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Gateway

Written by: Frederik Pohl
Length: 8 hrs and 37 mins
4 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Gateway opened on all the wealth of the Universe...and on reaches of unimaginable horror.

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.

What the critics say

  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1978
  • Nebula Award, Best Novel, 1978
  • John W. Campbell Memorial Award, Best Novel, 1978

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A great human tale with a dash of 1970s misogyny

it was just a couple lines but the way that the author dismissed a scene of violent abuse of a woman by man was a bit troubling

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Unique exploration of technology and human impact

This is a slow burn, which I think is great. It's a 3 dimensional Sci-Fi that explores the psyche of the main character and doesn't exclusive rely on the technology for the story. Sometimes I wondered why certain topics were being discussed but after some reflection afterwards I began to appreciate why they were included. The author explored the human implications of this random and dangerous technology in a new direction and I appreciate the book for that. #Audible1

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Blundering Humans in Space

The misogynistic tendencies of the protagonist often got in my way of liking the characters. But if you enjoy stories where the emotions of the old-school characters are paramount to the story, you may enjoy this classic very much.

#Audible1

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ryan
  • 2013-12-05

A human-focused SF classic

Gateway is a book I’ve read several times since I was a kid, and an old favorite. At eleven, I was more interested in the science fiction aspects (somehow, most of the sex and drug use went over my head), but with repeated readings, I’ve come to appreciate the human elements of the story a lot more.

To be fair, the setup is one of the coolest in science fiction. Humanity has discovered an ancient alien space station near Venus, called Gateway, which is filled with small starships. Nobody knows what happened to the Heechee or why they abandoned their base, but many of the ships are in working order and will travel by autopilot to other star systems and the planets orbiting them.

Too bad there's a catch. Not all of the ships still work perfectly after half a million years, and some of the destinations are lethal. A once temperate star might have supernova-d since the time of Heechee civilization. Nobody has a clue how Heechee technology works. So, the Gateway Corporation recruits "prospectors" willing to risk a fairly high chance of death to take images of different parts of the galaxy and bring back artifacts that the Corporation might study.

People volunteer for this mission because life on an overcrowded Earth has become pretty miserable for most, with quality medical care available only to the wealthy few (sound familiar?). One such volunteer is Robinette Broadhead, a former miner of oil shale (now used for growing foodstuffs -- yum), who wins the lottery.

Bob, as he’s called, is a pretty flawed character, a self-centered, sex-chasing man who’s also somewhat of a coward. But he’s easy to relate to, not really being a bad guy at heart, and his fear is understandable, given the horrible deaths that await many prospectors. His story unfolds in two parts, one of which follows his life and relationships from Earth to Gateway and beyond, and the other of which has the older and now fantastically rich Mr. Broadhead in sessions with an AI psychiatrist, trying to get to the root of a deep trauma that both threads will eventually converge on. (And it is a pretty terrible one.)

Some readers aren’t fans of the sessions between Robinette and the computer psychiatrist, Sigfrid von Shrink, but I loved their relationship and think it’s integral to the story, in a subtle way. I found it fun watching Bob try to trick Sigfrid, only to find that the machine’s programming was nearly always a step ahead of him.

This book isn’t really about the Heechee (see further entries in the series to learn more about them), but about the dirty, messy tension of human desires, fears, and guilt in a place that stands between life and death, known and unknown. Gateway’s a moving examination of the psychology of our existence, of how we, from the personal level up to the species level, neither want to place our hopes on a frightening gamble on the unknown, nor on the ugly, suffering-filled known, but sometimes must make a choice and face what comes.

Still a classic.

117 of 122 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kevin der Kinderen
  • 2013-12-13

Not What I Expected

This is not the typical sci-fi I normally read. In fact, while there is some good sci-fi in there to keep me interested in the story the interaction between Ziggy and Bob have me trapped in the story. I was planning to move on to some other books I've downloaded since starting this one but now I have to finish the series. Just too dang good.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard
  • 2013-05-02

Whoa! Inventive and thought provoking.

Gateway wasn't the most action packed book, but somehow still kept my attention. Great story that really makes the listener think. Not another book i can compare this too which makes it very different but still a great book. The main character isn't the most likeable person but this adds to the realism of the characters and the story. Hoping the the next book has a little more action. Could end up being a great series.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Moonhawk
  • 2016-09-26

Amazing Performances for a Great Book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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!

What did you like best about this story?

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.

What about Oliver Wyman and Robert J. Sawyer ’s performance did you like?

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.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The universe is now open to humanity, if humans can live through discovering it.

Any additional comments?

This book is well worth the price, and well worth listening to several times. Thank you for making this presentation of it.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Benjamin
  • 2009-09-17

more heechee please

Great story and reading. If you like sci-fi, don't hesitate to buy Gateway. Still fresh after 30 years. Interesting premise of space exploration via trial and error with alien technology. Hope to see more of the Pohl's Heechee books and Oliver Wyman's readings.

26 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jorden
  • 2009-10-14

Sci Fi masterpiece

One of the best sci fi I've read so far.I was deeply moved at the end of the book. The characters are amazing, and the story focuses much more on their development than on meaningless technological details you see so much in other sci fi works.

I can recommend this to any reader, your credit will be well spent!

30 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • C. Paget
  • 2009-09-13

At last!

Superb is the only word that suits. I've been hoping for this book to appeat in audio for years now, and happily this recording does not disappoint. One of the best Science Fiction (as opposed to the usual "sci-fi" trivia) books ever, and well narrated too. Hopefully this will sell like hot cakes and encourage Audible to continue with Beyond the Blue Event Horizon and the rest of the series.
Well done Audible.

38 of 46 people found this review helpful

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  • Kevin Gabbert
  • 2015-01-13

Unlikable characters but still a good story

Would you listen to Gateway again? Why?

Definitely. The characters feel very real and flawed while at the same time Pohl makes you feel this sense of wonder and adventure and terror of space.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The AI. Its the most likable character by far.

What does Oliver Wyman and Robert J. Sawyer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He's a good reader.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

"Would you go?" - shows the open hatch and dark interior of a gateway ship.

Any additional comments?

Pohl really knows how to get you into a story and make it feel real in a way few sci-fi authors can match. The whole gateway series maintained or even improved this as it progressed.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Messer
  • 2014-12-31

Pohl remains relevant.

This was my first exposure to the work of Frederik Pohl, and the result was surprising. Going in I expected this novel to be more dated and was pleasantly surprised at how fresh it was. The science fiction aspects are still thought provoking and the humanity that binds the story always will be.

Also, I've listened to many titles from this narrator, who is always great.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • thomas
  • 2014-10-08

Sigfried Von Shrink at Your Service...

Would you consider the audio edition of Gateway to be better than the print version?

Yes. Great job, one of my all time favorites on Audible.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Gateway?

The ending is very, very well done. But the juxtaposition of Robin's sessions with Sigfried vs. his memory of what happened is so well done that the entire novel is memorable. This won a Hugo Award for good reason. It is a terrific sci fi novel.

What does Oliver Wyman and Robert J. Sawyer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I read Sci Fi to be entertained, a break from my work and life itself. But elements of Gateway are pretty heavy, since much of the novel is an indictment and an endorsement of psychological counseling. The readers made it interesting but not overly dramatic. Parts of the novel deal with sex, sexual norms and it was done in a way that was not lecherous. Overall they did a great job and I cannot imagine it being done better.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No I never do that... but I listened to it pretty quickly. Although Robin is not an entirely likeable characters, I found myself wanting to know what happened. That is ultimately what a good story is to me, investing in the characters.

Any additional comments?

Great job Audible!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful