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Midnight at the Well of Souls Mass Market Paperback – January 29, 2002

63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


''A big, bold book that takes traditional science fiction and turns it upside down!'' --Leigh Brackett, science fiction author --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

From the Inside Flap

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! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: A Baen Book; Reprint edition (January 29, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743435222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743435222
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,190,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A short while ago, someone emailed me asking for a ordered list of the books in this series (they got my email address from an earlier review).
Here it is for everyone else.
1-Midnight at the Well of Souls
2-Exiles at the Well of Souls
3-Quest for the Well of Souls
4-The Return of Nathan Brazil
5-Twilight at the Well of Souls
Remember, books 2 and 3 originally were one book called The War of the Well World, and are a single story, broken into two novels by the publishing requirements of the time.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on November 12, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 2, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Jack Chalker, through this book, and the other books, tells one of the great classics in modern soft science fiction. The beginning of a five book series, Midnight tells of a man named Nathan Brazil, and how he and his strange life fit into the center of the universe and its history.

Nathan is a typically tough-as-nails starship captain who is carried through events set off by his own interference with a criminal syndicate, but it's where he goes that defines the entire series: The Well World.

The Well World is the generator of all modern reality. Billions of years in the past, a race of beings developed the ultimate in technology, computers that could read their minds, and then with matter/energy transforming systems would translate those thoughts, whatever they were, into reality. After a long time, they did everything, and became bored. They wondered if that could really be all there was to life, but could envision no more than they had, and decided that somehow they had reached an evolutionary dead end because to them it was obvious that there _had_ to be more to life. Any other decision would have meant that their lives had been meaningless. They took their computer-reality technology and built a computer the size of a planet, one so large that it could generate an entire universe. Upon its surface were hexagonal zones of a few thousand square kilometers [I can't remember the exact size], each one an enviromental enclousure where the ancient race designed and tested for viability every possible intelligent race they could think of. The designs of those that proved suitable were stored away, and the enclosure would be used again and again.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 7, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the book that launched Jack Chalker as an SF heavyweight and it's easy to see why. Full of fun characters, a brilliantly realised world and a fascinating plot it's a terrific adventure from a master story.
Other reviews will give you the plot in more detail. I simply want to recommend Chalker the writer. I've read pretty much everything he's published and I always look forward to his new books. This, though, is certainly one of his greatest. It's a great shame that mainstream SF critics have ignored or impugned his work because it's as good or better than a lot of the dross that's out there (and I include some of the so-called masterworks that have been swathed in awards). Thankfully he has a loyal legion of fans that have followed his career.
And this is also a great prequel to the War of the Well which is told the four volumes that followed this one. You don't have to read them all, as this a stand alone novel, but if you enjoy this one as much as so many others have then you'll certainly want to read more about Well World and the War of the Well novels are also superior entertainment on a large scale.
Basically, try anything of Jack Chalker's. He's an underrated master of the fantasy/sf genre.
Look also for The Four Lords of the Diamond series, The Rings of the Master series, the Dancing Gods novels and his lone short story collection, Dance Band on the Titanic.
The War of the Well is told in Exiles at the Well of Souls, Quest for the Well of Souls, The Return of Nathan Brazil and Twilight at the Well of Souls.
Dont wait. Go seek them out. You won't be disappointed.
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