Midnight at the Well of Souls : Saga of the Well World

  • by Jack L. Chalker
  • Narrated by Peter Macon
  • Series: Saga of the Well World
  • 13 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

At the heart of a bizarre planet lay the goal of every being that had ever lived.…
Below average in height and unprepossessing in appearance, Nathan Brazil is an unassuming if cynical starship owner, carrying passengers and cargo for a living - hardly the sort of person to hold the fate of the entire universe in his hands.
But when Nathan detours from his route to answer a distress call, a hidden stargate hurls him and his passengers to the Well World, the master control planet for the cosmos. Billions of years ago, a godlike race unlocked all the secrets of space and time and remade the universe according to their grand design. Then they vanished and left behind the Well World to maintain the pattern of the universe.
Now someone is searching for the planet’s hidden control room - the Well of Souls - to seize control of the cosmos. Nathan must stop them, but this planet causes bizarre metamorphoses in visitors, changing them into centaurs, mermaids, and giant insects seemingly at random. As a result, Nathan no longer recognizes his friends, let alone his unknown enemies. His task seems hopeless - until his long-suppressed memories begin to return and he realizes who he really is.

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What the Critics Say

"A big, bold book that takes traditional science fiction and turns it upside down!" (Leigh Brackett, science fiction author and screenwriter on The Empire Strikes Back)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Step Through The Portal, And Be Changed Forever!

It's been a while since I've penned a review - So much listening, and so little time.

However, I'm ready to begin another series of reviews on Audible scifi/fantasy selections.

So, let's begin with Jack L. Chalker's "Midnight At The Well Of Souls."

Why is this audiobook first? Simple. It's the beginning of a FANTASTIC series that will captivate you with a rich, rewarding listen, and have you wanting the next in the series, Exiles at the Well of Souls, which is also available.

This is the opening book for a VERY powerful series, one that pushes the boundaries of typical science fiction as you know it. Imagine, if you will...

The Well World: A world created by a long-vanished race, covered in vast, country-sized hexes, each housing a different intelligent alien species. Crossing the boundaries of the hexes can change the very air you breathe, the laws of physics, technology and even magic. Each hex represents the birthplace of that species, and some are at war with others. They can take over other hexes, enslave an adjacent hex's species, and can even forcibly swap hexes with another race. Creatures of myth, fantasy and nightmare vie for control of a planet they cannot leave, but can eventually rule. Even mankind occupies a hex on this planet.

One half of the planet houses carbon-based hexes, the other half alarmingly alien hexes, and each hex is the birthplace for these races and their migration into the universe eons ago. This world is countless light years away from our own, unknown, hidden and waiting for an opportunity to rewrite the universe to its own making.

The story begins with a host of human castaways that accidentally travel to the Well World, and are each randomly changed to a new species in different hexes.

It is all part of a very large story that will soar across the surface of the Well World in its telling, as many races and hexes to vie for a rare and valuable treasure that can change the Well World and our universe forever!

Despite all this, I haven't given away any spoilers whatsoever!

Chalker's Midnight At The Well Of Souls was so well received when it was first published, that he went on to write many more novels to expand the stories both upon the Well World, and even light years beyond it. Be careful, Audible listener. Once you travel down this wonderful rabbit hole, you might very well not turn back! It truly is that amazing.

So, step through the portal, human, and be changed forever!
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- Michael

ESOTERIC

WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU?
I have found that most of the reviewers that like this, start by saying they read it when they were teenagers. I can see a teenager liking this, especially one new to Sci/Fantasy. They aspect of meeting new creatures such as Cousin Bat, would seem interesting to the novice listener or this could bring back good memories. To the well read in this field this is STAGNATION. The bulk of the book is running around a built world meeting strange creatures, such as human plants, centaurs, batmen, half snake and half walrus, etc... The first few that you meet are interesting and done well by Chalker. I found the human plants and the episode of the twining to be pretty cool. I really liked the Kafka moment of the man turned into a female insect. The problem is that this all gets old and redundant.

Science/Fantasy
Another reviewer remarked that this is science fantasy and I feel that is a perfect description. It started out pretty interesting, with an archeological dig on a unpopulated planet of an extinct race. This starts one of our first Introductions. We also meet some interesting characters. The planet had been run by a brain that was the world itself. I was soaking all of this up. I also enjoyed the space truck driver and the introduction to his world. It all seemed pure Science Fiction. Then they fell into the well and the story went strictly fantasy. At first it seemed even this would be worth listening to, but about five hours in, it becomes monotonous. I hung on for two more hours hoping it would return to the well written story it started as, then Jim the Impatient called it quits.

World of Tiers
This is very similar to Farmers, World of Tiers. It is also reminiscent of Anthony's, Split Infinity. The book is dedicated to Roger Zelzany and his style is evident. You will find most of Chalker's work in the paperback section of you used book store and it seems their is a reason you will not find him in hardback. I have one more of his books on my wish list, hopefully that will be better, as it seems he has lots of talent.
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- Jim "The Impatient"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-01-2013
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.