Gateway by Frederik Pohl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
One of the great classics of SF. On the surface, it seems to be mostly about prospecting for Alien tech and new discoveries about the missing Heechee, but in reality, it's all about psychology, and more than that, about Freudian therapy.
Yep! We've got ourselves something of an anti-hero written in mild shades of The Stars My Destination who we get to know very well on and off the AI therapist's couch as we learn about all the crap that turns him into a real mess. Sure, there's mommy issues, but then there are the things that go on with his girlfriend and the Black Hole that is particularly harrowing.
Survivor's guilt? Yeah, and so much more. It's like a gambler's addiction with missing body parts being the price. Save your mother and forgo the rest of your life in poverty or gamble for your future and probably not make it back. These Heechee left tons of inexplicable tech and no one around has found a way to understand it or get ahead except by dumb luck.
Kinda sounds like a metaphor for life, doesn't it? :)
The reveals are the best parts of this book. We're given all the pieces and as the mystery unfolds, I loved the details of the personal tragedy most. The fact that this reveal is a universal truth is only a bonus.
Great adventure, wonderful light but deep worldbuilding, and an even better psychological exploration. :)
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