Frederik Pohl’s Gateway is psychological science fiction, taking us as deep into the psyche of its main character as it takes us into space.

The unfortunately names Robinette Broadhead, who otherwise goes by Bob, meets up with his robot analyst, whom he calls Sigfrid von Shrink, to talk about and avoid his past. Bob is a reluctant and often irascible and combative patient; when Sigfrid gets too close to where Bob’s psychic pain is buried, he dodges and weaves, mocks and wheedles. Their sessions together are tense, exciting, funny and revealing.

But why is Bob even in therapy?

“If there was anybody ever who had every reason to be happy, I have to be him. I’m rich. I’m pretty good-looking. I am not too old, and anyway, I have Full Medical so I can be just about any age I want to be for the next fifty years or so. I live in New York City under the Big Bubble, where you can’t afford to live unless you’re really well fixed, and maybe some kind of celebrity besides. …And the girls go crazy over my three Out bangles. You don’t see too many prospectors anywhere on Earth, not even in New York. They’re all wild to have me tell them what it’s really like out around the Orion Nebula or the Lesser Magellanic Cloud. (I’ve never been to either place, of course. The one really interesting place I’ve been to I don’t like to talk about.)

Bob was a prospector out on Gateway. He earned three bangles from three space missions in spacecraft left there by the elusive Heechee.

But what happened on Bob’s last space expedition that he wants to bury? What haunts him about Gateway? Why does Bob keep showing up to see Sigfrid?

The conclusion of this tight, tension-filled story will leave you speechless. This book would make a great discussion.



About the Author:

Misha Stone is a readers' advisory librarian with The Seattle Public Library. Follow her on Twitter at @ahsimlibrarian.

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