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9780765310491: The Boy Who Would Live Forever: A Novel of Gateway
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In 1977 Frederik Pohl stunned the science fiction world with the publication of Gateway, one of the most brilliantly entertaining SF novels of all time. Gateway was a bestseller and won science fiction's triple crown: the Hugo, Nebula, and John W. Campbell Memorial awards for best novel. Now, more than twenty-five years later, Pohl has completed a new novel set in the Gateway universe. The Boy Who Would Live Forever has a sense of wonder and excitement that will satisfy those who loved Gateway and will delight new readers as well.
In Gateway, long after the alien Heechee abandoned their space-station, Gateway (as humans dubbed it) allowed humans to explore new worlds. The Heechee, alarmed by the alien Kugel whose goal was to destroy all organic lifeforms, had already retreated to the galactic core where they now lived in peace. Now, in The Boy Who Would Live Forever, humans with dreams of life among the stars are joining the Heechee at the core, to live there along with those humans and Heechee whose physical bodies have died and their minds stored in electronic memory so that their wisdom passes down through the ages.

Their peace is threatened by the Kugel, who may yet attack the core. But a much greater threat is the human Wan Enrique Santos-Smith, whose blind loathing of the Heechee fuels an insane desire to destroy them and, incidentally, every living being in the galaxy.

Stan and Estrella, two young people from Earth, went to Gateway looking for adventure, and found each other. They settle among the Heechee on Forested Planet of Warm Old Star Twenty-Four, never suspecting that they may be the last best hope to save the galaxy. But with allies like Gelle-Klara Moynlin--one of the galaxy's richest women, who isn't content to just have money, but wants to use her wealth for good, and machine mind Marc Antony-a wonderful chef to thousands of living and stored clients, they are destined to contend with Wan's terrible plan. Frederik Pohl has woven together the lives of these and other memorable characters to create a masterful new novel.

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About the Author:
Bestselling, multiple Hugo and Nebula Award-winning SF author, Frederik Pohl has written over twenty successful novels, has been the award-winning editor of SF magazines and anthologies, has been lauded as a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America, has collaborated on classic SF novels such as The Space Merchants as well as having written such fine solo novels as Gateway, Beyond the Blue Event Horizon and Man Plus, and has been active in a myriad of other ways in the field for many decades. He lives in Palatine, Illinois.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
BOY WHO WOULD LIVE FOREVER
1From Istanbul to the StarsIOn Stan's seventeenth birthday the Wrath of God came again, as it had been doing every six weeks or so. At the time Stan was alone in the apartment, cutting up vegetables for his birthday dinner. When he felt that familiar, sudden, overwhelming, disorienting, horny rush of vertigo he knew that it was what everybody he knew called "the Wrath of God" and nobody understood at all. Screams and sirens from outside the building told him that everybody else in that part of Istanbul was feeling it, too. Stan managed to drop the paring knife to the floor so he wouldn't cut himself. Then he staggered to a kitchen chair to wait it out.People said the Wrath was a terrible thing. Well, that was true enough. Whatever the Wrath of God really was, it struck everyone in the world at once--and not just the people still living on Earth, either. Ships in space, the colonies on Mars and Venus, as long as human beings were still within the confines of the Solar System, they all were caught up in its madness at the same moment, and the Wrath's costs in accidents and disasters were enormous. Personally, Stan didn't mind it all that much. What it felt like to him was like suddenly being overwhelmedby a vast, lonely, erotic nightmare. Like, Stan thought, probably what it would be like to get good and drunk. The erotic part was not very different from some of the yearnings Stan himself felt often enough.It didn't last very long. When it passed, Stan shook himself, picked up the things he had knocked to the floor and turned on the local TV news to see how it had gone this time.It had gone badly enough. Fires, car smashes--Istanbul's aggressive drivers relied on their split-second reflexes to avert disaster, and when the Wrath took away their skill the crashes came fast. The single worst thing that happened this time was an oil tanker that had been coming into the Golden Horn. With everyone on both the tanker's tugs and its own bridge suddenly incapacitated, the vessel had plowed, dead slow and irresistible, into one of the cruise-ship docks on the Old City side, and there it had exploded into flame.That was a really bad accident. Like any teenager, however, Stan had a high tolerance for other people's misfortunes. He yawned and got back to his chores, hoping only that the commotion wouldn't make his father too late in getting back home with the saffron and mussels for the birthday stew. When Stan finished with the vegetables he put them in a pot of cold water, and put a couple of his precious old disks on to play. This time it was Dizzy Gillespie, Jack Teagarden and the Firehouse Five Plus Three. Then he sat down to wait as he listened, thumbing through some of his comics and wondering if, this time, his father would have stayed sober long enough to get him some kind of a present for his birthday.That was the moment at which the polis came to the door.There were two of them, male and female, and they looked around the shabby apartment suspiciously. "Is this where the American citizen Walter Avery lived?" the woman demanded, and the past tense of the verb told Stan the whole story. 
 
