This title was recommended to us as a Hugo & Nebula Award winner in the Audible intro to A.C. Clarke's "Rendezvous with Rama". Compelling, annoying, fascinating, and loaded with heartache and that "being there" sensation (verisimilitude), this was our best science fiction listen to date. We could hardly wait until our next listening session to see what would happen next, and how it would happen. Even though the protagonist is a bit of a jerk we have total empathy with him.
We only wish the remaining three books of Pohl's "Heechee" series were available on audio!!!
This was a very good listen. Both a space adventure and a psychological drama. It would be nice to see the rest of the books in the series available as audiobooks on audible.com.
l'enfer c'est les autres
The book has what I think is the most interesting character I've ever come across in fiction, Siegfrid von Shrink (or at least that's what the main character calls him). I found myself eagerly anticipating all of their sessions and I, the listener, was never disappointed when he was present in the story.
The book is also interesting for another reason. It's a rare book where the whole purpose for the book is really stated in the last line of the book (don't worry, I'm not giving away a spoiler, but by all means make sure you listened to the last line).
I definitely don't want to give away too much, so I'll speak circumspectly, the book explores what it means to be human and tells us why we are special in the universe and all of this comes together with the last line in the book.
I enjoyed the book, but it's definitely not pure sci-fi in the classical sense, and just dances around the physics and the science except for the character of Siegfrid von Shrink. He makes the book highly listenable and worth a credit.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
After a rather long hiatus from writing reviews, one would think that I would return with one about a well received book. Unfortunately, this is not to be the case. I was enticed to read this book based on a great review by Ryan who, it turns out, writes a great review about not so great a book. He said he read the book several times since he was a kid. While it is not a particularly interesting adult book, it is definitely Not a “kids’ book.” This book managed to capture not only the Hugo award but also the Nebula. How it did so is beyond me except there must not have been very good writing back in 1978.
The premise of the story starts off interesting: a long, disappeared race of beings leaves behind a fleet of spacecraft that present-day “prospectors” take to unknown destinations in search of wealth and fame. The destinations are unknown because the craft are not well understood and the explorer / prospectors just go along for the “programmed” ride and hopefully don’t end up dying along the way or at their destinations because after millennia the destination star system may have gone or is in the process of going nova. Or, maybe the destination is invested with poison ivy and the visitors get all itchy and scratch themselves to death. No, I’m not making this up.
The hero, who is not much of a hero, let’s just call him the protagonist, throughout the book has conversation with a robotic teddy bear who is his automated psychotherapist. These sessions include excursions into the realms of not so traditional sex to our protagonist’s relationship with his mother. I’m no prude. This is not what’s so wrong with this book. It was just all pure detritus. The book was not interesting, the narrator could not and did not save the written word. Sometimes a good narrator will do that. Not here. The book has an unsatisfying ending and in no way, shape or form could I recommend it for anyone or anything… Not for anything except maybe starting a fire in your fireplace on a day like this. And if you have a digital copy, well sorry, it’s not even good for that.
Interesting, Unusual, ok
Title sounds fine.
I've read a lot of Pohl and this was pretty good it didn't have the "wow" factor of some of his other stories and books. His story "Tunnel Under the World" is a good example of that.
A Sci Fi junkie who occasionally goes slumming to read other literature.
This is a classic novel that I recommend to SF fans. The plot is a bit simple by today's standards, but probably not for when it was written in the late 70s. It is well written with good scene and character descriptions, and good dialogue. One thing that stood out to me halfway through the book was the influence of the 60s and 70s, namely easy sex with scores of women, pot, and psychotherapy. I was highly entertained with Bob/Rob/Robbie's sessions with Sigfrid. Alternating between the sessions and the past was well done. While I considered Bob to be a total loser, I found myself wanting to know his story, and why he had a nervous breakdown. I wish there was more science and alien discovery in the novel, and that what is there were more accurate - - a common comment and criticism I have of SF novels, both new and old.
Narration: Oliver Wyman is excellent. I think I enjoyed the novel more because of him than I would have otherwise.
Mr. Pohls examination of humanity in the form of Robin Broadhead wrapped up in a Sci Fi classic from the 70's is as home today in our computer tablet and smart phone world as it was back in 1977 when it was first released in print. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this Hugo and Nebula award winning book and it re reminded me of why I took up sci fi reading all those years ago. Gateway was one of my favorite books from my teens and now as an adult and with the help of audible and Oliver Wymans expert reading of the voice of Sigmund, Robinette and all the others gives real vision to an already excellently written story. I had forgotten the subtle emotional and psychological nuances between all of his characters. Years before sophisticated computer programs Mr. Pohls artistic telling of the story of Gateway and it's computer generated and real life flawed personalities will make you smile and is a story you will not want to put down nor soon forget. I digested each of the Heechee saga books in turn and actually parceled out bits and pieces of it as to not get done with it too quickly. You must savor this trilogy like a fine wine.
Yes, I would listen to Gateway again. I liked this book very much. It is a good combination of human complexity and compelling story line with a smattering of actual science. The story is presented in a matter-of-fact way and never seems forced. Since it was written in the 77 there are the usual anachronisms, but that's the way it is with sci fi. Overall, the story holds up well and it is easy to see why it won so many awards.
The whole concept of how they get around in space.
The joining of the two story threads.
Hard to put down.
As the final scenes began to unfold, I was, to my surprise, moved to hush all external life noises surrounding me; to lie down in a silent-dark place to fully experience that rarest of moments in a readers life when one suspects that something transcendent is about to happen and one wants the honor of being fully there with the characters and the events ~ mind, body and soul. I doubt that I will ever stop pondering the kaleidoscope of challenges so softly yet deftly proposed. This is a tightly crafted book without wasted words or scenes. The science fiction is hard and intriguing and some of the best written and worthy of the Hugo and Nebula. Throughout the story one is told of future events which keeps one going to see what happens. I hated the whiney, self-absorbed, jerk of a main character before the pivotal event (why did Pohl represent him thus?) and after ~ which would cripple any saint among us. I'll leave you with a question: Are you living with it, too?
This book was recommended to my by one of my favorite authors, Robert Sawyer. I emailed him a few days ago because I have read all of his works several times and was looking for a new body of work to enjoy. I was quite pleased when I received a response the following day and Pohl seemed to be a good choice after a couple of emails back and forth.
Gateway is a thoughtful book. It is not action packed but takes place mostly in the mind of the main character and his computer-psychologist (who has a dry sense of humor and a tendency to steal all the scenes he is in! grin~). I really cant share too much without ruining the story--so I will leave it at this:
I would spend my last credit for this book. I will read/listen to this again as I am sure I will catch things I missed the first time around. If you are a SciFi fan this is a must read.
A grateful thank you to Mr. Sawyer for his 5-star recommendation.