When prospector Bob Broadhead went out to Gateway on the Heechee spacecraft, he decided he would know which was the right mission to make him his fortune. Three missions later, now famous and permanently rich, Robinette Broadhead has to face what happened to him and what he is...in a journey into himself as perilous and even more horrifying than the nightmare trip through the interstellar void that he drove himself to take!
BONUS AUDIO: In an exclusive introduction, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer explains why Gateway is one of science fiction's all-time greatest novels.
PLEASE NOTE: Some changes were made to the original text with the permission of the author.
©1977 Frederik Pohl; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
Letting the rest of the world go by
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.
Wow, this is a good science book that is not so much about science as it is about a man and life and the problems we fall into with not being perfect. The ending is good. The build up is great and the characters are amazing. I would read it again in a second.
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.
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.
This book is told in flashback during psychotherapy of the protagonist. It includes a few hours of banter between the patient and the AI therapist program to flesh out that aspect of the story. I found this to be a unique and unexpected way to move a narrative along, and I enjoyed it. Pohl does a fine job. It's not the best Sci-Fi book ever, but in a world of horrible ones it is a solid, enjoyable entry, with a memorable main character.
Very good story. Narration by Oliver Wyman was great, as usual -- the problem for me, is that I associate his voice with the main character in a couple of other very popular book series. It takes a little while to separate his performance in this book, and to begin to "hear" the voice of Robinette, the protagonist in this book.
Come on! It's Gateway... Interesting structure in storytelling and just a good book. Soon as I can I am going to get the rest of them in the series.
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.
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!!
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?
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