It didn't take the polis long to tell Stan just how it was that the Wrath had made a statistic of his father. Walter Avery had fallen down while crossing the street and a spellbound taksidriver ran right over him. There was no hope of holding the driver responsible, the woman said at once; the Wrath, you know. Anyway, the driver had long since disappeared. And, besides, witnesses said that Stan's father had been drunk at the time. Of course.The male polis took pity on Stan's wretched stare. "At least he didn't suffer," he said gruffly. "He died right away. There was no pain."The woman was impatient. "Yes, I suppose that is possible," she said, and then: "So you've been notified. You have to come to the morgue to collect the body before midnight, otherwise there'll be a charge for holding it an extra day. Good-bye."And they left.IISince there would be neither mussels nor saffron for his birthday meal, Stan found a few scraps of leftover ham and tossed them into the pot with the vegetables. While they were simmering he sat down with his head in his hands, to think about what it meant to be an American--well, half American--orphan, alone in the city of Istanbul.Two facts presented themselves. First, that long dreamed-of day when his father would sober up, take him back to America and there make a new life for the two of them--that day, always unlikely, was now definitely never going to come. From that fact it followed that, second, there was never going to be the money to pay for his college, much less to indulge his dream of flying to the Gateway asteroid and its wondrous adventure. He wasn't ever going to become one of those colorful and heroic Gateway prospectors who flew to strange parts of the Galaxy. He wasn't going to discover a hoard of priceless artifacts left by the vanished old race of Heechee. And he wasn't going to become both famous and rich.Neither of these new facts was a total surprise to Stan. His faith in either had been steadily eroding since skepticism and the first dawn of puberty arrived simultaneously, when he wasthirteen. Still, they had seemed at least theoretically possible. Now, nothing seemed possible at all.That was when Stan at last allowed himself to cry. 
 
While Stan was drearily cleaning up the kitchen after his flavorless birthday meal, Mr. Ozden knocked on the door.Mr. Ozden was probably around seventy years old. To Stan he looked more like a hundred--a shriveled, ugly old man, hairless on the top of his head, but with his mustache still bristly black. He was the richest man Stan had ever met. He owned the ramshackle tenement where Stan lived, and the two others that flanked it, as well as the brothel that took up two floors of one of them. Mr. Ozden was a deeply religious man, so devout in his observances that he did not allow alcohol on his premises anywhere except in the brothel, and there only for the use of non-Islamic tourists. "My deepest sympathies to you on your loss, young Stanley," he boomed in his surprisingly loud voice, automatically scanning everything in sight for traces of a forbidden bottle of whiskey. (He never found any; Stan's father had been clever about that.) "It is a terrible tragedy, but we may not question the ways of God. What are your plans, may I ask?"Stan was already serving him tea, as his father always did. "I don't exactly know yet, Mr. Ozden. I guess I'll have to get a job.""Yes, that is so," Mr. Ozden agreed. He nibbled at a crumb of the macaroon Stan had put on a saucer for him, eyeing the boy. "Perhaps working at the consulate of the Americans, like your father?""Perhaps." Stan knew that wasn't going to happen, though. It had already been discussed. The Americans weren't going to hire any translator under the age of twenty-one."That would be excellent," Mr. Ozden announced. "Especially if it were to happen quickly. As you know, the rent is due tomorrow, in addition to last week's, which has not been paid, as well as the week's before. Would they pay you well at the consulate, do you think?""As God wills," Stan said, as piously as though he meant it.The old man nodded, studying Stan in a way that made the boy uneasy."Or," he said, with a smile that revealed his expensive teeth, "I could speak to my cousin for you, if you like."Stan sat up straight; Mr. Ozden's cousin was also his brothel keeper. "You mean to work for him? Doing what?""Doing what pays well," Mr. Ozden said severely. "You are young, and I believe in good health? You could have the luck to earn a considerable sum, I think."Something was churning, not pleasantly, in Stan's belly and groin. From time to time he had seen the whores in Mr. Ozden's cousin's employ as they sunned themselves on the rooftop when business was slow, often with one or two boys among them. The boys were generally even younger than himself, mostly Kurds or hill-country Anatolians, when they weren't from Algeria or Morocco. The boys didn't last long. Stan and his friend Tan had enjoyed calling insults at them from a distance. None of them had seemed very lucky.Before Stan could speak, Mr. Ozden was going on. "My cousin's clients are not only men, you know. Often women come to him, sometimes wealthy widows, tourists from Europe or the East, who are very grateful to a young man who can give them the pleasures their husbands can no longer supply. There are frequently large tips, of which my cousin allows his people to keep nearly half--in addition to providing his people with Term Medical as long as they are in his employ, as well as quite fine accommodations and meals, at reasonable rates. Quite often the women clients are not unattractive, also. Of course," he added, his voice speeding up and diminishing in volume, "naturally there would be men as well." He stood up, most of his tea and macaroon untouched. "But perhaps the consulate will make you a better offer. You should telephone them at once in any case, to let them know of your father's sad accident. It may even be that he has some uncollected salary still to his account which you can apply to the rent. I will come again in the morning." 
 
