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Annals of the Heechee (Heechee Saga, Book 4)…

Annals of the Heechee (Heechee Saga, Book 4) (original 1987; edition 1988)

by Frederik Pohl

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971813,286 (3.44)2
Title:Annals of the Heechee (Heechee Saga, Book 4)
Authors:Frederik Pohl
Info:Del Rey (1988), Edition: Reissue, Paperback
Collections:Your library

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The Annals of the Heechee by Frederik Pohl (Author) (1987)



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English (5)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  All languages (8)
Showing 5 of 5
What an execrable finale to the Heechee quartet.

The worst part of Pohl's Heechee series is that there's more than one book. Gateway (1977) is one of the finest sci-fi novels of the 20th century, bristling with creativity the childish sense of wonder. Beyond the Blue Event Horizon (1980), Heechee Rendezvous, and Annals of the Heechee (1987), on the other hand, utterly fail to live up to the original novel; they fail to even understand what made Gateway so dang good in the first place, making me hate them all the more, and hate that I felt obligated to push through the continuing, bland, repetitive, illogical adventures of Robinette Broadhead, S. Ya, and the obnoxious AI pal, Albert.

They nearly ruin the original Hugo- and Nebula-winning masterpiece, and this fourth, closing adventure is the worst of them.

Annals of the Heechee has an unusual structure: It's once again from the perspective of Robin, the anti-hero bum-slash-billionaire of the earlier books, who's long-dead and living as an AI construct inside future computers. He loves to talk about this fact, and spends pages upon pages repeating how being an AI is far better than being a 'meat' person. His digressive arguments and debates with his long-time AI pal, Albert Einstein, are excruciating boring, adding nothing at all to the plot -- and yet the naive philosophizing on the natures of the universe from these two make up the bulk of the book. Between these pages-long rants, we get a few adventures following a rag-tag group of outsider kids (including a Heechee child), and their story is the singular highlight. They feel real, and if the whole story followed them, there could have been another great novel here -- but it doesn't, and their story is a fraction of the pagecount, and it ends abruptly and unsatisfyingly with a deus ex machina before we revert focus back to the cyberspace of Robinette and Albert and the kids are never heard from again: Their story has no real resolution, they're simply dropped from the narrative once their story intersects with Robin.

Stick with Gateway and pretend the story ends there. It's a standalone adventure, with every positive perfectly holding its parabolic arc together. The three sequels drop the singularity of the original to form a new trilogy held together by obnoxious cliffhangers that push you to keep going; a trilogy that parts the curtains on every mystery Gateway won us over with. All the truths of the Heechee and the galaxy are played out in a really unsatisfying, overt way, leaving nothing to the imagination.

When I stumbled upon Gateway for the first time, I thought I had found myself a new best friend, a secret window into the real quality lurking in classic sci-fi -- the sort of sci-fi that should be dating itself by its 20th-century trappings and pseudoscience at this point -- but I was disappointed to see I was wrong, and the author barely seemed to understand his own work. Read Gateway. Now. But don't even think about picking up its sequels. ( )
1 vote alaskayo | Jan 12, 2018 |
I loved this book. Barker explores the different facets of trauma. There is the obvious trauma of war; soldiers who have hallucinations and nightmares, who have lost their ability, or will, to speak, etc. The novel also explores the gender issues brought up in psychiatric hospitals. These men, whose duty it is to fight, are scared and no longer want to be the "manly" man off killing Germans. Barker brings up how traumatic it can be even for the doctors, particularly Rivers, treating these patients. The job of these psychiatrists is to get the men ready to go back to war, but what happens when the doctor starts doubting the validity of the war? Or sending off young men to their deaths? I cannot wait to read the rest of this trilogy. ( )
  Sareene | Oct 22, 2016 |
In this final installment of the Heechee saga, humanity joins forces with the Heechee to finally deal with the Foe, a mysterious race of energy beings who want to eradicate all technological races and cause another big bang. However, like the previous book, this really only serves as the backdrop--the story is really about how society is dealing with large numbers of people becoming "stored intelligences" after they die (which is to say, they're not really dying), with multiple perspectives on how people live their new digital-only lives after their deaths (and occasionally before, in the case of "doppels"). It's an interesting exploration. Pohl does resolve the larger plot satisfactorily, but it's not really the focus anyway. ( )
  Phrim | May 12, 2016 |
This book is yet another little joke on the world by Pohl. Each and every one is the last; until the next one arrives on the scene. Sadly, there will be no more. "The BoyWho Would Live Forever" (published in 2004) will be the last word. ( )
  Lyndatrue | Dec 21, 2013 |
This was almost one book too many in this series, but still good. By now we know most of what we needed to know about the HeeChee, but there had to be one more mission.... ( )
  Karlstar | Oct 12, 2009 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pohl, FrederikAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345325664, Mass Market Paperback)

At last--the ultimate book in the renowned Heechee Saga!
Advanced Heechee technology had enabled Robinette Broadhead to live after death as a machine-stored personality, enjoying his life by flitting along the wires from party to party with a host of other machine-people. But suddenly his decadent existence ends when an all powerful alien race intent on the utter destruction of all intelligent life reappears after eons of silence, and threatens the lives of all heechee and humans. Even Robin, virtually immortal and with unlimited access to millennia of accumulated data, cannot discover how to stop these aliens. It began to seem that only a face to face meeting could determine the future of the entire universe....

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:46 -0400)

"A Del Rey book." Humans and Heechee unite in a constant vigil to defend themselves against an alien race that had never met defeat.

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