• Beyond the Blue Event Horizon

  • By: Frederik Pohl
  • Narrated by: Oliver Wyman
  • Length: 12 hrs and 12 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (945 ratings)

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Beyond the Blue Event Horizon

By: Frederik Pohl
Narrated by: Oliver Wyman
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Publisher's Summary

Frederik Pohl was on a streak when this Hugo Award-finalist novel was published in 1980. Now back in print after an absence of nearly a decade, this unique science fiction novel is as fresh and entertaining as ever. The story begins when the hero of Gateway finances an expedition to a distant alien spaceship that may end famine forever. On the ship, the explorers find a human boy, and evidence that reveals a powerful alien civilization is thriving on a transport ship headed right for Earth….

©1980 Frederik Pohl (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Certainly very few books have ever held my attention in such an iron grip right up until the last paragraph, built so irresistibly to such a satisfying series of blockbuster punch lines, left me so breathless with admiration, achieved such truly cosmic scope.” ( Analog)
“The kind of mind-opening conceptualization that makes the universe seem very vast and beautiful indeed. In short, this is a book that fulfills SF’s ability to entertain intelligently.” ( The Chicago Sun-Times)

What listeners say about Beyond the Blue Event Horizon

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

SHE SURPRIZES ME MOST WHEN I LEAST EXPECT IT

I give this five stars, but it is not as a strong five star as Gateway. You want to read Gateway first.
SHANTY TOWNS NEVER DISAPPEAR THEY BECOME INSTITUTIONALIZED.
I read Gateway when I was in my 20's and then I read this. At the time I could not understand it enough to enjoy it. I don't know if it is because I am older or because I listened on audible, but I found I really liked it this time around. I like Sci-Fi and I like reading about space travel. It is amazing how little Sci-Fi actually has space travel. When they have space travel it usually involves the military. This has a family in space, making it easier for me to picture myself in space.

This kept my attention. Toward the end there was some heavy math and physics. I had a little problem staying with Pohl on that, but as a whole I enjoyed the read and want to go on to the third book. As I grow older I seem to appreciate Pohl's ability to look into the future and write about it.

22 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good, way better than the first book

First book kinda sucked. This one was good. Better character development. It started out a little bad, but came around at the end. it veered away from the initial pedophilia it seemed to be leading up to, and I was gonna have to turn it off, if it went any further. But, it took a direction towards scifi instead of grown man fantasies of a 14 year old. This book was sci-fi, unlike the first one. That one was just a terrible story inside of a sci fi setting. This book actually deals with sci-fi themes, time travel, aliens, warmholes, spaceships, telepathy... It still goes into personal emotional struggles, like the first, but significantly more palatable.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Everyone was right. The first book was better.

So, first off, Oliver Wyman does a fine job with all the characters save two. The teenage boy, Wan, is said in the text to have a high, annoying voice, and when Wyman doe this, he sounds *exactly* like Dean from the Venture Brothers. The 'Oldest One' robot is apparently imagined here as having a deep, sepulchral voice, but the best Oliver can manage is sleepy-sounding. Otherwise, the performance is fine.

The story is utterly disappointing, and more than a little confusing. Where did the sleep guns come from? Why did we spend so much time on the 'squint' character, if she didn't turn out to be the 'Oldest One' after all? Did Peter go into the dream couch as he was dying on purpose? Why? Why did Henrietta happen to spout a critical plot point that no one knew was important at the time when they talked to her? What was the 'Oldest One's' big plan anyway? If the Heechee took some proto-human hominids from Africa a few million years ago and put them on Heechee heaven and subjected them to an intelligence-seeking breeding program, why are they so far behind naturally-evolved humans in the book? Why is it obvious to every reader that the old ones are human ancestors, but no one in the book realizes that for chapters and chapters?

In the end, it's a big mess that ends with an un-dramatic thud as the only villain is killed with one lucky shot and everyone goes back home. Then follows almost an hour of exposition by the most-boring-est character as he drones on explaining everything the author didn't bother to include in the actual plot and setting it up for a sequel in a completely desultory way. No thanks.

