Jack McDevitt won the Philip K. Dick Award for his first novel,
The Hercules Text, and the first UPC prize for his novella,
"Ships in the Night." He has been nominated for the Nebula and
Hugo for his novella, "Time Travelers Never Die",
The Engines of God was an Arthur C. Clarke Award finalist and
his novel, Ancient Shores, was a Nebula finalist in 1998.
McDevitt has been a taxi driver, a naval officer,
an English teacher, a customs officer, and a motivational
trainer. Currently, he
lives with his wife and three children in Brunswick, GA.
Jack McDevitt Links|
Jack McDevitt Website
SF Site Review: Polaris
SF Site Review: Chindi
SF Site Review: Moonfall
SF Site Review: Deepsix
SF Site Review: Infinity Beach
SF Site Review: Infinity Beach
SF Site Review: Moonfall
SF Site Review: Eternity Road
SF Site Review: Engines of God
Alex Benedict, from A Talent For War, is back. This time out he is on the hunt for antiquarian artifacts from the spaceship Polaris. The ship had been chartered to take a group out to witness the death of a distant solar system. It ran into a problem, sent out an SOS but was found empty and drifting by the time rescuers arrived. Now it appears that some effort has been made to destroy the artifacts from the ship and anyone who tries to get their hands on them. It all may stem back to the events surrounding what happened to the Polaris. Alex Benedict may be next on their list.
Somewhat sentient, the omega clouds obliterate life on every planet in their path. Now one of them is predicted to reach Earth in about 900 years. But between Earth and the cloud, lies the home world of the Korbikkan race. They are humanoid sentients and one of three sentient races known to humanity. Now, mankind must decide whether to marshall the science resources needed and to bring to bear the weaponry needed to save another race without putting itself at risk. Can a human rescue team save thier whole world without letting the inhabitants know they are being saved?
Priscilla Hutchins is fed up and has decided to give up her career as a shuttle pilot. She is persuaded to take one final flight to a neutron star where a signal from what may be an alien civilization is being broadcast. Her passengers are members of the Contact Society, a fringe fund-raising group, dilettantes one and all, out to find alien civilizations. Hopes abound but for "Hutch" who hopes they don't find the source of the signal since her shipmates seem unable to cope with the complexities and impact a new race will likely bring; they can't even get along amongst themselves. Each clue brings them closer to discovering the whereabouts of the alien spacecraft but can they survive its discovery?
Priscilla Hutchins is a pilot and a former xeno-archaeologist. Her shuttle is redirected to help in the investigation and possibly the salvage of the remains of a sentient culture just discovered on Deepsix. On board is Randall Nightingale. He's just another passenger, along for the ride, to watch Deepsix, a moniker for the doomed Maleiva III, which is 2 weeks away from being turned into dust specks after getting smucked by a giant Jupiter-type planet. Over 20 years earlier, he was among the first to set down on this planet and almost as quickly scamper to safety as the planet's indigenous life didn't take kindly to their exploration. They arrive and begin work when an earthquake trashes their vehicles and they face a frantic flight across the continent in hopes of finding an alien technology that may be their only chance for survival.
Kim Brandywine, works as a shill for a research outfit when she'd rather be doing science. But it is necessary work; it gives her immense satisfaction to know that her speeches result in furthering the institute's work. One day, she's contacted by an old teacher who has been checking into the circumstances of the flight of her clone-sister and her shipmates. Their ship returned from the latest unsuccessful quest for signs of alien life and, soon thereafter, all but one died under what some term mysterious circumstances and the other slipped away to die far from home. Like an itch she can't scratch, Kim begins to seek answers despite the obstacles thrown in her path. The mystery deepens as she finds that the "official story" bears little resemblance to the clues she digs up. But it'll take throwing away all she's worked for to discover the real truth. Maybe we aren't alone.
Timed to coincide with a rare total solar eclipse, the US Moonbase is about to be opened officially with the VP, Charles Haskell, on hand. About the same time, Tomiko Harrington, a young woman in St. Louis, discovers a new interstellar comet hurtling toward the Moon. The US President, Henry Kolladner, assures people that they have nothing to fear, despite science predicting that the comet's size and speed would result in the annihilation of the moon. Comet Tomiko is large, moving very fast -- in three days' time it will crash and at least some of the debris will rain down on the Earth triggering tidal waves and earthquakes. It does and a nuclear strike is considered against one Moon fragment large enough to devastate the entire planet Earth. But then wouldn't the resulting cloud of radioactive debris be just as lethal? As an alternative some think a fleet of co-operating space planes might just be able to nudge the fragment into a stable Earth orbit. This interesting dilemma offers McDevitt the opportunity to deal with the human issues surrounding such a profound change to the way bureaucracies work in the face of problem they have but one chance to solve.
