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Gateway (Heechee Saga) Paperback – October 12, 2004
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A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more
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From the Inside Flap
THE HEECHEE SAGA
Book One: GATEWAY
Book Two: BEYOND THE BLUE EVENT HORIZON
Book Three: HEECHEE RENDEZVOUS
Book Four: THE ANNALS OF THE HEECHEE
"From the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
"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.Read more ›
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.
Only caveat is this, and let me be absolutely clear:
Do. Not. Read. The. Sequels.
A rational person can hardly criticize the substance of one of the all-time classics of the SF genre. I can, however, ask whether an editor or proofreader ever bothered to take a look at the Kindle version of this book. By all appearances, the answer is a resounding "no."
The text of this Kindle edition contains so many typographical and "typesetting" errors that many pages are simply unintelligible. Phrases (and even complete sentences).repeat themselves many times. Random phrases are injected willy-nilly into unrelated sentences. Other errors appear to be the result of using a scanner and a very weak character recognition program. For instance, "Shirl" becomes "Shid" repeatedly.
In short, a great book from a great author. But be prepared to wade through the detritus of the laziest publisher of all time.
Are you aware that someone has completely butchered your prose when they put your acclaimed book into the Kindle format? Imagine my frustration, a first-time reader of Gateway, to find the novel's dramatic action frequently interrupted by incomplete sentences (missing words) and rampant spelling errors. At first I just shrugged my shoulders and told myself that the poor transcription surely would improve; but when every other page drew attention to someone's incompetence, I got annoyed and started to underline the many problems. I do recommend your fine book to people, but they will have a much better experience if they avoid this Kindle edition and read the paperback. Just a few examples of what they've done to your sentences:
"basic progrpmming" Page 154
"persues all" Page 156
"I was surprise for a" Page 159
"I mind was spinning" Page 164
"with with visions of sugarplums" Page 164
"at the cisino" Page 175
"a quarter-proffle smile" Page 175
"about Kiara's decision" Page 178 [Klara, not Kiara, is one of the main characters]
"get next to Kiara" Page 180
"what ten or twenty million do looked like" Page 180
"Rob, are [you] aware that the name you said...? Page 184
"which gives [a] kind of securiy I prize" Page 184
"Kiara said" Page 196
"She her hand off my chest" Page 200
"Kiara said" Page 201
"Kiara snarled" Page 203
"that Kiara" Page 205
"when it come[s] right down to it" Page 206
"spiral gaget" Page 212
"I delirius with heatstroke" Page 214
"I'm going to have to let you take can yourself" Page 214
"designated me chief gofer" Page 219
"He doest care if you" Page 222
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is my second time through Gateway. I paid particular attention to Frederick Pohl’s writing style this time, and was mightily impressed by the master. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Charles Freedom Long
This is a classic story of space exploration. It doesn't apologize or pull any punches when describing how things can go wrong in the unknown. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Paul Charran
Really disappointing. I would love to continue this series for just the sake of finding out more about the fascinating Heechee race and the mystery of what happened to them if I... Read morePublished 5 months ago by cwh10
A journey of exploration of science fiction and human psychology. It took me a while to get started but after a certain point I passed turnaround and began accelerating, delta upon... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Synapse001
I expected more of Gateway.
On the positive side, the book introduces the Heechee, a very advanced, ancient and extraterrestrial (I guess) civilization that left a space... Read more
Gateway is Frederick Pohl's best novel. The culture of the Heechees (an extinct alien species) is fascinating even in its ambiguity; the story of the protagonist traveling to an... Read morePublished 6 months ago by James Kenney