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Gateway (Heechee Saga) Paperback – October 12, 2004

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Product Details

  • Series: Heechee Saga (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (October 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345475836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345475831
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

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 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.

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.

Customer Reviews

It makes you want to believe the story could really happen.
S. Rowan
I also don't consider myself to be someone who needs constant action in a story, but I'm finding Pohl's style to be lacking the action just a bit too much.
Darren C. Barnes
The premise of the story is excellent and the story is well developed.
Steven M. Anthony

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 83 people found the following review helpful By D. Cloyce Smith on December 9, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pohl's first entry in the Heechee series is really two books in one: a space adventure about pioneers exploring the universe and a tongue-in-cheek look at artificial intelligence through a Freudian prism.

"Gateway" alternates between two storylines. Robinette (Bob) Broadhead, a young man drudging away in an underground food mine on Earth, wins a lottery and uses his earnings to travel to Gateway, a portal that was constructed and abandoned by an unknown species and that contains hundreds of modules which transport voyagers to predetermined locations throughout the universe. Adventurers are paid immense royalties by the Gateway Corporation for any scientific discoveries and for booty, but there are two hitches: nobody has ever been able to figure out in advance the destination for each module and a rather significant proportion of the explorers either return dead or are never seen again.

Pohl ably depicts the claustrophobia of the Gateway colony and of space travel, and he convincingly imagines the fear and excitement that precedes each journey. Once our hero arrives at Gateway, however, he finds himself thwarted far more by his fear of dying than motivated by the desire for glory and fortune; after his training he proves a reluctant pioneer. The accurate and realistic portrayal of this inertia is simultaneously one of the novel's strengths and its downside, since the reader all but experiences Bob's indolence while he gets up enough nerve to set out on a trip: "Most days we simply spent deferring decisions." Living and working in space can be quite tedious.

Between Bob's recollections of his life in Gateway are transcripts of his conversations, years later, with Sigfrid, a computer/robot who serves as his A.I. shrink.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Tommy M. on October 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
Perhaps it's the extensive psychotherapy that turns people off, but I found Gateway to be one of the most moving pieces of sci-fi I have ever read, second to Stranger in a Strange Land. Gateway came about 15 years later, and the 70s were a fantastic time for the genre, in my opinion. Your mileage may vary, but I think it's important that you know where I'm coming from as a reader.

At any rate, I was engrossed by the humanity, or vulnerability, of the characters in this book. It's not something you see very often in the genre. While characters in an Asimov or Clarke novel (God love them) may only serve to move the plot, Pohl lets the plot move around them; the central conflict is within. So this may actually turn off the escapist reader.

But this is still firmly science fiction, as it explores speculative ideas as a necessary part of the story. Nothing today can approximate the Gateway space station; only on a smaller scale, at best. It's a story of desperation that also carries science fiction's famous "sense of wonder." It's something every star gazer has felt, and Pohl nails it.

Unfortunately, he isn't as adept in psychiatry as he is spinning yarns, and the sections with Bob talking to his therapist feel slightly dull compared to the sharpness of Gateway station and its occupants. But only by comparison. It's also one of the few books I've ever re-read.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Gregorator on January 13, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Read this years ago, haven't forgotten a word. Astounded that nobody's made a movie of it -- can't think of a more cinematic novel. Because of its odd structure and unexpected humor, some might think it just plain strange -- but rarely has the intensity ratcheted up, for me, as highly as in this one book.

Only caveat is this, and let me be absolutely clear:

Do. Not. Read. The. Sequels.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Hexanova on January 8, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Gateway by Frederik Pohl is a simple story about a complex man that takes place in a setting that lends itself to a myriad of adventures both enriching and terrifying...usually the latter. In the case of down and out Robinette Broadhead it leads him to roll the dice on living the life of a "prospector" in space, and leads him to a mission that results in a life of opulent wealth, as well as soul wrenching guilt.

The book begins with Robinette (Bob) undergoing psychoanalysis under the care of an artificial intelligence that he not so fondly refers to as "Sigfrid von Shrink." Bob is wealthy, and happy...or so he keeps telling himself, but Sigfrid doesn't believe him. Deep down in his soul Bob doesn't believe himself.
Bob begins reliving his story and the circumstances that led to sitting on a mat in a skyscraper talking to an AI about his problems. As a young man Bob worked as a shale miner in Wyoming, the same occupation his mother and father held. It's a dismal existence, but the only one they know. He lives much of his life underground in dirty, miserable conditions with little hope of a different future. His father died in a mine accident when he was very young. He then developed a psychological problem and was put away for a year. During this time his mother also died. He returned to work in the shale mines, with an even more bleak future staring back at him in the hot, deadly tunnels.

Then Bob won a lottery. $250,000. Not a lot, but enough to live well for a short time, or enough to buy a one way ticket to Gateway to become what he'd always dreamed of being...a "prospector."

Gateway is an enigma to humanity. It's a hallowed out asteroid that holds approximately 1000 small ships left behind by a race called the Heechee.
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