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Gateway [Paperback]

Frederik Pohl
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 21.00
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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!

From the Paperback edition.

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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

Most helpful customer reviews
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Despite structural flaws, a satisfying read April 16 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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 best.
In the mid-21st century, tunnels and artifacts are discovered on Venus. This discovery leads in turn to the far more lucrative discovery of Gateway, an asteroid orbiting the sun outside the elliptical plane, tunnelled out and housing nearly 1000 spaceships abandoned half a million years ago by a mysterious race that humans have labelled the Heechee. These fully-functional ships are capable of faster-than-light travel and can hold one to five passengers. The problem is, no one knows how to operate the controls. Prospectors have spent their life's savings to travel to Gateway and travel in one of the ships to destinations unknown, hoping to make a major scientific or commercial discovery. Some do and hit it big. Most don't. Many don't come back.
The protagonist, millionaire Robinette Broadhead, is one of the ones who hit it big. We find out two important things about him at the beginning of Gateway. First, on one of his trips he made a major discovery worth 18 million dollars. Second, he is a very screwed-up man; we first meet him lying on a mat in the office of his digital shrink, Sigfrid.
Structurally, the novel's chapters alternate between Broadhead's sessions with Sigfrid, and flashbacks to Broadhead's experiences on Gateway. Unfortunately the book's structure is its major weakness. There is simply too much Sigfrid; Broadhead's appointments with the shrink could have been removed by half without harming the story. Besides, reading Freudian interpretation after interpretation of Broadhead's dreams and word choices starts to get monotonous.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fine beginning. April 14 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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. I've read the sequel, "Beyond the Blue Event Horizon," and I was thoroughly disappointed. It took me over a year to even bother to start the third book, which I am reading now and so far it doesn't look too promising, either. So, what I'm trying to say, in so many run-on sentences, is to read the first book only. It has a great mystery at its heart, and does what all masterful Sci-fi does best: raises more questions than it answers. There are a few down moments, but they are forgivable given that I was there with the characters pondering the mysteries of the Heechee and subconciously fearful for their well-being when they do travel to the stars. Some never return; some return with their entrails splattered all over the inside of the ship. It's a dice game with the craft of the Heechee. But those who return with artifacts and knowledge are likely to become rich beyond their wildest dreams. For some reason, much like Dan Simmons' "Endymion," I keep having memory flashes from this novel. I was there in spirit. The great Sci-fi novels take you on a journey into the unknown and sometimes beyond. This is one of those novels.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Ruined By Hollywood Angst June 20 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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. The cramped seediness of their environment stunts their souls and this is crafted both believably and professionally. And, in spite of portraying Twenty-Third (?) century scientists as being unrealistically dense, the mystery of the Heechee is equal to any other creation in science fiction.
However, for all its strengths, this book didn't engage me. I found the angst of the main character both affected and contrived. And while his emotional self-flagellation was not central to the workings of the story, it kept distracting me from the more important elements. Consequently, I couldn't enjoy the story because of my resentment towards the book's heavy-handed artifice.
In this book, Pohl is so intent on teasing a multi-dimensional character out of a uni-dimensional kernel that he overindulges in Freudian excess. The main character is a parody of psychological trauma. His self-consuming guilt is advertised to the reader with all the subtlety of a highway billboard. Just as blatantly, our hero goes through unbelievable mental contortions to evade his real feelings. What we get is not a characterization we can identify with, but a painfully simplistic parody of an emotional breakdown. If despair and survivor guilt were really this superficial, psychiatrists would all be out of work.
Many readers unused to science fiction complain about the genre's tendency towards simple characters. This book illustrates why simple characters in the service of a good story are preferable to "complex" characters purchased with pretension. Grandmasters like Clarke, Asimov and Heinlein rarely created multifaceted or engaging characters.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Bob's Excellent Adventures
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... Read more
Published 19 months ago by John M. Ford
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 on June 22 2012 by peppe51
5.0 out of 5 stars Gateway
In 1976 Frederik Pohl, a New York author born in 1919, began a five-novel series about a fictional culture called the Heechee Saga. Read more
Published on Sept. 16 2011 by Joe Boudreault
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
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"
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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