Book Notes: Gateway

I was recently copying a lot of my pages of old Amazon wishlist items into Paperbackswap to see if the items were already available there, and if they were, to get them. I’m only part-way through the process when I found a copy of Gateway by Frederik Pohl. As far as I know, I’ve never read anything by him before.

The story drops us into a rather grim future Earth, one where Malthus was right, and people are mining oil out of shale, not for energy, but as feedstock for microbial processes which produce edible food for humans. But, they’ve also discovered an asteroid in our solar system with tunnels drilled into it by a vacant alien race (the Heechee) — they’d previously discovered evidence of prior settlements on Venus as well.

The best part of all is that this asteroid which had been turned into a space station had a bunch of small ships attached to it. And, while they are half a million years old, they frequently work. People are still trying to figure out how to set the destination in the FTL (faster than light) drives of these ships, so taking one out for a spin is risky work. However, if you can pay the fee to get transported to this asteroid, you can be a prospector in one of these crews taking the abandoned ships to previously-unvisited destinations, some of which offer artifacts and technologies that are in great demand back home. Many other destinations (or the trips there) kill you.

And then every other chapter is the main character, later in life, talking to a computer psychoanalyst. That part wasn’t terribly engaging, but it did (along with the other chapters) build up to a pretty clever conclusion. I’ll probably read the sequels.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *