Author: Frederik Pohl
Three books into the Gateway series, and I’ve found each of these books to be interesting at times with some compelling moments, but also falling short of being great books. This book follows a few storylines, the main one being Robin Broadhead’s continued exploits with his wife. Robin begins to be the target by terrorists and also develops moral concerns about using his money to obtain new organs and extending his life. Meanwhile, Wan is searching for blackholes, using technology to pierce and search the black holes in search of his father. Finally another character utilizes some alien technology to possibly discover the truth about what happened to the Heechee.
More than the previous books in the series, Pohl shifts perspectives frequently here and not for the better. All of the characters are connected to Broadhead, and it creates too many coincidences to propel the plot forward that all felt contrived. Wan is a terrible character from the last book and any time he talks I was eager for him to leave. Robin’s wife suffers a bit from old science fiction sexism, where she seems to exist to pleasure Robin, ask nothing in return, and have no arc of her own.
That being said, there were also some very interesting things that had me invested in what would happen. Much like Orson Scott Card’s Speaker for the Dead through Xenocide books, here Pohl takes a previously established artificial intelligence character and gives it one of the most compelling arcs in the book. In addition, after three novels of buildup, I was eager for reveals on the Heechee race. The reason for the Heechee disappearance and setup for the next book was not entirely satisfying as this book ends before addressing it in a meaningful way, but what we did get was enough to keep my interested to continue reading the series.