Beyond the Blue Event Horizon
Cover of the first edition
|Series||Heechee; Heechee Saga|
|Publisher||Del Rey Books/Ballantine Books|
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
|Pages||327 (first ed.)|
|LC Class||PS3566.O36 B48 1980|
|Followed by||Heechee Rendezvous|
Beyond the Blue Event Horizon is a science fiction novel by the American writer Frederik Pohl, a sequel to his 1977 novel Gateway and the second book in the Heechee series. It was a finalist for two major annual awards, the 1981 Hugo Award for Best Novel and the 1980 Nebula Award. In the 1981 poll of Locus readers (Locus Award) it finished second to The Snow Queen by Joan Vinge.
A space exploration unit sent off by Robinette Broadhead finds a food factory spaceship in the Oort cloud. As the crew examines the ship, the youngest crew member Janine finds a boy Wan who was stranded on the ship for the past fifteen years. In discussion over what to do Wan shows Janine around the ship. Here he shows her the dream chamber, a place where Wan has gone every 130 days. As he enters the chamber, humanity has gone into a fervor based on the dream Wan was having. Janine does the same, and humanity goes into a chaotic fever as it is not prepared for the dream.
This injures Robin Broadhead's wife, Essie Broadhead. He takes off time to care for his wife who is kept alive due to his full medical insurance. All this time he is learning about the party and what they have learned about the ship. They have learned that the ship can travel faster than light to go to a place called Heechee Heaven. This is a place filled with Australopithecus beings who Wan calls the Old Ones. Wan leads out an expedition of Heechee Heaven in order for the crew to find out more about the Heechee and perhaps what Wan is doing when he causes the universal dream.
As they are doing that, Robin Broadhead stays with his wife as she goes through a dangerous surgery. She recovers and Robin goes off to Heechee Heaven to find the party.
Meanwhile, Janine, Lurvey, and Wan are captured by the Old Ones. The Old Ones proceed to force Janine to live multiple lives until she finally lives the life of an Australopithecus, which is her last dream. When she is recovering from that dream Robin Broadhead arrives and rescues the party. He does so by learning how to operate the Artifacts by tricking Henrietta, one of the "dead men" (using an artificial intelligence (AI) to impersonate her dead husband) into revealing how it works. When the Oldest One realises, he moves the food factory towards the centre of the galaxy, the central black hole (which is later analyzed by the AI program Einstein to be the possible location of all the Heechee) along with trying to make a stand at the control room. However, Robin uses his new knowledge to save the crew from the Oldest One. Robin then takes the crew back to Earth and diverts the food factory back to the Solar System.
The book ends with the viewpoint of a Heechee "captain" who reveals that what the experiments (Old Ones and to a certain extent, the Humans as well) are to the Heechee (in terms of technological standing), the Heechee are to an "Unknown element" who have set into motion, resetting the universe to make it more habitable to pure energy based life... which would first require the existing universe to be destroyed. The Heechee have retreated to the central core, after seeding the universe with 15–17 experiments (apart from the Old Ones), which they hope will act as a buffer against the "Unknown element".
- "Beyond the blue event horizon"[permanent dead link] (first edition). Library of Congress Catalog Record. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
- Walton, Jo. "Revisiting the Hugos. Hugo Nominees: 1981, Tor.com. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
- 1980 Nebula Awards Archived June 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- Beyond the Blue Event Horizon (first edition) publication contents at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2014-12-13.