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

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In the main part of the series, the frontier moves away from Venus after explorers discover an asteroid orbiting perpendicular to the ecliptic plane , filled with cobalt blue tunnels, and hundreds of small Heechee spaceships. The asteroid, named Gateway by the discoverers, is occupied by the powerful nations of the world, who subsequently form the Gateway Corporation to administer the object. By happenstance, one of the asteroid explorers enters a ship and hits a button, activating the vehicle and sending him on a thirty-day journey to another solar system. Upon his return, the Gateway Corporation decides to allow explorers called Prospectors to take trips on the mostly still-functioning ships.

Prospectors who find valuable materials or make discoveries are rewarded with substantial bonuses. Ships on the asteroids come in three sizes and are defined as a "one", a "three", or a "five" based upon the number of passengers that they can carry for the most part uncomfortably. Not every vehicle returns and there are other great hazards to the explorers.

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The novel Gateway was serialized in Galaxy beginning November , with illustrations by Vincent DiFate , and was published as a book by St. Martin's Press in April Gateway focuses on the exploits of one of those explorers, Robinette Broadhead. Broadhead hits the jackpot by becoming the first person to return from a black hole 's event horizon. In the sequel, Broadhead uses the money to fund further discoveries involving Heechee technology, locating a Heechee food factory that is capable of turning raw carbon , hydrogen , oxygen and nitrogen CHON from comets into edible food for an overpopulated Earth.

The Heechee do not appear until book three in the series, in which the reason for their absence is explained.


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Some , years earlier, the Heechee were active in exploring the galaxy, including an Australopithecine -inhabited Earth where a sampling of the creatures were extracted and left to propagate to modern time on a Heechee station. The Heechee found out that there was a race of pure energy called simply The Foe or alternatively called either The Assassins or The Kugel wiping out civilizations on any planet where they emerged.

The inherently cautious Heechee retreated to the interior of the black hole in the Galactic Core hoping to avoid being destroyed. Due to time dilation , only a few hundred years have passed for the Heechee in the interior of the black hole since they left the normal universe. While in hiding, Heechee scout ships are periodically sent outside the black hole to check on developments through the universe in general and the emerging Earth in particular.

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When the latest Heechee crew exits the black hole, they are shocked to discover that humans are flying Heechee spaceships to all parts of the galaxy—and one of those places happens to be the Kugelblitz a black hole made of energy and not matter , where The Foe is concentrated.

The Heechee expected humans to discover the ships, but the cautious race believed Earth people would study and unlock the ships' secrets over a period of hundreds of years—and not simply take the equipment out for random rides in the dangerous galaxy. When the Heechee finally arrive in force, it is decided that the human intrusion cannot be reversed and The Foe must be confronted.


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The Heechee have collected evidence that The Foe have been adding matter into the universe. The Foe intend to tilt the balance and allow the Big Bang to be reversed and the universe to collapse into a Big Crunch billions of years into the future.


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  • The Foe intend that once the universe rebounds into a second big bang, it will do so in the form of pure energy, removing the atomic matter that The Foe regard as so much clutter. Unfortunately, I didn't find this quite so gripping. By this point, Robinette Broadhead's future wasn't as uncertain as the Heechee technology.

    I still enjoyed it, but I enjoyed the first two books more. A fitting end to a great series.

    More interested in writing than in school, he dropped out of high school in his senior year and took a job with a publishing company. Ask Seller a Question. Robinette Broadhead desperately tries to prevent the mysterious Foe from putting an end to all intelligent life in the universe. 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.

    Frederik Pohl

    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 Visit Seller's Storefront. Please contact me if you are not satisfied with your order in any manner. I always list book by ISBN only and buyer is assured of correct edition, correct author and correct format of book.