cover image The Gateway Trip: Tales and Vignettes of the Heechee

The Gateway Trip: Tales and Vignettes of the Heechee

Frederik Pohl. Del Rey Books, $18.95 (241pp) ISBN 978-0-345-36301-5

The most successfully realized universe that Pohl ( Gateway ) has created as a solo writer has been that of his Heechee series. This book contains his one pre-Gateway Heechee story, the novella ``The Merchants of Venus,'' and nine short entries under such titles as ``The Gateway Asteroid,'' ``The Starseekers'' and ``Other Worlds'' that provide background on the characters and settings of the Heechee novels. The narrator of the novella , Audee Walthers, makes his living on Venus by showing tourists around the Heechee ruins, abandoned 500,000 years earlier. He hopes that wealthy, surly Boyce Cochenour will pay him enough to provide for surgery to replace his failing liver. There's only one problem, an ethical one: Cochenour wants to dig for illegal artifacts. The story has the zip and humor of vintage Pohl. The short pieces that comprise the rest of the volume are not narratives but glossings on the Heechee novels. Although Pohl is careful not to give away plot elements of those books, at the same time he presents new details to enhance that universe for familiar readers. Still, it would be preferable to read the novels first. Illustrations, by Frank Kelly Freas, not seen by PW . (Nov.)