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The Stonehenge Gate

The Stonehenge Gate

3.5 2
by Jack Williamson

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A dark mystery has been buried beneath the sands of the Sahara desert since the beginning of time. In a basement in New Mexico, four poker buddies find reason to believe that a startling secret is out there. . .

These four amateur adventurers are about to uncover the key that could unlock the vast reaches of the universe.

A sudden burst of curiosity


A dark mystery has been buried beneath the sands of the Sahara desert since the beginning of time. In a basement in New Mexico, four poker buddies find reason to believe that a startling secret is out there. . .

These four amateur adventurers are about to uncover the key that could unlock the vast reaches of the universe.

A sudden burst of curiosity propels mild-mannered English professor Will and his three friends to the Sahara to excavate a site where radar has evidently detected trilithic stones hidden beneath the sand. There they stumble upon an ancient artifact that will change their lives, and the world, forever...a gateway between planets, linking Earth to distant worlds where they will discover wonders and terrors beyond imagining.

Jack Williamson, the dean of science fiction writers, weaves an exciting tale that takes the friends to the far corners of the universe. One leads an oppressed people to freedom. Another uncovers clues that could identify a long-dormant civilization of immortal beings. Now each traveler must play a crucial role in unraveling an ancient mystery, the solution to which may reveal the true origins of the human race.

If they can just survive their journeys back to Earth . . .

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Just a few months after his 97th birthday, Jack Williamson -- fittingly dubbed the Dean of Science Fiction -- showed that he was still going strong by releasing a brand-new novel. The Stonehenge Gate is a planet-hopping romp through space that follows four inquisitive professors who discover an ancient portal in the Sahara Desert that leads them not only to a network of distant worlds but also to some mind-blowing insights about humankind's place in the cosmos.

Will Stone is an English literature professor at Eastern New Mexico University. Every week, he and his three buddies gather for a potluck dinner and a few hands of poker. When Derek Ironcraft, a physics and astronomy instructor who spends his summers interning at NASA, shares with his friends his "latest enigma" -- a ground penetration radar scan of the Sahara that shows a huge circle of stones buried a few meters underground -- they decide to spend Christmas break digging in the African sand. What they uncover will turn the scientific community upside down -- if only they get back!

Williamson, born in 1908, has written numerous seminal works like "With Folded Hands" (1947), Darker than You Think (1948), Seetee Ship (1951), and the Hugo and Nebula Award–winning novella "The Ultimate Earth" (2000). The Stonehenge Gate is reminiscent of his pulp science fiction beginnings: While the characterization isn't exactly substantial, the action and adventure are virtually nonstop throughout, and the pacing is so fast and furious that readers will find it hard to put down this book until the very last page. Paul Goat Allen
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.
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

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."

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Read an Excerpt

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.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Jack Williamson published his first short story in 1928, and he's been producing entertaining, thought-provoking science fiction ever since. A recent Hugo and Nebula award-winner, he was just the second person named Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America (after Robert A. Heinlein). He is the author of such classic SF as The Legion of Space, The Humanoids, and Darker Than You Think. A renaissance man whose work spans SF, fantasy, and horror, Williamson, a remarkable man and a national treasure, lives in Portales, New Mexico.

Jack Williamson published his first short story in 1928, and he's been producing entertaining, thought-provoking science fiction ever since. He is the author of Terraforming Earth. The second person named Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America--the first was Robert A. Heinlein--Williamson has always been in the forefront of the field, being the first to write fiction about genetic engineering (he invented the term), anti-matter, and other cutting-edge science. A renaissance man, Williamson is a master of fantasy and horror as well as science fiction. He lives in Portales, New Mexico.

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The Stonehenge Gate 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
However, the author's character developments are poor at best and the holes in his plots, as well as the scenarios, are so large as to allow a gopher to fall through and get lost. I have read Williamson's works for 50 years and his style has not changed, which is a pity. His scenarios are incredible, but he does nothing to back up the story. ------- Leonard
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Four Horsemen (though one is a female) of Eastern New Mexico University English literature Will Stone, astrophysicist Derek Ironcraft, archeologist Lupe Vargas and linguist Ram enjoy their weekly poker game. However, instead of cards this time, Derek shows his colleagues ground penetration radar photos of under the Sahara that contains objects that look like huge gates. When Ram explains that his enigmatic loving grandma came from the area, the foursome agrees to go explore the gates though Will is reluctant and Lupe thinks they are loco..................... However at the entrance, a gigantic insect grabs Lupe and takes her inside the portal. The trio gives chase, but soon Derek is taken too. Will and Ram search for their friends, but soon are in a strange world divided by racial discord. To their shock, the natives believe Ram, with a special birthmark on him, is their god Anak, returned from the dead. Civil war over Ram breaks out and a deadly plague is released devastating all except those who released it as they are immune. Will and Ram escape through another gate to another planet, but remain in pursuit of Derek and Lupe and to learn more about the ancient geniuses who built the elevator like portals..................... The grandmaster of science fiction adventure provides an exciting action-packed thriller that never slows down from the moment the four professors give up poker for the expedition. The story line moves forward at a rapid rate hopping from one escapade to another, but by doing so at the speed of light the key cast is never fully developed except for one general trait each. Still fans of creative hyperspeed science fiction will want to be the fifth wheel on this invigorating trek....................... Harriet Klausner