Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Gateway by Frederik Pohl. Science fiction.
I expect better of Hugo winners. The book is told with alternating chapters of ‘present’ and ‘past’ time. The ‘present’ chapters take place during the sessions Robinette Broadhead undergoes with a computer therapist. In the ‘past’ chapters he relates the tale of how he struck it rich as a prospector/test pilot for alien ships. The ‘past’ chapters are interesting at first because of the concept of the Heechee ships (which I won’t go into here); but once that’s worn out its welcome, most of the time is taken up with Broadhead trying and failing to decide what to do with his life, and trying and marginally succeeding to maintain his relationship with his equally messed-up girlfriend. The ‘present’ chapters are the real killer. They read as if written by someone who read half a Wikipedia article on Freudian psychotherapy, decided it was a stupid idea, and made up the rest from there. A computer-therapy program in wide use would presumably have its behavior patterned on the most successful practitioners, and I’m pretty sure that displaying a complete lack of compassion towards your clients is not ‘best practices’ no matter what style of therapy may arise in the future. (Yes, he’s a computer, but if you can’t program a computer to mimic compassion then maybe you shouldn’t be using it for therapy.) Furthermore, the ‘reveal’ about one of Broadhead’s psychological blocks near the end is just painfully stupid. (I’m going to spoil it for you right now. He has repressed homosexual tendencies, OMG!!!) Not the worst book I’ve read this year…but I don’t recommend it, either.
That strikes me as a dumb remark, and I tell him so. I have about the energy level of a small, arthritic jellyfish that’s been dead for a week. I have no choice but to take it easy.
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