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Gateway Paperback – Oct 12 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (Oct. 12 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345475836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345475831
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 1.6 x 20.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #14,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Frederick Pohl has been a SF writer and editor for almost 50 years. He grew up in New York, but now lives near Chicago. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Today I finished GATEWAY at 4am after staying up most of the night engrossed in Pohl's masterpiece. Yes, it's that good in my opinion. And quite frankly it devasted me. If you like your SF with emotion, feeling and fully 3 dimensionally characters, You will love this book. It will break your heart. Pohl leads you up to a point where you think things will be OK, then leads you careening over the edge. It really hit me hard, emotionally. Some people would say that this is melodrama, but I don't think so.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Gateway" tells the story of the ultimate futuristic gold rush. In the 21st century, an asteroid known as Gateway is discovered containing hundreds of ancient space ships, all of them with pre-programmed courses already set. The builders of the ships are referred to as Heechees, but very little is known of who they were, why they built the asteroid, or why the Heechee disappeared. Since no human knows how to steer the ships or predict the destinations, explorers have to get in the ships, activate the program, and then go where it takes them. Some discover vast wealth; many never return or come back dead because they have run out of food or air.
Robinette Broadhead becomes a Gateway prospector as one of the few avenues of advancement open to a poor person on Earth. This book tells of his trips interspersed with his conversations with a computerized therapist.
The setting is interesting, and the story is very effective. I would recommend this book highly.
This is the opener of a series which suffers from what might be called the "Dune" Effect: a terrific first book, with diminishing returns in subsequent volumes. Pohl ultimately does resolve the mystery of the Heechees, along with other questions not introduced in this book; unfortunately the answers are less interesting than the questions, and the story loses momentum well before the end of the series. I would recommend the sequel, "Beyond the Blue Event Horizon", but the final two volumes aren't up to snuff.
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Format: Paperback
Bob Broadhead toils away at a boring labor job with little hope of anything better. When he wins the lottery, the prize money is enough for one-way passage to the asteroid Gateway. Its main attraction is a long-abandoned Heechee spaceport. The Heechee are long gone, but have left behind nearly a thousand spacecraft. Most can be made to work by twisting a few dials and pushing the launch button. But nobody knows how to control where they go. Bob joins the pool of prospectors who risk such trips, hoping to find high tech artifacts or new worlds.

The story is told as a series of therapy sessions between Bob and an artificial intelligence therapy program, alternating with flashbacks to Bob's earlier life and his three prospecting missions. The therapy discussions are sometimes painful and "Sigfrid" the therapist is both persistent and subtle. Even though his presence in therapy makes it clear that Bob survived all three missions, there are still surprises, puzzles, and interpersonal tensions. Although this is a complete story on its own, Bob's life story continues in Beyond the Blue Event Horizon, Heechee Rendezvous, and The Annals of the Heechee.

This is an enjoyable story and worthy of its good reputation as a science fiction classic. It has an early Heinlein feel to it. Some of this comes from the institutional setting of the Gatway asteroid and the corporation that runs it. Some comes from Bob's difficulties understanding women. At least Bob--unlike a number of Heinlein characters-- knows that he has issues and looks for help to deal with them.

It's a good read. And a good listen as an audio book. Enjoy!
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Format: Paperback
In 1976 Frederik Pohl, a New York author born in 1919, began a five-novel series about a fictional culture called the Heechee Saga. This novel, Gateway, is the first in the series, and like Walter Miller or Frank Herbert, he plunges us into a mysterious and exciting world of galactic adventure.

Once upon a time, Earth explorers reach Venus and discover tunnels beneath the planet's surface, vestiges of an alien technology and presence. No aliens, just those tunnels and some artifacts. One explorer finds a spaceship and manages to operate it, not realizing that it is automatically programmed to go to a specific destiny. That destiny turns out to be an asteroid in the Oort cloud and it is riddled with more tunnels and in fact is a space port made by aliens they are calling the Heechees. Hundreds of spaceships are waiting in the abandoned asteroid world of the Heechee. What to do?

An Earth consortium called the Gateway Corporation is formed and anybody wanting to pay a large fee and be trained are sent out on any one of the ships to see what happens. It's a big interstellar lottery because the ships, though they always automatically return to the Gateway station, don't always succeed and the interstellar "prospectors" sometimes perish or go crazy. Yet the rewards, if something is found to be of use (alien technology and artifacts, new worlds, new resources) are tremendous. Such is the world of Gateway, for starters.

One of these prospectors is Robinette Broadhead. He makes three voyages and survives, but apparently at a great mental cost. The novel cuts between the outward voyages and the station and Bob's psychological sessions with a computer counsellor.
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