One of the best and most unique sci-fi books I have ever read. It was mainly unique from a character point of view and the going back and forth from the past to the present. It was awesome!!
I read Gateway back in the '70s and remembered it as a book that sounded cool but disappointed me. Looking back, I wondered if perhaps it was just too mature or too difficult for me to relate to at a young age so I decided to give the audiobook a try. Oliver Wyman's reading is excellent and author Frederick Pohl's basic premise of abandoned alien ships that launch to pre-programmed, but unknown, destinations is one of the better ideas in science fiction. The book never quite delivers on the evocative promise of it's central idea, never quite evokes the sense of wonder, or horror, that you might expect from it. Instead, it focuses on it's flawed central character, Robinet Broadhead, as he faces both his fear of the unknown and the psychological after effects of a journey in one of the alien vessels. It makes for an interesting story but there's so little exploration of the intriguing concept that it's ultimately disappointing. We get a feel for Broadhead's experience but not enough of a feel for what humanity is finding out there, what the alien ships (and alien constructed setting of Gateway itself) are like. The author almost seems disinterested in them. They're a means of exploring Broadhead's character but as a character, he's not fully developed enough for that goal to make Gateway a completely satisfying read.
In the end, while Gateway is a good book and I can recommend it, my second experience with it was as disappointing as the first. If you choose to listen, just go in knowing this book is primarily a character study. Armed with that information, you may enjoy it much more than I did.
The concept of the Heechee and the technology they left behind is fascinating. It is a solid science fiction concept that would have been really interesting to pursue. Unfortunately, this book doesn’t explore the Heechee and their technology nearly enough. It dwells on Rob Broadhead, a blue collar minor on Earth lucky enough to win a lottery and travel to Gateway an become an interstellar explorer /miner.
Instead of going out to risk life and limb to learn about the universe and possibly become a wealthy man, Rob spends his time fearing the risks and acting as a coward.
Pohl tells Rob’s story through his time with a psychiatrist (computer based) and his memories of the events as they happened. The story telling is reasonably clever but not new (even in the 1980.) What should be the setup for an adventure ends up being the entire story. The ending (I won’t ruin it for you) reveals why Rob has such issues with this wealth and fame and why he feels incredibly guilty for his good fortune.
For me it just wasn’t that clever. Rob is a coward who lacks a moral compass and is generally the architect of his own misery. He is not a character the reader really wants to get to know. I was quite repulsed by his actions and choices and generally felt sorry for him throughout the story.
Most of the other characters weren’t any better. I expect that was by design but it didn’t resonate with me. There was so much potential for a diverse cast. Instead all the characters were similarly sick and flawed.
The story that was there to be told didn’t ever happen. Instead we learn why Rob is even more screwed up than he was before he became a “success”. The story should have centered more on the Heechee. If I someday read any of the other books in the series I hope that race will be further explored.
Went by too fast. That's how much I enjoyed. It's definite human and feeling while in a most incredible journey and professional. It could be anywhere .
Very week crafted and engaging ... all while making points all the way down to the most personal, intimate levels. AND the performance was very enjoyable for me esp through the variety and distinctions of the voices. A winner!
I normally don't listen to the older sci-fi classics. they often seem dated and immature compared to Modern stories. This one however was regarded as one of the best classic sci-fi novels and I found that I totally agree. I've just discovered that there are several sequels to this novel and anxiously anticipate listening to those as well.
This audio book has a forward by Robert J. Sawyer, one of my favorite sci-fi authors stating that this is his favorite sci-fi book of all times. After listening to it I see why. I am not sure it is my favorite of all time but it is without a doubt an exceptional book.
The science is real, the approach to the unknown is real and believable and the human events and emotions are on the edge of painful for most of the book.
Fantastic, so well written that the reader doesn't really know what the underlying drama is about until the very end.
This is my first Frederik Pohl book. It will not be my last.
I could have used a bit more time on missions and a bit less time in the shrink office. The basic premise is inventive and has so much potential that it overcomes the shortcomings and distractions. Worth a read but be prepared for a fair bit of time "not in space".
I like that while alien tech has been discovered, there is an actual risk when using it and that they don't really know how it works. This is big aspect of this book when compared to other Sci-Fi, where it seems this challenge is overcome in short order.
The chapters with Siegfried were grating, as I wanted a book that was all sci-fi space adventure. However, I kept listening and at the end all was brought into context and I have to say that now, this is one of the best written books I have encountered.
If you have started this book and put it down, pick it back up and continue.
I have completed the second book and am taking a break from sci-fi for now, but will continue on with the rest of the series.