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Gateway Paperback – Oct 12 2004


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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: 14 x 1.7 x 20.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #134,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James Henry on Sept. 4 2003
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 By Alex Frantz on 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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Format: Paperback
I had read about this novel on many "best of" lists, and had looked for it in bookstores for a long time. I eventually broke down and ordered it through Amazon, but from a different vendor. (I assumed it was in The States, but ended up being in England.) Let me say, I was delighted by the service. Even with ordering it about two weeks before the holidays, my book arrived in time for me to read it during my time off.

Now as to the book, and as per the title of the review, it wasn't exactly what I expected.

Whereas I was expecting the book to be about long, sustained outings in a Heechee ship by the main character, well.. it wasn't. Don't get me wrong, what's between the covers is still very entertaining and thought-provoking, but it just wasn't the story that I expected.

Based on that, and reviews that I've read about the subsequent books in the series, I may be less inclined to actively search them out.

Perhaps a second (or maybe third) reading will change my mind, but before I re-read this, I'd rather re-read and then re-read again "Use of Weapons" by Banks, "The Stars My Destination" by Bester, or "The Mote In God's Eye" by Niven and Pournelle.

"Gateway" will definitely be staying in my library, though.

(After all, my copy came "all the way from Merry Olde England".)
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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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