4 people found this helpful

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Another Winner

It may just be because I'm rereading a series I really enjoyed in my youth, but I just can't stop listening to this series. I'm picking up on stuff I missed the last time I read this series and the story is keeping me very focused. Must get some sleep tonight!!! No more marathon listening sessions. I may need Sigmund to help me through this problem.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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This book feels very dated

After enjoying the first book in this series, Beyond the Blue Event Horizon was quite a let down.

I believe that part of the problem here is Pohl broke the story into segments following different characters. Instead of focusing on a single narrative, this time Pohl jumps from one point of view to another. This tempo isn't always a bad thing, but here its stopping somewhat interesting story lines in there tracks and its a little jarring.

The ideas of what a computer could be is dated. Sort of like the computer on original Star Trek. Makes for some hard reading when a computer plays such an integral role.

Dumb characters. I really got to hating the family that is on a several year mission to an artifact. They are supposed to be the brightest of humanity, but they come off as petty and idiots. The decisions they make are awkward. And speaking of awkward, the heavy sexual narrative of a girl on her first period written by an old man... yikes.

Stay away from this book. Its not good.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Terrific Extension of Gateway

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely! Pohl is an underrated author. He comes out of the classic Sci Era of Asimov and Clarke and I think compares favorably to both. This is big concept Sci Fi, without a lot of action relative to fighting or horror. Much of the narrative is similar to Asimov (logic and plot conveyance) but with a significant amount of hard science. Astrophysics is at the heart of this second novel in the series and I thought it was terrific. I do not understand why Pohl is to regarded more highly, maybe because the novel format moved away from these internally driven narratives to more outward, action based stories at home in the movies or TV.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Well Robin is the star here but honestly I thought Albert Einstein was just as engaging as Siegfried Von Shrink in Gateway. This is not as heavy of a novel and Albert adds some coif relief and is a great device to explain astophysics. Very clever of Pohl.

Have you listened to any of Oliver Wyman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Well his work in Gateway was tremendous, this is just as good. His voice for Robin shows his advanced age and the other characters are great.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

"Hope you paid attention in high school physics"!

Any additional comments?

This is a solid series. Because Gateway was such a classic book, some readers might be put off by this second installment. It is a much different narrative and style. Don't compare the two, Pohl is moving the story forward and to do that he needed to tell the story differently. After a bit I got used to it and I was rewarded a story that I very much enjoyed. I plan on finishing the remaining books in the series. If you like Asimov, Clarke and Bradbury you will enjoy this book. Its clever, a little corny and educational.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

It depends on what the definition of "beyond" is

Would you listen to Beyond the Blue Event Horizon again? Why?

Chock full of spoilers (generalized). In this book, which is a sequel to Gateway, you've got new characters, you've got new aliens. Pohl zooms in on various characters, light years away from one another, and follows specific individuals. Wyman's vocalizations are distinct. One of them is very annoying--a young character that he feels compelled to always have shouting as if they are trying to prevent someone from yanking their shorts up their ass-crack.

Pohl gloriously zooms out in the book's latter part, allowing three major aspects of the Heechee phenomenon to be told. Just when you think the telescope has brought you to a logical end view of the picture, Pohl either backs away to a whole new extensions, or directs you to a microscope or CAT Scan of the subject at hand.

My big problem--which may or may not be cleared up in later installments--is that there is no action regarding Clara's plight. I thought "beyond" meant into, past, pioneering, discovering--as in "into." Instead, it's about dismissing, "getting over with," setting aside.
In that sense, I was really disappointed.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Beyond the Blue Event Horizon?

Finding the cause of the madness that recurred on earth on a regular basis--and how that madness changed according to the specific transmitter. Finding the purpose of the ubiquitous Heechee artifacts.

What about Oliver Wyman’s performance did you like?

The variety of voices--except the hysterical one mentioned above. Boy, did that grate on my nerves.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The meeting of the travelers and the young castaway. The description of the activity of "first contact" was outrageous, pathetic, natural, shocking, and liberating!

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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'Gateway' sequel

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. It just seems to meander. Characters aren't engaging.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I was glad it was over so I could listen to something better.

Did Oliver Wyman do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Yes.

