Monday, February 19, 2007
Gateway by Frederik Pohl
While I consider myself a science-fiction fan, I’ve honestly read little hard SF, those books that flood you with scientific terms and gives science-fiction its rep as inaccessible and geeky. Well, Gateway is one of those books. Technical jargon is thrown at you and there’s this enigmatic alien race which don’t make an appearance in the book but are responsible for the entire premise of the novel. I thought I’d drop the book quickly in boredom but I was wrong—it was a good, compelling read although admittedly, it’s not for everyone. Still, there are neat “tricks” Pohl employs throughout the novel, from fictional excerpts from various reports and lectures to ads that you’d expect to see from a newspaper. What makes the book work, however, is the protagonist who is undergoing psychiatric therapy and draws in the reader’s sympathy even if he’s not the best human being in the world. If you want to test the waters of hard SF, Gateway might be a trip worth taking. It was an enjoyable read for me but then again, I’m not exactly your everyday layman.