When Stan called the consulate, Mr. Goodpastor wasn't in, but his elderly secretary was touched by the news. "Oh, Stanley! This terrible Wrath thing! How awful for you! Your father was a, uh, a very nice man." That part was only conditionally true, Stan knew. His father had been a sweet-natured, generous, unreliable drunk, and the only reason the consulate had given him any work at all was that he was an American who would work for the wages of a Turk. And when Stan asked diffidently if there was any chance of uncollected salary she was all tact. "I'm afraid not, Stanley. I handle all the vouchers for Mr. Goodpastor, you know. I'm sure there's nothing there. Actually," she added, sounding embarrassed, "I'm afraid it's more likely to be a little bit the other way. You see, your father had received several salary advances lately, so his account is somewhat overdrawn. But don't worry about that, dear. I'm sure no one will press a claim."The news was nothing Stan hadn't expected. All the same, it sharpened his problem. The Americans might not demand money from him, but Mr. Ozden certainly would. Already had. And would soon be doing his very best to collect. The last time someone had been evicted from one of his tenements Stan had been watching from the roof and had seen Mr. Ozden seizing every stick of their possessions to sell for the rent owed.Which made Stan look appraisingly around their tiny flat The major furnishings didn't matter, since they belonged to Mr. Ozden in the first place. Even the bed linens and the kitchenware were Ozden's. His father's skimpy wardrobe would certainly be taken. Stan's decrepit music player and his stacks of ancient American jazz recordings; his collection of space adventures, both animé and morphed; his school books; the small amount of food on the shelves--put them all together and they would barely cover the rent. The only other things of measurable value were the musical instruments, his battered trumpet and the drums. Of course Mr. Ozden had no proper claim to the drums, since they weren't Stan's. They'd been brought there and left by his friend Tan Kusmeroglu, when Tan's parents wouldn't let them do any more music making in their house.That Stan could do something about. When he phoned Tan'shome it was Tan's mother who answered, and she began weeping as soon as she heard the news. It was a while before Mrs. Kusmeroglu could manage to tell Stan that Oltan wasn't home. He was at work, but she would get the sad message to him at once, and if there was anything they could do ... .When he got off the phone with Mrs. Kusmeroglu, Stan looked at the clock. He had plenty of time before he had to get to the morgue, so he opened up the couch he slept on--he wasn't quite ready to move into his father's bed--and lay down in case he needed to cry some more.He didn't, though. He fell asleep instantly, which was even better for him. What woke him, hours later, was Tan Kusmeroglu standing over him. Stan could hear the braying of the muezzin, calling the faithful to prayer from the little mosque around the corner, almost drowned out by Tan's excited voice as he shook Stan awake. "Come on, Stan, wake up! The old fart's at prayer now and I borrowed my boss's van. You'll never have a better time to get your stuff out!"That meant they had ten minutes at most. Stan didn't argue. It took less than that to load the drums, the trumpet, the precious music disks and player and a handful of other things into the van. They were already driving away before Stan remembered. "I have to go to the morgue," he said.Tan took his eyes from the tour bus that was weaving from side to side before them and the delivery truck that was trying to cut in from the side long enough to glance at Stan. His expression was peculiar--almost unTanly sympathetic, a little bit flushed in the way he always looked when about to propose some new escapade. "I have been thinking about that," he announced. "You don't want to go there.""But they want me to identify my father's body. I have to.""No, you don't. What's going to happen if you do? They're going to want you to pay for a funeral, and how are you going to do that? No. You stay out of sight."Stan asked simply, "Where?""With us, stupid! You can share my room. Or," he added, grinning, "you can share my sister's if you'd rather, only you would have to marry her first."IIIEverybody in the Kusmeroglu family worked. Mr. Kusmeroglu was a junior accountant in a factory that made Korean-brand cars for export. Tan delivered household appliances for a hardware store. His sixteen-year-old sister, Naslan, worked in the patisserie of one of the big hotels along the Bosphorus. Even Mrs. Kusmeroglu worked at home, assembling beads into bracelets that spelled out verses from the Koran, for the tourist trade--when she wasn't cleaning or cooking or mending the family's clothes. Even so, Stan knew without being told, they were barely making ends meet, with only the sketchiest of Basic Medical and a constant fear of the future. Going back to complete his schooling was now as hopelessly out of the question for Stan as it had been for Tan. So was sponging off the Kusmeroglus for any length of time.He had to find a way to make money.That wasn't easy. Stan couldn't get a regular job, even if there was one to be got, because under Turkish law he was now an unregistered nonperson. He wasn't the only one of that sort, of course. There were millions like him in poverty-stricken Istanbul. It wasn't likely the authorities would bother trying to track him down--unless he turned up on some official record.The good part was that the season was nearly summer. The city's normal population of 25 million, largely destitute, was being enriched each week by two or three million tourists, sometimes even more. These people, by definition, had money and nothing better to spend it on than Istanbul's sights, meals, curios and inhabitants. "You can become a guide," Mr. Kusmeroglu pronounced at dinner. "You speak both Turkish and English without flaw, Stanl...

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  • PublisherTor Books
  • Publication date2004
  • ISBN 10 076531049X
  • ISBN 13 9780765310491
  • BindingHardcover
  • Edition number1
  • Number of pages384
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