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83 Reviews
5 star:
 (51)
4 star:
 (15)
3 star:
 (9)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real classic
I've just noticed that this is due to be published in the SF Masterworks series, wiith the original US paperback cover, even!
I read this about 20 years ago, not long after it came out in 1977, and again a couple of times since. Probably my favourite Pohl book. It's the story of a man named Robinette Broadhead, his struggle to survive and make it rich in a world...
Published on 2 Mar. 1999

versus
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An easy read, an average story
Whilst reading this book I did find it quite compelling, and found it easy to get into and read through. The premise is interesting and some of the ideas are really excellent.

The parallel telling of the main character's psycho analysis in the present time along with flashback retelling of the story leading him to that point is quite well constructed...
Published on 17 May 2007 by Mr. I. A. Macpherson


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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner, 9 Jun. 2000
By A Customer
I'd played a PC text (with pictures) adventure game years ago that was based upon this book. Being one of the few adventure games I managed to complete I finally picked up the book. Brilliant! Right now I'm ordering the other books based upon the idea.
The only thing I didn't completely enjoy about it (hence the 4 instead of 5 star score) was the reflections of the rich prospector whose story the book tells. I much preferred the scenes that told his story rather than his troubled life after his Gateway trip.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking somewhat, but a compeling read, 3 Oct. 2006
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The plot was annoying and irratating at times, with sessions on the pshycyatrist bench, and classified adds etc. added in (that usually added nothing to the book).

I grew to hate the main character, but I just could stop reading the book.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old school SCI FI, 31 Dec. 2003
I enjoyed this book. It is more of a traditional SF novel in that it is about apce exploration.
Well written and entertaining. A memorable novel.
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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A "classic" to avoid, 21 Jun. 2009
By 
Patrick Borer - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
So - this book won the Hugo and Nebula awards? It's not easy to understand why, at least nowadays. Maybe it was in some way innovative in 1977, most probably it was, but now it seems surprisingly bland and rather poorly written. Later authors of space SF such as Iain M. Banks clearly surpass this book (which is the only one by Frederik Pohl I've read so far) in originality of thought as well as in beauty of language and convincing insight into the protagonist's mind. The basic idea of "Gateway" is certainly nice. However, the author doesn't build much upon it - instead, there is a lot of repetition and stretching; the novel cold be compressed into a short story (maybe a somewhat lengthy one) without losing much substance. Sadly, there is also nothing particularly interesting about the writing style to compensate for this; it's very plain, unpoetic prose. This is a book that has not aged well, especially when compared to other "classic" SF novels e.g. by Stanislaw Lem, the Strugatsky brothers, or Philip K. Dick. Nearly every book written by those three (and some other) authors still seems fresh, gripping, surprising, even though the "futuristic" technology may be heavily outdated in some cases. "Gateway" on the other hand is stale. Apart from the lacklustre writing and the tendency to stretch his main idea instead of building upon it, the author also has an unfortunate weakness for cheap psychology, resulting in many boring pages of conversation between the protagonist and his AI psychiatrist and "revelations" of a most unsurprising kind, already fully expected by the reader after a small fraction of said psychology rigmarole. All things considered: a "classic" to avoid.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Am I missing something??????????, 21 Jun. 1998
By A Customer
Along with tau zero this is my least favorite classic science fiction book. It won so many awards & is so highly praised that it is ,I admit, a classic. It did have good ideas, which it mostly ignored. Instead it talked about bleak characters, in a bleak world, doing bleak things in a bleak way,etc. Also this book gave me way too much information on the main character's sexual dysfunctions. Maybe my personal prejudices got in the way of my enjoyment of this book. For instance I dislike unrelenting bleakness & don't believe in psychology. Still I do not understand why I am the only person who disliked this book.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Old fashioned future scenario, 8 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
Yeah, a good book and an interesting read since the reason why the character became so rich keeps you turning the pages. But steady on, because right now we are on the brink of the 21st Century and reading this is like watching an old black and white Flash Gordon series. It's science fiction, yes, but its hopelessly outdated now. You can't help but smile at some of the old concepts being bandied around in this book, such as Freudian analysis and the description of the plastic robot psychologist. I found the whole basis of the book to be flawed and typical of science fiction from the 50's to the 80's i.e stary eyed characters without a hint of true human maliciousness which has dominated our species for centuries and also wide sweeping comments concerning space travel which simply havent stood the test of time for the modern reader. A classic? Lets just say it sums up the whole of science fiction literature before the words 'digital' and 'nanotech" and 'virtual' became household words even for children. A classic to be compared with Dickens or Tolstoy? No. However, save yourself 30 years of sci-fi literature from 1950-1980 (with the possible exception of 2001) and read it and smile.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How can sci - fi be this dull?, 23 April 2013
By 
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This review is from: Gateway (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Like others, I thought I would try this book because it was listed as one of the Sci-Fi Masterworks.