Do you think Beyond the Blue Event Horizon needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No!

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Follow-on to Gateway with more Heechee

Beyond the Blue Event Horizon is Frederik Pohl's sequel to Gateway. Robin Broadhean has sponsored an expedition to a recently discovered Heechee food factory at the edge of the solar system. A small crew of four makes the four year journey and not only find the food factory, but a young human who migrates between the food factory and another Heechee ship called Heechee Heaven. On Heaven are the Dead Men who turn out to be simulacras of lost Gateway pilots as well as old ones who appear to be degenerated Heechees. The crew is captured and Robin, after dealing with multiple business issues makes his way out there in a Gateway vessel and rescues the the crew, brings the food factory home, and solves the mystery of Heechee controls. The ending suggests the mysterious Heechee have been toying with humanity in order to create a buffer between them and something even more powerful.

Pohl throws quite a bit of science into the story with much discussion about black holes. He creates AI avatars that provide legal and accounting services as well as a digital Albert Einstein. The Heechee prayer fans turn out to be information storage devices as well as another Heechee technology to digitize a person. A 'dream chamber' has been used to direct human evolution. The last chapter is from the perspective of the Heechee captain who oversaw the Earth project with the idea that the Heechee are on the run from an entity with the power to rearrange the fundamental constants of the universe and they were hoping to set up humans and other intelligent species as a buffer.

The narration is well done with excellent character distinction and overall quick pacing. The Albert Einstein accent is nicely done, but can get a bit annoying.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A slightly disappointing continuation.

What did you like best about Beyond the Blue Event Horizon? What did you like least?

While the Hee-chee story line is a great one, this book seems to have been written as a means to an end; it is an underwhelming and anti-climactic bridge between the first and third novels in this series.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I would have preferred a more satisfying ending.

Which scene was your favorite?

Don't want to give it away, but the "prayer fans" revelation was interesting.

Did Beyond the Blue Event Horizon inspire you to do anything?

It inspired me to avoid further sequels, unfortunately.

1 person found this helpful

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  • NICOLA
  • 04-01-16

Escapism at its best

Well written,excellently narrated and right up my street. Good descriptive passages created vivid pictures in the mind.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 01-21-17

As Good As Gateway

What made the experience of listening to Beyond the Blue Event Horizon the most enjoyable?

The story was progressed in a brilliant way. Excellent story telling. Fiction at its best.

What did you like best about this story?

The fact that the characters were very believable and the story moved on in a very logical and enjoyable way.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I enjoyed the introduction of new characters and their story lines.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Howard
  • 05-13-19

An incomplete book with a dreadful ending

What a fascinating set-up the first 80% of this book had. So many interesting scenarios and questions it raises. The claustrophobic setting of a family trapped on a long-distance spaceship paired with a billionaire trapped by his own investment interests. There was so much potential.

And then for the last two chapters, it was as if Pohl got fed up of writing the book and just wanted to finish it and publish it as quickly as possible. At literally the most exciting point in the plot, he skips ahead to a time where everything worked out perfectly and then retells how everything was resolved as a recollection. Then to make matters worse - obviously panicking and realising with this unsatisfying ending people might not buy the next book in the series - he tacks on an expositional chapters which removes ALL the mystery about the Heechee race and explains everything, setting the scene for a confrontation in the sequel. It's an appalling betrayal of the reader and one all the more poignant because of the excellence of what came before.

I'm (generously) giving this book 3 stars as 80% of it was really good. Next to Gateway though the book appears hugely flawed.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Don
  • 12-16-16

A good progression of the Heechee series

This is the second book in the series and if you haven't already go and read Gateway first. Like Gateway this is a science fiction story focused on exploration, concepts, relationships, science and even politics rather than action sequences. This story is set some years later than Gateway and sees Robin as an older man and head of a company but is a clear progression of the themes and issues explored in Gateway. The new cast of characters are really interesting as is the mission central to the narrative. All in all a good progression of the story and a bit like a lot of middle stories it is setting up future stories rather than wrapping up everything nicely. All in all I really enjoyed this and am looking forward to the next chapter.

1 person found this helpful