Instead of this book, read the anthology "Gateways" put together by Pohl's wife Betty Hull in honor of his 90th birthday and which is about the best collection I've listened to. I honestly can't see how this could win any award. The book is so bad that I wondered if the Hugo and Nebula are either rigged, or were manipulated by an organized campaign of a small number of insiders. There are two narrative lines. First, a whiny, self absorbed, narcissist, moans and acts out with infantile rants to a machine psychologist. Over and over again. This whole line was annoying. Second, the same selfish guy, mopes endlessly around a space station because he doesn't realize until after training that he's too chicken to go into deep space. He is cowardly, self centered, and just a miserable jerk. Get drunk and don't show up for work? No problem. Sleep around? No problem but get outraged if your girlfriend does. Then an astounding amount of nothing happens. When he returns from one woman's bed to beat a former girlfriend to a pulp in front of a child and does it because the former girlfriend slept with the same man he slept with, well, that was it for me. Maybe if he had happily ended up with the guy it'd have made a really interesting twist to an otherwise annoying and tedious story. Not every SF novel needs to share a sense of wonder about the universe or honor those who explore it, or those who use their minds, and this one certainly doesn't. Not a single character is driven by a desire for knowledge, wonder or discovery. It's all a bunch of get-rick-quick dreamers. It's a miserable steel town after anyone with character or who valued an education and desired to work their way out is already gone and it reads like one. If the protagonist were to be spaced in the final chapter it wouldn't save the story but it'd help. Almost nothing happens in this book even though the initial premise is great. The performance was great. The character of Dane was one of the best voice characterizations I've heard. Too bad it was performed for this miserable mess.
Any likable character with even one redeemable quality. Someone with desire, a dream or a healthy relationship. A lot less whining and acting like a spoiled brat by the protagonist. It was clear Pohl intended to portray him as such as he has the character whining to a large stuffed teddy bear in a nursery room for his annoying and endless therapy sessions. Why? It's just not fun to read.
Dane. Marvelous subtle characterization. Close second was the performance of the protagonist, the only reason I nearly made it through the book. These guys are good.
Disappointment and frustration. I really wonder how this could win awards. Perhaps Pohl was such a figure in the SF world that the politics required it.
Space travel not so fun
The Shrink well there is only 2 in the actual story
Not yet I will I have a long wish list
Being back form space is the hard part
A must reed for every ScyFi fan
I was disappointed with this book after seeing the good reviews. The story could have been better if the author stuck to exploring with the ships and finding aliens or some cool alien hardware which doesn't happen. Most of the book is the main character talking to his therapist which made me fall asleep. He goes on missions but nothing interesting happens. They fly out and fly back. Whoopee. Then you have talk about him having gay sex and later beating the heck out of his girlfriend. Then he leaves her in a black hole and the main reason he's talking to a therapist the whole book. I fell asleep multiple times because it wasn't a exciting book.
I don't think I will read the next one.
The narrator seemed to be ok.
The narrator was great. I wished there was more sci-fi and Robbie was a coward and a dick. He didn't do anything worthy of his current easy lifestyle. I like the story but hated Robbie.
Not sure why this won awards. I kept waiting for something to happen, but it was primarily a story about a guy needing therapy.
I loved this book as a child and I loved it even more now. The real beauty of the book is that the protagonist really is just as horrible a person as he thinks he is. For most of the book, the reader is compelled to support him, despite his crippling emotional problems -- even pity him for them. The final reveal at the end of the book changes your view of him completely. It's very unexpected to the reader, but not unanticipated by the story. And when you're still reeling from that, Sigfrid von Shrink closes the book with one of the most powerful scenes I've read/heard.
The narration of this book is solid, each character has a distinct voice without resorting to silly accents. The scenes with Sigfrid are extremely well acted, without too much melodrama, but enough trembling and emotion in the voice of the main character (and their complete absence in the voice of Sigfrid) to really convey the story effectively.
One of the things I'd really like to see is a revised edition where they include the sidebars with contextual fragments (letters, quotes from magazines, corporation regulations) that were in the original text, but are missing here. Perhaps use a separate narrator for those.
Apart from that, this was a thoroughly enjoyable listen for me. One of the only bugbears I have is that Pohl's original characters seem sometimes to be racial caricatures. (Bakin is a name basically reserved for a famous japanese novelist. No one is called Bakin anymore. Shikitei isn't a name, and Ituno isn't even a name that can be pronounced in Japanese. Dane isn't a russian name, etc.). Many sci-fi authors are guilty of this, though (I'm looking at you, Orson Scott Card).
Definitely. The characters feel very real and flawed while at the same time Pohl makes you feel this sense of wonder and adventure and terror of space.
The AI. Its the most likable character by far.
He's a good reader.
"Would you go?" - shows the open hatch and dark interior of a gateway ship.
Pohl really knows how to get you into a story and make it feel real in a way few sci-fi authors can match. The whole gateway series maintained or even improved this as it progressed.
This audiobook, really kept me on the edge of my seat ready for something substantial to happen. Which unfortunately never did. Still an enjoyable book.
Never have before, but I'm a fan now. He saved this book by his performance.
the psycho-analysis parts are pure brilliance. This book is really about a guy who faces up to his feelings and fears, rather than the space opera I was expecting. Those parts of the book are what really save it.
This was my first exposure to the work of Frederik Pohl, and the result was surprising. Going in I expected this novel to be more dated and was pleasantly surprised at how fresh it was. The science fiction aspects are still thought provoking and the humanity that binds the story always will be.
Also, I've listened to many titles from this narrator, who is always great.
If the author would of made the Science Fiction a bigger part of this book. Sadly, it's only a background noise until the very end.
A Larry Niven novel.
Their performance is really good. Too bad it did not make the story any better.
The narrator did an excellent job.
This book has very little science, a short plot, and very little that could be interpreted as entertaining. The vast majority of the book focused on dialog and character development. It felt more like a space soap opera instead a Science Fiction novel.
Half way through the book, entire dialog scenes seemed to get longer. Characters at Casinos, sex, parties, and a lot, a lot of talking. Repeat that about a dozen times and you have this book. Any interesting things that happen were glossed over very quickly. Even the ending of the book was a disappointment. It was very unsatisfying. Would not recommend to anyone.