The Stonehenge Gate
by Jack Williamson
Review by Steve Sawicki
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 0765308975
Date: 01 August, 2005 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
I know, you thought I was going to say get into a lengthy argument about validity, proof and the last general faculty meeting. It's quickly obvious we are not dealing with your normal group of academics. This is further proven when, after reaching the Sahara and managing to convince a pilot to drop them in the middle of nowhere, they stumble on the stone monoliths (which have been conveniently uncovered during a sandstorm) and one of them ends up getting pulled through. If you can get through the idea that these things might actually happen it's all down hill from here.
Lupe, who is the only female in the group, is the one who ends up getting sucked through when she's apparently attacked by a giant grasshopper kind of thing. The remainder of the group quickly follow her through and thus begins the search/discovery phase of the novel where we are introduced to wonders and beings not normally seen by humans.
As I mentioned before, if you can get this far the book becomes a lot of fun as the group, sometimes split and sometimes together, wander through these alien landscapes trying to rescue Lupe, discover a way back and marveling at what they are finding. Williamson is old school when it comes to SF in that what's most important is the journey and the science behind the journey rather than the motivation of the characters. This creates an interesting setting through which only partially developed characters interact. The writing is sharp, the pacing quick and if the motivation is sometimes suspect at least the decisions that are made move the plot forward in an action oriented fashion. I enjoyed the book, reading it in two sittings and remembering why I liked Williamson so long ago. And it was long ago as Williamson was 97 when he wrote this book.