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Heechee Books In Order

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Publication Order of Heechee Saga Books

Gateway (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
Beyond the Blue Event Horizon (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
Heechee Rendezvous (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Annals of the Heechee (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Boy Who Would Live Forever (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Heechee Collections

The Gateway Trip (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon

The Heechee refers to a fictional alien race that’s seen in the science fiction works by Frederik Pohl. The Heechee is portrayed as an advanced star-traveling race which explored the Milky Way Galaxy including the Earth’s solar system many years ago and then disappeared even before the evolution of the genus Homo.

Frederik Pohl introduced the Heechee Saga in the 1972 novel, “The Merchant of Venus” (commonly called as The Merchant of Venus Underground”. In 1990, the novel was packaged with 9 original short stories as The Gateway Trip , a book consisting of about 240 pages.

Collectively all the Heechee stories have been considered as a series known as The Heechee Saga or simply Heechee. The German-language edition of the first 3 novels in this series was published twenty years later as Gateway Trilogy. Below are the first two books in this series.


Gateway opened up on all the wealth of the entire Universe. and on reaches of the unimaginable horror. When the prospector Robinette Broadhead decided to go out to Gateway on Heechee spacecraft, he decided that he would know what was the right mission that will make him his own fortune. Three missions later, currently famous and rich, Rob has to face what actually happened to him and what he plans to become in a journey as perilous and possibly more horrifying more than the nightmare trip via the interstellar void which he drove himself to take.

Gateway novel by Frederik Pohl is a very good science fiction book. Essentially the main story is about a certain time in the future where over-consumption of resources and overpopulation have left human beings in a regrettable state, but with without some promise. Minerals and oil are mined and then turned synthetically into food. Furthermore, interplanetary colonization has also spread the burden but life on Mars isn’t a picnic.

One way out of this is becoming a prospector on The Gateway. Gateway refers to an ancient alien spaceport that’s complete with several ancient spaceships which are pre-programmed so as to go to different places. The trouble here is that scientists can’t figure out the bigger picture on how or why these ships go where they usually go and whether they’ll come back. The prospecting has come from taking out a ship and seeing what they can actually find, the alien artifacts might be worth millions if they’re useful for science or any prospector could get out and then come back with nothing at all or they couldn’t come back.

All this would make a good science-fiction story but Frederik Pohl adds a psychological twist to the story which makes it even far much better. Finally, sci-fi writers mostly make the best visionary prophets and although he has managed to do an admirable job with Malthusian ideas on food and overpopulation, Pohl has also enunciated our society’s apprehension on health care. A great read indeed!

Beyond the Blue Event Horizon

In the second book of the Heechee Saga, Rob Broadhead is on his way to make a fortune by bankrolling the expedition to a Food Factory; this is a Heechee spaceship that’s able to graze the cometary cloud and also transfer the basic elements of the universe to untold food quantities. However, even as Rob gambles on this breakthrough technology, he’s wracked with the guilt of losing his lovely wife, poised forever at the “Blue event horizon” of the black hole where Rob had abandoned her. As more information comes from the expedition, Rob grows ever hopeful that he can actually rescue his cherished Gelle-Klara Moynlin. After 3 years, the factory is later discovered to work and a human being is found aboard. Robin Broadhead’s suffering might be just about over.

Gateway is not just a good novel, but it has also made a very interesting computer game. The protagonists in Gateway discovered amazing access to artifacts of the ancient civilization. The exploration was quite risky, but the so-called Heechee artifacts could advance the society with tremendous rewards. Of course, the reward could cost the person that you love most. And, in case it did, you could risk everything that you gained as you attempt to get them back.

Such is the type of set-up in Beyond the Blue Event Horizon novel, although you won’t realize it immediately. The book begins with explorations in the Heechee space station (a food factory) after which it regresses to a point where we get to know where the actual power lies. Using an age-old saying, “Follow the money,” one will quickly see where the plot of this novel is ultimately going. The wrap-up to this novel is a bit less than satisfying. It’s less human-focused and more cosmological than what most people would have preferred. Still, there’s an interesting conclusion to all the human problems which makes good sense from a sci-fi perspective.

If you actually enjoyed reading about Rob Broadhead in the first novel, The Gateway then you’ll certainly enjoy Beyond the Blue Event Horizon much more. The scope of problems in this book is broader and the ultimate solution is relatively unexpected. Rob Broadhead is almost obscenely wealthy thanks to his Gateway mission and he’s just guilt-ridden enough so as to be underwriting several projects for the benefit of human beings. However, what might seem very strange to the reader in the story that’s set in the distant future is the fact that in the world of hypersonic flight, the guy does not have access to any private plane. At numerous critical junctures, he’s still dependent on commercial flights.

Of course, when complaining about anachronism, there are several interesting pages in the book. however, this might seem weird from the perspective of a digital age which Pohl pictured to have advanced technology yet they still use tape in cameras, audio and video-recordings.

This sequel has plenty of action and dram though it is not done as elegantly and subtly as the story in The first novel, Gateway. There are several answers about all the mysterious Heechee civilization in the novel although there are nearly as many more questions towards the end. This is a great second installment of the Heechee Saga series and it should be fun to continue reading the story in the next novel.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Heechee

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