Gateways: An Anthology, edited by Elizabeth Anne Hull (Tor Books, $15.99, 416 pages)
“The Federation is old, and it had gotten old by minimizing change… The emergence of humans had disturbed the Galactic balance; change had occurred, and the Federation didn’t like change.”
This is quite simply a feast for science fiction fans! Gateways is a collection of new science fiction stories and tributes – including essays and poetry – by 18 authors in the style of Frederick Pohl. Pohl long ago wrote a seminal creative novel called Gateway, and he was perhaps the first to predict the current day realities of personal computers and mobile phones.
Many of the tales in this collection focus on futuristic space travel and wars between alien cultures. One of the best, and clearly unique, stories (Shadows of the Lost) is about an encounter between very early humans and Neanderthals. It’s an unexpected twist. Another (Chicken Little), about a future in which only billionaires can afford to extend their natural life spans, is eerily effective.
Not all of the stories work, however. Gunn’s Tales – about spaceship travel – is one that goes on far too long and fails to arrive anywhere. Star Trek it is not.
Frederick Pohl is now 90. He was a contemporary of Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Kurt Vonnegut. In his day, he won all of science fiction’s major awards (Hugos, Nebulas, the SFWA Grand Master Award) for his writing. This worthy tribute compilation should put Pohl’s name on the radar for younger readers who are just coming to appreciate the many textures and flavors of science fiction. Welcome!
Reprinted coutesty of San Francisco Book Review. Gateways was released in trade paper form on July 5, 2011. “…a must-buy for science fiction readers of all tastes, from the traditional to the cutting-edge, from the serious to the laugh-out-loud funny.” Amazon