Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Gateway by Frederik Pohl

“Anyway, that's what life is, just one learning experience after another, and when you're through with all the learning experiences you graduate and what you get for a diploma is, you die.”

In case the 5 out of 5 rating didn't tip you off, I really enjoyed this. It shouldn't work with he interruptions of advertisements, counselling sessions and the like, but it does. I was fully transfixed and transported to Gateway and the strange technology of the Heechee.

One of my favourite types of fiction is the genre-bending variety. This is classic sci-fi and recalls the tropes of the Western, bringing a sense of settling a new frontier on the back of pre-existing culture that is poorly understood.

The human race uses a spaceport full of ships left behind by an alien race to seek out more opportunities among the stars. Their understanding of how these ships work is rudimentary at best and a job seeking to plunder the universe's plenty can be lucrative but deadly.

I just loved that the protagonist is complex emotionally and the non-linear story telling style contributed to the sense of suspense. Sex is space, complicated relationships? This one has you covered. There is a lot going on here: shame, suspense, oh heck it has a treasure trove of emotional chaos perfectly suited to today's turbulent times. It seems that a one way ticket to space won't sort out all your problems, even when it includes full medical coverage.

I've told you too much dear reader. I say crack open the spine yourself and see why this novel still seems fresh some forty years after it was written. Why it won so many awards and why I really liked it. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

5 out of 5 black holes can really prolong the drama.

5 out of 5, 

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