Frederik Pohl
Gateway Cover

Gateway GMRC review


I knew nothing of the "Heechee" novels when I started Gateway. I can now say that I would probably read another novel in the series. Very thought-provoking concept. A concept I believe Richard Morgan (among others, perhaps) may have "borrowed" for the Takeshi Kovacs novels--particularly Broken Angels. In fact, the reason I gave only 4 stars is because I would have liked a little more "hard sci-fi" details about the Heechee technology.

The novel is basically Rob Broadhead relating his Gateway experiences from two perspectives; first-hand retelling of his time on Gateway alternating with a recounting of numerous visits to his robotic shrink.

What makes this novel unique is the depth to which Rob Broadhead's character is explored. This may go without saying since roughly half the novel recounts visits to the aforementioned robo-shrink. However, this level of character development is somewhat atypical for hard (or any) sci-fi novels. And it was enjoyable...up to the point where you wanted to beat the crap out of Mr. Broadhead. He is not likable at all. But, again, that's what makes this book unique. It's very interesting to read about a character who is so self-absorbed that he can't even take the time to appreciate his crazy good luck. Passages that could have easily read, "Holy crap, I'm on a spaceship to god-knows-where" instead read, "Holy crap, my mother didn't hug me enough."

Gateway is not your usual sci-fi fare. And I think only Pohl could pull this off. Creating a truly fascinating sci-fi concept...and then forgoing detailed explanations of it in favor of exploring the psyche of a self-centered sociopath. There are not many authors that could succeed with this formula.

Nonetheless, I look forward to learning more about the Heechee!