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Gateways: Short Stories in Honor of Frederik Pohl Paperback – July 5, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
First professionally published over 70 years ago, Hugo and Nebula Award winner Frederik Pohl has excelled as a writer, editor, and agent. In the course of this long career, Pohl has influenced many of the premier authors in the field of science fiction; this anthology, edited by Pohl's wife Hull, is an expression of respect and affection from his peers. More than two dozen writers have contributed, from Brian Aldiss to Connie Willis and even (thanks to a reprinted chapter) the late Isaac Asimov. The tributes and stories are as diverse as their authors; Hull's introduction illustrates the warm and loving relationship she shares with Pohl, while grand-daughter Emily Pohl-Weary's contribution demonstrates a laudable familial piety. Though not all of the stories are hits, this anthology conveys Pohl as an iconic figure who is clearly respected and liked by his colleagues, friends, and family. (Sept.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“This is a substantial anthology, good value for the money, 17 stories from top authors, the bulk of them original. The stories are solidly entertaining. The best story in the book and the one that gives the strongest impression of having been centrally influenced by and in dialog with Pohl's own work, is Cory Doctorow's novella ‘Chicken Little.' Doctorow's updated high-tech take on creatures who have immortality but not eternal youth, continuing to age through their extended lives, is particularly ingenious. I wouldn't be surprised to see this one show up on an award ballot next year.” ―Locus
“This is truly a smashing volume, a testament to the impact that Pohl has had on several generations of SF writers and readers.” ―Cory Doctorow, boingboing.com on Gateways
“Pohl has influenced many of the premier authors in the field of science fiction. More than two dozen writers have contributed, from Brian Aldiss to Connie Willis and even (thanks to a reprinted chapter) the late Isaac Asimov. This anthology conveys Pohl as an iconic figure. ” ―Publishers Weekly
“There are more than a dozen stories and a raft of appreciations. As a series of gateways into the individual writers here, they work well; as gateways into appreciation of Pohl's work, they work even better: David Brin has a long and shiny story toward the front of the book, ‘Shoresteading'; Cory Doctorow has the thought-provoking ‘Chicken Little' toward the end; and almost every story, poem, and appreciation in between is well worth your time…and the time it'll take you to find any of the Pohl works you've missed.” ―San Diego Union-Tribune
“Each author has written a story that he or she feels reflects the effect Pohl has had on the field--in the style of writing, the narrative tone, or the subject matter. It says a lot about Pohl's career that the authors represented here themselves span many decades and styles. Every story here is uniquely nuanced; all of them as entertaining and thought provoking as Pohl's fiction. ” ―SFF Chat
“Fred Pohl was, at the dawn of time. Is, today. And will always be with us, at the top.” ―Harlan Ellison
“There is something in Gateways for every sci-fi reader. If it isn't just the fannish pleasure of seeing some of your favorite authors having a bit of fun, it might be discovering some old or new sci-fi star telling their favorite Fred Pohl story, or maybe just the delight of finding a little genre gem tucked away in there.” ―New York Journal of Books
Top customer reviews
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This collection is an appreciation of the Gateway stories, not more Gateway stories. People talk about Fred Pohl and what his stories meant to them and heap praise on him, which he deserves, but this gets dull after fifty pages. This work had one positive side effect, which is that it reminded me of the original books and made me run to the library and check them out and re-read them, which was hugely enjoyable.
Overall, this book is a bore. It's for industry insiders who were friends of Pohl's and readers who were big fans and want to hear little details of other people's relationship to him and his work. It's not what I really wanted, and in my disappointment I have given this work only two stars.
The contents are:
- "A Dream of Frederik Pohl" (1995) by David Lunde is a poem.
- "One Way into Gateways" (2010) by Elizabeth Anne Hull is the introduction.
- "Shoresteading" (2008) by David Brin is a tale of a Shanghai family who find a glowing stone.
- Von Neumann's Bug" (2010) by Phyllis and Jake Eisenstein is about a miniaturized space explorer that falls into the lives of a suburban family.
- "Frederik Pohl" (1994) by Isaac Asimov is an appreciation previously published in I, Asimov.
- "Sleeping Dogs" (2010) by Joe Haldeman concerns a veteran of an extraterrestrial war with a memory loss.
- "Gates (Variations)" (2010) by Larry Niven considers an alternate explanation for Bill Gates.