Legend has it that there exists a place called Haven. A place where the secrets of The Roadmakers are kept. Some have gone to find it, never to return. Was it because they found what was there and didn't want to return? Or was it because they never made it? Chaka's brother was one who left. Chaka is gifted with a rare artifact -- a book called A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. It and her history inspires her to try again. Unable to do it alone, she hires and persuades a band of companions to go with her. Little do they know what awaits them -- river pirates, a ghost of an electronic age long past and machines that fly. This is an inventive post-apocalyptic novel of interesting dimensions. McDevitt stays away from the whiz-bang effect to show the impact of what now is an alien civilization can have on those brave enough to seek new dreams and smart enough to realize that a stagnating life can be better by dint of exploration and willingness not to linger with what is at hand.
It begins with finding an oddly designed sailboat buried in a farmer's field. Material analysis reveals Earth hasn't the technology to manufacture the boat's hull. Later discovery of what everybody calls The Roundhouse proves to be a gateway to other worlds. Rather than hearing about the rousing adventures of exploring another planet, readers gain insight into the implications of such an event on characters who could be their friends, neighbours and leaders. Their maneuverings, both political and social, holds up a mirror of what to expect if an event of this magnitude were to occur in the near future.
Once mankind goes into space, it discovered various monuments and structures on assorted worlds in local space. The most enigmatic being a sculpture of a large, winged, reptile-lik biped on Saturn's moon, Iapetus. What race built these monuments? Why did they build them? What happened to them? The book follows Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins, a shuttle pilot who ends up employed by and allied with the various scientists investigating the monuments and their creators. The team goes to on Quraqua, a world once inhabited by sentient beings, who apparently went extinct a few centuries previously. Urgency comes in the form of a deadline imposed by the planet "owners", a corporation who plan to terraform it into a colony world. They move to the apparent home world of the Monument-makers where they discover that the Monument-makers are either extinct or have simply left. The mystery unwinds to reveal that waves of such objects are flushed into our arm of the galaxy every 8000 years or so.
Hello Out There is an omnibus volume of The Hercules Text and A Talent For War. The text has been revised to update the hardware, some of the dialogue and downplay the international tension. Revisions were extensive though. Jack McDevitt reworte the second half of The Hercules Text changing the dilemmas faced by the protagonist, Harry Carmichael, sufficiently that he has to face the issues and act on them rather than avoiding them, leaving them buried.
Ace Books, Kinnell
Two centuries ago an alien race, the Ashiyyur, was invading human space but the major human powers -- Earth, Rimway, and others -- stayed out of it. So the Ashiyyur started conquering the worlds at the edge of human space. But a small fleet, led by one Christopher Sim and his brother Tarien, held them off for months until an alliance was struck to repel the invaders. Sim was killed in the final confrontation. The novel opens with Alex Benedict discovering the death of uncle Gabriel who claimed he was on the trail of something big related to that war. The info bequeathed Alex is stolen before he can see it. Alex begins a long quest to unearth the secrets of the war kept hidden for two centuries. He sorts through what he discovers on various planets and the peculiarities of the rear-guard action that Sim fought. The result is the finding secrets, but ones that are hidden by the subtle efforts of the people of the time for very specific purposes. The plot is one of revelation rather than one of suspense and struggles in the shadow.
Harry Carmichael is sitting around one day watching comets. A signal from deep space appears on one of the monitors. It isn't the usual type -- a non-repeating random noise. It seems to be continuous and regular. Had man finally found life elsewhere in the universe? If so, what did the signal from a remote corner of the galaxy portend for Earth? It soon becomes apparent that things were going to change and nobody can stop the chain reactions this knowledge would cause. The novel focuses its attention on the people who have something to win and on those who have something to lose and how politics and society react to these possible changes. The science of signal decryption makes for fascinating reading but it is the characters who make this a taut thriller. Written before Carl Sagan's Contact, McDevitt infuses the search for answers and the lengths groups will go to preserve their spot in the food chain with a thoughtful insights and vivid prose.
It collects the following stories:
Translations from the Colosian
Black to Move
The Fort Moxie Branch
Promises to Keep
To Hell with the Stars
The Jersey Rifle
Cruising Through Deuteronomy
Auld Lang Boom
Time Travelers Never Die
1981 Twilight Zone Dec 81
The Far Shore
Melville on Iapetus
Voice in the Dark [from The Hercules Text]
In the Tower
Time's Arrow [aka Hard Landings]
Leap of Faith
It's a Long Way to Alpha Centauri
Happy Birthday (with Mark L. Van Name)
Date with Destiny
Ships in the Night
Report from the Rear
Good Intentions (with Stanley Schmidt)
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