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Gateway [Paperback]

Frederik Pohl
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 12 2004 Heechee Saga (Book 1)
Gateway opened on all the wealth of the Universe...and on reaches of unimaginable horror. When prospector Bob Broadhead went out to Gateway on the Heechee spacecraft, he decided he would know which was the right mission to make him his fortune. Three missions later, now famous and permanently rich, Robinette Broadhead has to face what happened to him and what he is...in a journey into himself as perilous and even more horrifying than the nightmare trip through the interstellar void that he drove himself to take!

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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

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Bob's Excellent Adventures Feb. 22 2013
By John M. Ford TOP 100 REVIEWER
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding story May 7 2004
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Gateway Sept. 16 2011
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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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Total crap disguised as Scifi
Just finished Gateway and I must admit that I sailed through the last 60-70 pages when I realized how lame this story was. Read more
Published 22 months ago by peppe51
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly what I expected...
I had read about this novel on many "best of" lists, and had looked for it in bookstores for a long time. Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2010 by R. J. Hellewell
4.0 out of 5 stars Despite structural flaws, a satisfying read
Frederik Pohl has always been one of my favourite SF authors. As a double Hugo/Nebula winner for 1997's best novel, that makes it (at least nominally) one of the best of the... Read more
Published on April 16 2004 by RansomOttawa
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine beginning.
I'm always reluctant to start a new series of Sci-fi novels because of the usual let-down that ensues after a fine beginning novel. Read more
Published on April 14 2004 by D. Knouse
3.0 out of 5 stars Eh
Rating: 2.5/5
I expected much better from a book that's touted as an SF classic. The background in which Gateway is set is brilliant, and the only reason why my rating's not... Read more
Published on Sept. 20 2003 by "hjsukthankar"
3.0 out of 5 stars Ruined By Hollywood Angst
This book has some merits. Pohl paints a convincing miners' world by giving us a sense of its grit and stench. The lives of the miners are also handled well. Read more
Published on June 20 2003 by Barry C. Chow
5.0 out of 5 stars Evokes fascination and terror.
Gateway evokes the fascination and terror of the unknown universe better than any other science fiction book I know. Read more
Published on April 23 2003 by Richard S. Ellis
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic
Let's see what I can remember...
There were a lot of good things about this book. The narrator, Robinette Broadhead, was fun to read about. Read more
Published on March 28 2003 by R. Sundquist
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard science fiction combined with character study
The premise of Gateway is simple enough - humankind has discovered a space station abandoned 500 000 years ago by a technologically superior race (the "Heechee"). Read more
Published on March 9 2003 by Craig MACKINNON
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