- "Appreciation" (2010) by Gardner Dozois speaks of Pohl as an editor.
- "Tales from the Spaceship Geoffry" (2010) by James Gunn is a set of tales from interstellar passengers seeking transcendence.
- "Shadows of the Lost" (2010) by Gregory Benford and Elisabeth Malartre gives an alternative look at Neanderthals.
- "Fred Pohl Appreciation" (2010) by Connie Willis addresses Pohl as a writer.
- "A Preliminary Assessment of the Drake Equation Being an Excerpt from the Memoirs of Star Captain Y.-T. Lee" (2010) by Vernor Vinge describes an expedition to an unstable planet.
- "Warm Seas" (2006) by Greg Bear involves an old man and a giant squid.
- "Frederik Pohl" (2010) by Robert J. Sawyer is an appreciation for the novel Gateway.
- "The Errand Boy" (2010) by Frank M. Robinson is an extensively rewritten extract of an unpublished novel with the same title.
- "King Rat" (2010) by Gene Wolfe presents the exploits of a young survivor of an alien invasion.
- "Fred" (2010) by Robert Silverberg is an appreciation of Pohl as a mentor for his writers.
- "The Stainless Steel Rat and the Pernicious Porcuswine" (2010) by Harry Harrison continues the adventures of Jim diGriz upon retirement.
- "Virtually, a Cat" (2008) by Jody Lynn Nye follows a cat lover who has to leave his friend behind.
- "Frederik Pohl: An Appreciation" (2010) by David Marusek regards Pohl's influence as judge for the Sturgeon Award.
- "The First-Born" (2010) by Brian W. Aldiss exposes the problem of the first settlers on Mars.
- "Scheherazade and the Storytellers" (2010) by Ben Bova relates the real story behind the Thousand and One Nights.
- "Appreciation of Fred Pohl" (2010) by Joan Slonczewski recounts her contacts with Pohl.
- "The Flight of the Denartesestel Radichan" (2010) by Sheri S. Tepper is a satire about alien races and humanity.
- "The [Backspace] Merchants" (2010) by Neil Gaiman is another poem.
- "Appreciating Fred, AKA Granddad" (2010) by Emily Pohl-Weary is her view of Pohl as a close relative.
- "On Safari" (2010) by Mike Resnick reveals the perils of an overly safe excursion into the wild.
- "Chicken Little" (2010) by Cory Doctorow examines a world where some people are rich enough to live for centuries.
- "Frederik Pohl: Homage to the Master" (2010) by James Frenkel is the afterword written by the internal editor for this volume. It discusses the origins of the volume and describes his impression of Pohl as an SF writer.
These tales and appreciations give many views of Frederik Pohl, but all have common threads. Each author saw him as a considerate friend and associate. And all were awed by his works.
If you have not read any of his novels, start with Gateway. Many consider it his best work, but it is certainly an interesting introduction to Pohl as a writer. His work as a fan and an editor is still remembered by a diminishing few, but his novels will remain for much longer.
Highly recommended for Pohl fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of adventure and possibilities. Read and enjoy!
-Arthur W. Jordin
I found no typos- it shows the benefits of good editors.
As an aside, to anyone who wants to challange this with 'Issac Asimov', I say (redacted) off. Asimov was a brilliant feller, no doubt about it, but he couldn't write for (redacted again). Heinlein doesn't even come close either. Maybe Cordwainer Smith might be up there, or at a stretch you could chuck in Doc Smith if you're into that kind of thing, but Fred is the clear master to my mind. Gene Wolfe is as good, but not for as long, so far. For evidence to support this claim, see Platinum Pohl, the collected short stories from a year or two back - 100% brilliant.
Anyway, this book collects all sorts of stories by authors basically 'doing' Fred Pohl, mostly pretty successfully. I enjoyed spotting the secret Pohlgeek references and the stories were pretty good on their own anyway. Standouts for me were the work by David Brin, who I am not usually a fan of, and Cory Doctorow. And a massive bonus is that many of the old timers have contributed real life stories about Fred, which gives a real sense of the man beyond just his printed fiction.
If you like Fred Pohl, get this book. He deserves the honour, and the book certainly does him justice. If you don't like Fred Pohl, what the heck are you reading this for? Go get a John Grisham or something, you barbarian.