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Jack McDevitt is a former naval officer, taxi driver, customs officer and motivational trainer. He is a multiple Nebula Award finalist who lives in Georgia with his wife Maureen.
Having mastered the big, sprawling adventure stories called space opera in books like Chindi, McDevitt extends the form in this feel-good SF novel that earns its hopeful conclusion. Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchens, heroine of several of McDevitt's previous novels, has had a full career as a space pilot and is now administrator of the government agency in charge of space research. Like most people, she's only mildly concerned with the long-range threat of the omega clouds, masses of energy floating through the universe that detect and pulverize artificial structures (and the intelligent creatures that live in them). After all, the cloud headed for Earth is 900 years away. This situation changes when a charmingly innocent young alien race is discovered just a few months before a cloud will obliterate it. Hutch has to juggle resources to save the cute creatures, at the same concealing the human intervention in order not to disrupt the alien civilization's development. The cloud's implacable threat keeps the action tightly focused, though the story shifts viewpoint frequently to show crowds of people committing themselves to different aspects of the mission. Part of the rescue effort involves spaceships and gadgets, but the most serious part depends on human intelligence and passion. McDevitt is very good at imagining strange challenges-and at picturing humans coping when things don't work out as planned. His characters succeed in imposing their compassion on the void. (Nov. 4) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
The discovery of the omega cloud phenomenon-cloudlike waves of energy that destroy entire civilizations-has put Earth on alert. When the cloud heading toward it veers toward a planet populated by a primitive alien species, a few concerned individuals, including a research scientist and a former space pilot, travel to that world in a desperate attempt to save it and, in so doing, discover a way to save their home planet. McDevitt excels in combining hard science, gripping adventure, and engaging characters into a story rich in detail and filled with action. Set in the same far future as Chindi and Deepsix, this taut tale of sf suspense belongs in most collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"A satisfying answer to the mystery of the omegas that is appropriately cosmic without straining credulity."