Frederik Pohl is a classic genre writer – unknown outside sci-fi circles, very highly regarded within it. I don’t think that every 40-year old novel I read is worth sharing, but on rereading Gateway I was blown away by how good it is. I’ve probaly read it at least four times over the decades, and it gets better every time. Pohl’s starting point is a classic trope – the artefact left by vanished aliens (the rather strangely named Heechee). Gateway is an asteroid stuffed full of spaceships that go somewhere across the galaxy when you press a button, and sometimes even make it back. A gold rush ensues attracting prospectors escaping lives on a grimly overcrowded earth, including the protagonist Robinette Broadhead. Who we first meet at a robot psychiatrist’s – fabulously rich after a trip that has left him not just wealthy but fabulously guilty. The story unravels in flashbacks to Robin’s arrival at Gateway and struggles with his own fear about taking a ship that may never return, out into the void for an uncertain reward. Pohl’s world is economically but vividly created – and his characters are never less than adult and believable. Robin makes » Continue Reading.