Frederik Pohl was on a streak when this Hugo Award-finalist novel was published in 1980. Now back in print after an absence of nearly a decade, this unique science fiction novel is as fresh and entertaining as ever. The story begins when the hero of Gateway finances an expedition to a distant alien spaceship that may end famine forever. On the ship, the explorers find a human boy, and evidence that reveals a powerful alien civilization is thriving on a transport ship headed right for Earth….
©1980 Frederik Pohl (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
“Certainly very few books have ever held my attention in such an iron grip right up until the last paragraph, built so irresistibly to such a satisfying series of blockbuster punch lines, left me so breathless with admiration, achieved such truly cosmic scope.” (Analog)
“The kind of mind-opening conceptualization that makes the universe seem very vast and beautiful indeed. In short, this is a book that fulfills SF’s ability to entertain intelligently.” (The Chicago Sun-Times)
My taste vary. I love a good, blood stained horror, but also a well written kids story. Lots of Sci-Fi, but also Hist. Fiction. No boring!!!
I give this five stars, but it is not as a strong five star as Gateway. You want to read Gateway first.
SHANTY TOWNS NEVER DISAPPEAR THEY BECOME INSTITUTIONALIZED.
I read Gateway when I was in my 20's and then I read this. At the time I could not understand it enough to enjoy it. I don't know if it is because I am older or because I listened on audible, but I found I really liked it this time around. I like Sci-Fi and I like reading about space travel. It is amazing how little Sci-Fi actually has space travel. When they have space travel it usually involves the military. This has a family in space, making it easier for me to picture myself in space.
This kept my attention. Toward the end there was some heavy math and physics. I had a little problem staying with Pohl on that, but as a whole I enjoyed the read and want to go on to the third book. As I grow older I seem to appreciate Pohl's ability to look into the future and write about it.
Chock full of spoilers (generalized). In this book, which is a sequel to Gateway, you've got new characters, you've got new aliens. Pohl zooms in on various characters, light years away from one another, and follows specific individuals. Wyman's vocalizations are distinct. One of them is very annoying--a young character that he feels compelled to always have shouting as if they are trying to prevent someone from yanking their shorts up their ass-crack.
Pohl gloriously zooms out in the book's latter part, allowing three major aspects of the Heechee phenomenon to be told. Just when you think the telescope has brought you to a logical end view of the picture, Pohl either backs away to a whole new extensions, or directs you to a microscope or CAT Scan of the subject at hand.
My big problem--which may or may not be cleared up in later installments--is that there is no action regarding Clara's plight. I thought "beyond" meant into, past, pioneering, discovering--as in "into." Instead, it's about dismissing, "getting over with," setting aside.
In that sense, I was really disappointed.
Finding the cause of the madness that recurred on earth on a regular basis--and how that madness changed according to the specific transmitter. Finding the purpose of the ubiquitous Heechee artifacts.
The variety of voices--except the hysterical one mentioned above. Boy, did that grate on my nerves.
The meeting of the travelers and the young castaway. The description of the activity of "first contact" was outrageous, pathetic, natural, shocking, and liberating!
I focus mainly on History, Endurance Sports and Science/Speculative Fiction books.
Absolutely! Pohl is an underrated author. He comes out of the classic Sci Era of Asimov and Clarke and I think compares favorably to both. This is big concept Sci Fi, without a lot of action relative to fighting or horror. Much of the narrative is similar to Asimov (logic and plot conveyance) but with a significant amount of hard science. Astrophysics is at the heart of this second novel in the series and I thought it was terrific. I do not understand why Pohl is to regarded more highly, maybe because the novel format moved away from these internally driven narratives to more outward, action based stories at home in the movies or TV.
Well Robin is the star here but honestly I thought Albert Einstein was just as engaging as Siegfried Von Shrink in Gateway. This is not as heavy of a novel and Albert adds some coif relief and is a great device to explain astophysics. Very clever of Pohl.
Well his work in Gateway was tremendous, this is just as good. His voice for Robin shows his advanced age and the other characters are great.
"Hope you paid attention in high school physics"!
This is a solid series. Because Gateway was such a classic book, some readers might be put off by this second installment. It is a much different narrative and style. Don't compare the two, Pohl is moving the story forward and to do that he needed to tell the story differently. After a bit I got used to it and I was rewarded a story that I very much enjoyed. I plan on finishing the remaining books in the series. If you like Asimov, Clarke and Bradbury you will enjoy this book. Its clever, a little corny and educational.
It may just be because I'm rereading a series I really enjoyed in my youth, but I just can't stop listening to this series. I'm picking up on stuff I missed the last time I read this series and the story is keeping me very focused. Must get some sleep tonight!!! No more marathon listening sessions. I may need Sigmund to help me through this problem.
No. It just seems to meander. Characters aren't engaging.
I was glad it was over so I could listen to something better.
Pohl, I believe, is spot on when it comes to the possibilities of life in our universe and the evolution of mankind. Well written but slow at some points. Narrator is good but makes many in corrected voice mistakes sometimes making the dialog confusing i.e. Male/female. It is still a pleasing listen.
So, first off, Oliver Wyman does a fine job with all the characters save two. The teenage boy, Wan, is said in the text to have a high, annoying voice, and when Wyman doe this, he sounds *exactly* like Dean from the Venture Brothers. The 'Oldest One' robot is apparently imagined here as having a deep, sepulchral voice, but the best Oliver can manage is sleepy-sounding. Otherwise, the performance is fine.
The story is utterly disappointing, and more than a little confusing. Where did the sleep guns come from? Why did we spend so much time on the 'squint' character, if she didn't turn out to be the 'Oldest One' after all? Did Peter go into the dream couch as he was dying on purpose? Why? Why did Henrietta happen to spout a critical plot point that no one knew was important at the time when they talked to her? What was the 'Oldest One's' big plan anyway? If the Heechee took some proto-human hominids from Africa a few million years ago and put them on Heechee heaven and subjected them to an intelligence-seeking breeding program, why are they so far behind naturally-evolved humans in the book? Why is it obvious to every reader that the old ones are human ancestors, but no one in the book realizes that for chapters and chapters?
In the end, it's a big mess that ends with an un-dramatic thud as the only villain is killed with one lucky shot and everyone goes back home. Then follows almost an hour of exposition by the most-boring-est character as he drones on explaining everything the author didn't bother to include in the actual plot and setting it up for a sequel in a completely desultory way. No thanks.
While the Hee-chee story line is a great one, this book seems to have been written as a means to an end; it is an underwhelming and anti-climactic bridge between the first and third novels in this series.
I would have preferred a more satisfying ending.
Don't want to give it away, but the "prayer fans" revelation was interesting.
It inspired me to avoid further sequels, unfortunately.
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