‘Gateway’ Book Review

Mount Readmore Book Review, 2017 31/100

Gateway By Frederik Pohl

Paperback Edition

Dropped on 3/21/2017


Genres: Sci Fi, Psychological, Space Exploration

No Rating

Spoiler-tastic Review

I tried to read this for the Sword and Laser book club.

I made it through the first 150 pages (of a 275p book) before I called quits. I just did not like this book. This book had two intermixed halves- parts which take place in the past and parts in the future. I found when I was reading the past I was so bored I was desperate to read about the the future, and when we were in the future I was desperate to read about the past. I found very little about his story to be enjoyable.

I’ll give this book one thing: Robbie Broadhead, the POV, is a fully fleshed out character. I hate his guts, and pity him. In the past he’s nervous about his faster-than-light shuttleflights, falls in love and doesn’t spend his limited money well. In the future Robbie is a complete and utter asshole to his robot psychiatrist who’s rich but still doesn’t spend his money well. I can totally see this man existing in the real world. He is also the sort of person who I just don’t like reading about.

This is a book clearly ‘of its time,’ namely the 1970’s. It makes passing reference to there being 25 billion people on the planet, a number today’s population experts think is too high. His robot psychiatrist uses Freudian techniques, dream studies and straps his patient down every time he visits voluntarily. No modern doctor would do any of that! All the machines use tapes and analog controls, not digital storage or controls.  For me the modern reader my suspension of disbelief is always ruined whenever these come up.

I did like the ‘food mines’ as a concept. Normally I hate dystopian settings, but the mere concept of growing edible mushrooms using fracked oil is just ingenious. Similarly I liked the mysteriousness of the Heechee, the unknown precursors who left behind so many ruins and spaceships.

I can understand why this book is so beloved in the genre. It’s characterization is excellent and the setting is fantastic. Unfortunately it just pushes all my buttons wrong so I couldn’t finish it. Give it a shot, maybe you’ll like it where I didn’t.

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