I really am not sure why this book won any prizes. It is so dull and bland. Or maybe that is why it won prizes, who knows. The only conflict to take place in the book is between the main character and his robot psychiatrist. There are no surprises, dialoague is conventional and dull, characters are pretty much the same whoever they are.

If your main character is at least interesting to listen to, that helps, but he is just so dull and depressing all the time. If he was at least competent at something, or in some way progressive and invigorating, rather just a passive character, that would also help.

Everything about Gateway Station or the Heechee ships is also described in a minimal and uninteresting fashion.

And lastly, there is nothing in the book to blow your mind.
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4 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 4 Dec. 2002
By 
R. J. Hole (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
I've never really read much of Pohl's and thought it would be a good idea to try his 'classic', Gateway, which won the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1977/78 (not to mention the Locus and J W Campbell).

To me, this was another case of: What was all the fuss about? It's an average sci-fi novel, fairly readable but no a lot going on at times. The thing that sets it apart from other sci-fi novels is that the 'hero' is a coward, cries a lot and is not very good at forming relationships with women.

Gateway is a space station which had been discovered in a non-ecliptic orbit around the Sun. It was left by 'Heechees' before the civilisation of mankind. Those who can afford the flight to Gatway can become 'prospectors', i.e. they fly off in a spaceship to an unknown destination. There are 4 possible results: they come back empty-handed, they discover something that they get paid for, they come back dead or they don't come back at all. The odds are stacked against them but the rewards are so high that they keep trying.

The text is interspersed with memos, extracts from lectures, parts of computer programs, mission reports, etc. There are also two stories being told alternately; one is the main story of Bob Broadhead living on Gateway and going on missions when he plucks up the courage, the other is further in the future when he is back on earth and having sessions with a computerised psychotherapist.

Given that this was a double award winner I perhaps had to high an expectation. Perhaps the literary devices detracted from making it a good read.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A So-called Master of Science Fiction, 22 Mar. 2014
By 
Mrs. J. M. Faulding "Heidi" (Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Gateway (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
I found this hard to read. Perhaps it was too technical for me, but I have read many science fiction books (none by Pohl) and the reviews mislead me somewhat.
I was extremely disappointed in the "storytelling" style. He cannot paint a clear picture - not like for instance Asimov, or Pratchett.
I like to be able to visualise quickly what the writer is describing, or what he is experiencing. This did not fulfill my expectations at all.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars old fashioned future scenario, 8 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
Yeah, a good book and an interesting read since the reason why the character became so rich keeps you turning the pages. But steady on, because right now we are on the brink of the 21st Century and reading this is like watching an old black and white Flash Gordon series. Its science fiction, yes, but its hopelessly outdated now. You cant help but smile at some of the old concepts being bandied around in this book, such as Freudian analysis and the description of the robot psychologist. I found the whole basis of the book to be flawed and typical of science fiction from the 50's to the 70's i.e stary eyed characters without a hint of true human maliciousness which has dominated our species for centuries, and also wide sweeping comments concerning space travel which just havent stood the test of time for the modern reader. A classic? Lets just say it sums up the whole of science fiction literature before the words 'digital' and 'nanotech" and 'virtual' became household words even for children. A classic to be compared with Dickens or Tolstoy? No. However, save yourself 30 years of sci-fi literature from 1950-1980 (with the possible exception of 2001) and read it and smile.
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Gateway (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Gateway (S.F. MASTERWORKS) by Frederik Pohl (Paperback - 29 Mar. 2010)
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