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)
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!
No. It just seems to meander. Characters aren't engaging.
I was glad it was over so I could listen to something better.
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