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The main technology was a sort of gate that enabled instant travel from planet to planet through a gate on the surface. I think there was a river that ran on several different planets, through these gates.

One scene had the inventor waving at astronauts who thought they were the first humans on Mars.

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I think you’ve conflated two different series, both of which have fixed interstellar teleport portals. The river that runs between different planets through the teleport portals is from the Hyperion Cantos series by Dan Simmons — it’s called the River Tethys. But the inventor of the portals waving at the first astronauts on Mars is the opening scene of the Commonwealth Saga by Peter F Hamilton.

  • I think you are right. I have read both series and the similar tech probably merged in memory. I really appreciate this answer. – Locke Wiggin Apr 27 at 21:10
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    Though the Commonwealth saga DOES have the "Silfen Paths" which wind through other worlds without using the traditional portals, and I may be misremembering myself but I believe at least part of Ozzie's journey through them was on a river? That could also have led to some confusion between the concepts. – starpilotsix Apr 27 at 22:21
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    There's a part in the commonwealth saga where two characters are backpacking and following aliens through some different connected areas. The OP might be thinking of that part. – Mark Rogers Apr 28 at 2:33
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    @LockeWiggin Please accept this answer as correct, if you believe it is right. – Stormblessed Apr 28 at 4:00

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