Review: Gateways

By Pamela K. Kinney

Hull, Elizabeth Anne, ed. Gateways. Tor (July 2011). 416 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0-7653-2663-8.

“Enter Gateways…to worlds of fabulous adventure.” And this anthology in tribute to science fiction author and editor Frederik Pohl does just that, taking the reader on tours through many interesting stories. Not just stories, either, but also tributes to Pohl, who inspired a number of writers.

Though I enjoyed all the tales in this collection, there were some of those that became my instant favourites. One was not a story, but a poem, by Neil Gaiman, “The {Backspace} Merchants”. I love how he took terms used by computer geeks and, with a twist, turns them into a very cool accolade to Pohl’s The Space Merchants.

A short story that I enjoyed immensely was “On Safari” by Mike Resnick. Two salesmen beat out a third one and earn a safari trip to another planet, courtesy of the company they work for. Laughing over how the third salesman only won a washer and dryer, they learn that their prize isn’t all it is cracked up to be.

“Warm Sea” by Greg Bear is a simple narrative concerning an old man floating in the middle of the sea, dying. Once upon a time, he rode in a research ship that sailed the same waters, mapping seamounts. When his ship dragged up a giant squid’s tentacle, he dreamt of finding such a beast. He does eventually find it.

My husband is a big fan of The Stainless Steel Rat series and I never read any of the novels, but I finally see why my husband likes it. “The Stainless Steel Rat and the Pernicious Porcuswine”, by Harry Harrison, is an off-the-wall tale which delighted me. In fact, it’s something I never thought my husband would read. I now have to borrow his books to read more of the adventures of the hero, Jim.

“Virtually, A Cat”, by Jody Lynn Nye, is the yarn of a man who loves his two cats, Blidvit and Parky. When he gets the chance to be assigned to the Calliope, which will use jump technology for long range jaunts through outer space, Benny Ardway is excited. He can bring twenty kilograms of personal gear, and decides his cats must come. But when he arrives at the spaceship, he discovers no animals are allowed in deep space. As the ship forages deeper into space, the more depressed the man becomes. A crewmember fixes a remote control suit that Benny can wear, letting him feel that a cat is with him. He names this invisible animal ‘Boojum’. When he must give up his new pet to free up enough space so that the information they collected can get back to Earth, Benny becomes a hero in what he does for the rest of the despondent crew.

“Scheherazade and the Storytellers”, by Ben Bova, takes the Arabian Nights story in new direction, by making it a wonderful twist and tribute to SFWA, the Science Fiction Writers Association. I laughed when I got to the end, not even realizing where the storyline was heading.

If you need a good book to read, this collection will lead you through a gateway of imagination.

Gateways is available for purchase at Amazon.com.

Pamela K. Kinney is an author of published horror, science fiction, fantasy, horror, poetry, and the nonfiction book, Haunted Richmond, Virginia, published by Schiffer Publishing, along with Haunted Virginia: Legends, Myths and True Tales coming May 2009 from Schiffer Publishing, too. Using the pseudonym, Sapphire Phelan, she has published erotic and sweet paranormal/fantasy/science fiction romance, also poetry and a couple of erotic horror stories. She also has done acting on stage and in films. Find out more about her at: http://FantasticDreams.50megs.com or at either of her MySpaces: http://www.myspace.com/PamelaKKinney and http://www.myspace.com/SapphirePhelan.