The Barnes & Noble Review
Frederik Pohl's 1976 classic Gateway -- one of only a handful of novels that have won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards -- is the story of an alien way station containing hundreds of preprogrammed starships and of the daring humans who risk their lives to pilot them to their unknown destinations.
Gateway, the first of numerous Heechee novels by Pohl (Beyond the Blue Event Horizon, Heechee Rendezvous, et al.), deftly blends poignant psychodrama with hard science fiction. The story's much-flawed protagonist, Robinette Broadhead, is what most people would call a lucky man. A poor miner in Wyoming destined to spend the rest of his dismal existence laboring away underground, Rob fatefully wins a local lottery and uses almost all his winnings to buy a ticket to Gateway, an ancient alien space station found in the vicinity of Venus that contains almost 1,000 active starships. Those lucky enough -- or more aptly, crazy enough -- to make it to Gateway can apply to become prospectors, choose one of the starships, and go off in search of fortune. Some prospectors return with invaluable artifacts worth millions of dollars, many more come back dead -- or simply vanish. After procrastinating for months, Rob finally goes out on a ship and returns a rich man. But his fortune comes with a heavy price…
Arguably Pohl's finest work ever, Gateway is worth its weight in gold -- a transcendent classic that is just as good as it was almost three decades ago, if not better. Paul Goat Allen
In Gateway, Roz Kaveney of Books and Bookmen believes, Pohl "successfully combined wit and humanity in a novel of character. [The result is] a highly competent, darkly witty entertainment." Other critics found the computer psychoanalyst a particularly believable character. "What makes this book so intriguing," Peter Ackroyd of Spectator writes, "is not its occasional satire and consistent good humor, but the fact that Pohl has managed to convey the insistent presence of the non-human, a presence which may indeed haunt our future."