The Stonehenge Gate

The Stonehenge Gate

3.5 2
by Jack Williamson

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Visionary new SF adventure by the Hugo and Nebula award-winning author of Terraforming Earth

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Visionary new SF adventure by the Hugo and Nebula award-winning author of Terraforming Earth

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This trippy stand-alone from Hugo- and Nebula-winner Williamson reads like a novelization of Paul Verhoeven directing Jules Verne's combined rewrite of H.P. Lovecraft's The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath and C.S. Lewis's Perelandra. It follows the world-hopping adventures of four poker buddies: physicist Derek and archeologist Lupe, both so obsessed with exploration and getting grants that they have no sense of personal safety; Ram, a linguist descended from an extraterrestrial deity; and Will, a weak-willed English professor who just wants to go home. Williamson's artificial creatures are brilliant as always, so much so that the shape-shifting intelligent metal caretakers of these distant planets are more lovingly and intricately described than the people. Derek and Lupe's absence through most of the book renders them mere plot devices, and Ram and Will's search for their compatriots turns into a humorless parody of the clever dark-skinned native leading the stumbling white man through the jungle. Lush descriptions and a refreshingly brisk pace buoy the novel, but the characters are so uninteresting that disbelief soon becomes as hard to suspend as the space elevator that carries them between worlds. Agent, Eleanor Wood at the Spectrum Literary Agency. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
A group of four poker buddies from Eastern New Mexico University discover a Stonehenge-like portal to other universes. Derek Ironcraft teaches physics and astronomy; Ram (whose ancestor, Little Mama, may have been one of the first to come through the portal to Earth), teaches linguistics and African history; Lupe Vargas teaches anthropology; and Will Stone teaches English literature. It falls to Will to recount their myriad adventures trying to get to a portal to take them back to Earth. Excellent otherworldly but plausible SF. There are details like taking along dive tanks for the first foray into a portal with limited atmosphere, or about Will going back to teach a graduate seminar on Shakespeare's history plays. These ground the surreal things the four discover through some of the other portals. The book seems to be setting up a sequel in the last few lines. KLIATT Codes: SA--Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2005, Tor, 316p., $6.99.. Ages 15 to adult.
—Sherry Hoy
Library Journal
Four poker-playing friends with physics and archaeology backgrounds and connections to NASA discover an ancient artifact that leads them to the Sahara Desert. There they discover a gigantic arrangement of stone columns that form a gateway to the stars. First together, then separately, Derek, Ram, Lupe, and Will travel from world to world, always searching for something just beyond their grasp. Displaying a knack for writing compact stories with ever-expanding themes, the author of Terraforming Earth combines space adventure with science fantasy in a book that challenges the imagination at every turn. A solid addition to most sf collections. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A new adventure by one of the surviving giants of the pulp era (Terraforming Earth, 2001, etc.). Will, an English professor, is one of four faculty members at a New Mexico college who get together for regular poker games and gab sessions. One night, Derek, an astronomer and physicist, shows his colleagues aerial radar photos of a rock formation under the Sahara sands: stone trilithons looking like huge gates. Intrigued, the friends pool resources to explore this Stonehenge-like structure. Almost as soon as they find it, a large insect-like creature emerges from the gate and captures Lupe, a brilliant anthropologist. The other three enter the gate hoping to rescue her. This takes them on a series of adventures through strange worlds connected by the gates. Eventually, Derek is captured by another of the insect-like creatures, which they now suspect to be robots. Attempting to find him, Will and Ram end up in a world plagued by racial conflict. A luminous birthmark convinces the black inhabitants that Ram is their god Anak, returned from the dead to liberate them. That eventually sets off a civil war, in which much of the planet is devastated by a deadly plague apparently released by the natives, who are immune to it. Just as the plague seems to be finished, Will and Ram discover another trilithon and escape to still another world. Finally they are reunited with Derek and Lupe and begin to learn the secrets of the ancients who built the trilithons. Low-key but inventive adventure.
SF Review
"One of Williamson's strongest and most entertaining …"

"The amazingly durable Jack Williamson turn out another wild, old style adventure story.... as effective as ever."

The San Diego Union-Tribune
"As you might expect from an author who's been in print in nine decades now, it's a well-crafted . . . story."

From the Publisher
"The amazingly durable Jack Williamson turn out another wild, old style adventure story. There aren't many writers producing this kind of wild, inventive excitement any more, but Williamson proves to be as effective as ever."

Chronicle on The Stonehenge Gate

"One of Williamson's strongest and most entertaining …"

SF Review on The Stonehenge Gate

"In Jack Williamson's The Stonehenge Gate, a quartet of poker-playing academics decide to check out a circle of trilithons (yeah, that Stonehenge) revealed under Sahara sands by ground-penetrating radar. Yep, they're gates, and they go to different places, with different humans and Earthlike life. They also go to machine-guarded cities and strange binary planets and other circles of trilithons. As you might expect from an author who's been in print in nine decades now, it's a well-crafted…story."

—The San Diego Union-Tribune

"I have no hesitation in placing Jack Williamson on a plane with two other American giants, Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein."

—Arthur C. Clarke on Jack Williamson

"Jack Williamson is a man of extraordinary talent and consummate humility, of penetrating intelligence and great kindness, a scholar and a gentleman."

—Connie Willis, author of Doomsday Book, on Jack Williamson

"Jack Williamson's work, spanning most of the century, has inspired countless minds."

—David Brin, author of Startide Rising and The Postman, on Jack Williamson

"This man can do anything."

—Frederik Pohl, author of Gateway, on Jack Williamson

"A pioneering writer, breaking ground in new areas long before most of us had learned how to read."

—Ben Bova, author of Venus, on Jack Williamson

"Jack Williamson is one of those fortunate, gifted writers whose readers feel their lives changed because of his work."

The New York Review of Science Fiction on Jack Williamson

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The Stonehenge Gate

By Williamson, Jack

Tor Science Fiction

Copyright © 2006

Williamson, Jack

All right reserved.

ISBN: 0765347954

A Gate...

The rocks were identical: two square columns of smooth black stone, some ten feet square and spaced twice as far apart.

Derek squinted, and said "I think it's the lintel stone that lay across the top to frame the gate."

"Gate to where?" Lupe asked.

"To hell," Ram shrugged "If you remember my Little Mama's tales. She was certainly terrified of whatever she thought might follow her through the gate."

Derek was already tramping on to study the nearest stone. It was an odd black granite, veined with thin green streaks, perfectly squared and polished slick. "I'm no geologist," he said, "but I never saw a stone like this. It certainly wasn't quarried anywhere near here. No culture so old ever worked stone so well."

Ram and I followed. I heard him gasp. When I turned back, he was gone.

"Ram!" Lupe was calling. "Ram!"

We heard no answer. We scattered out to search the sand around us and found no footprints, no sign of him or where he had gone. We were gathering again in the shadow of the column when he came staggering back out of nowhere and fell on his face right beside me...


Excerpted from The Stonehenge Gate
by Williamson, Jack
Copyright © 2006 by Williamson, Jack.
Excerpted by permission.
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