
Subcategory: Science Fiction
Author: Jack L. Chalker
Language: English
Publisher: Del Rey (February 12, 1985)
ePUB size: 1544 kb
FB2 size: 1849 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 108
Other Formats: txt docx mobi lit

Jack Chalker's "Midnight at the Well of Souls" is a science fiction adventure tale that one could describe as an ambitious epic, yet written with an often whimsical sense of fun. The novel is full of colorful characters, weird locales, and imaginatively conceived alien species.
The story's hero is freighter captain Nathan Brazil, a human male who is noted to be a maverick and a loner in "an age of extreme conformity." While carrying a motley collection of passengers on his ship, Brazil answers a distress call. Soon he finds himself on the Well World, a bizarre planet divided up into hundreds of biospheres and home to hundreds of different civilizations. Oh, and each newcomer to the planet can expect to find him- or herself transformed into a different species! "Midnight" charts the odyssey of Brazil, his allies, and his enemies across this strange and wondrous world as they seek the answer to an ancient mystery.
"Midnight" is a novel of ideas as well as a fun and exciting adventure; Chalker deals with such issues as history, drug addiction, crime, social organization, literacy, and more as the story unfolds. Chalker cleverly delves into the life cycles and sexual behaviors of the various Well World species, which include intelligent plants, a centaur-like race, and many more. The motif of transformation, including gender-changing, is intriguingly handled throughout the story.
Chalker makes reference to "Alice in Wonderland" at one point in the book, but the book, curiously, reminds me more of L. Frank Baum's classic Oz tales. And Chalker's vision of science, civilization, and history reminds me a bit of a less horrific, more light-hearted H.P. Lovecraft. Overall, a lot of fun, and written in a very engaging prose style. If you like this book, try "Lord Valentine's Castle," by Robert Silverberg.
I first read "Midnight at the Well of Souls" thirty years ago- quickly followed by every other "Well of Souls" book as they became available. Not to mention every other Chalker I could find (I also recommend his "Four Lords of the Diamond" books). Although I've read the series more than once, it has been a few years so yesterday when in a discussion of great characters, Nathan Brazil came to mind and I had to pick it up again :) Since my old paperback is- literally- falling apart, I was so happy to find a kindle version. I should note that although this shows as "volume one", this was originally written as a stand alone and can be read that way (but after reading this, I'm pretty sure you will want more.)

I love science fiction from Golden Agers like Asimov and Heinlein to today's John Scalzi and Andy Weir. When I first read "Midnight" it immediately joined my list of favorites. I was delighted to find that even on a repeat read, it retains that status :)

Set in the distant future, "Midnight" has all of the characteristics of classic sci fi- a very alien world, an abundance of varied alien life forms and an intrepid, seemingly "everyman" hero. Because of the structure of the "Well World", even the most bizarre "aliens" (from sentient trees to centaurs to giant bugs) are interesting and believable characters. This unique setting also avoids obvious science issues sometimes found in older sci fi.

With Chalker's vivid depiction of so many unique aliens and rousing adventure story, "Midnight" can be read as a straight up Golden Age sci fi story. But within the story there is also a twist on the origins of the universe and strong themes of right and wrong and karma. So this is not a straight up "space opera".

My standard for a five star book is that I want to read it again. Since this is my fourth or fifth reading- yeah, five stars :) I love it.
Jack L. Chalker is one of the best of the best in SF, and the Well World series is his best. Each book is standalone, but together they'll blow you away - really! It starts out with this book, Midnight at the Well of Souls and takes you on a ride you'll never believe. And you'll never ever guess how this series ends. I'm pretty good at figuring things out, but this one tied my brain in more than a few knots and left me stunned and hugging the book when I finished.

If you like this one and the others of the series think seriously about also reading his Four Lords of the Diamond series. Four books that will also blow your mind. They start with Lilith: A Snake in the Grass. I can't get enough of them and over the years I've read both of these series several times, and they're every bit as good the fifth time through as the first. I can't recommend Mr. Chalker and these two series strongly enough. They're wonderful. They take you to worlds that you know can never exist, yet you feel as if you've lived there by the end. Marvelous, fantastic, amazing, wonderful, and every and all superlatives I can pile on top of these perfect, classic books.
In the far future, a group of three very different passengers and their captain are on a space transport which is diverted by a distress call to a research station on a planet that had once been home to a race of aliens who pre-date an in fact created most of the beings now inhabiting the universe.

The ship finds the research station destroyed, the people missing or dead, and the unwitting passengers are soon teleported to the Well World, a sort of testing ground the advanced aliens had once used to create different biospheres with different laws of physics, supporting such creatures as centaurs, mermaids, tree people and giant insects.

Matters only grow stranger when the four are transformed into different forms of being as they are transported each to a different hexagonal region and drawn into a battle for control of Well World, and perhaps the universe itself.

I tip my hat to a landmark book in the science fantasy genre, full to the brim with adventure, plot twists and revelations that kept me flipping pages as I wondered what would happen next. Chalker is definitely a writer I'll be looking into. Recommended for fans of Jack Vance.