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.
I've read this book several times but wanted to listen to it anyway and it was a real pleasure. Well read/performed.
A unique look at a potential future, where the ability for space travel was not discovered through technological innovation, but rather accidently found.
Performance was outstanding. Enjoyed it more than when I originally read the book
This is classic SciFi but I could imagine that the story could be told as a horror/scary movie.
Fun easy listen
I haven't listen to either sawyer or wyman. I would love to hear more from them.
The characters in the book were enjoyable. It was such a pleasure to like the characters, have an interesting plot. It was so much fun listening to the therapy sessions and exciting to find out why the plot plays out the way it does. Please bring more of the series.
Exciting times in a battle to survive against a vicious race and a grizzly environment. Human persistence, intellect, courage, and sacrifice lead to a surprise ending.
a Tech Exec who loves the stories about what could be and what should have been. Mixed with histories told from an outside perspective.
This was an interesting piece of I think science fiction. The book is very bi-polar (I appoligize to those who know the clinical definition). The book chapter by chapter phases between a "current time" sessions with a psychoanalyzing computer, and a mans journey into space as a prospector. So, you get two books in one. A journey through a troubled mind, and a journey through space. I enjoyed space much better.
This novel won both the Hugo and Nebula awards for a reason. The Narrators just about make love to this story, characterizing it. Amazing performances!
It's a novel about a man, a very normal man, who lived through extraordinary circumstances and has to deal with survivor's guilt.
The ideas here are phenomenal, world class science fiction ideas, but it's about the man, not the ideas. That makes it special.
They really brought the characters to life. I laughed a lot, and damn near cried at least once. I experienced a novel I have read a dozen times in a new way that I loved.
The universe is now open to humanity, if humans can live through discovering it.
This book is well worth the price, and well worth listening to several times. Thank you for making this presentation of it.
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".
If you want to wander around for a while in a mind filled with copious amounts of self-persecution for things he has no control over and who spends plenty of time torturing himself about not wanting to risk the opportunity of either throwing his life away in a splashy/squishy manner or striking it rich (with no real choice in which he gets), then this is the book for you. And let's not forget the interludes in the psychologist's office, where he blames all of his life's choices or failure to choose on his mommy issues.
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.