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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews


Copyright 2001 by Jack McDevitt

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Very good (4/5)

I first read this on the 20th July 2003.

It is the year 2223 and the planet Maleiva III, known colloquially as Deepsix is about to be destroyed by falling into the path of the wandering gas giant Morgan's World. Scientists have been awaiting this momentous event for twenty-seven years, ever since the path of Morgan's World was determined.

The World Academy For Science And Technology has sent the spacecraft Wendy Jay to give its scientists a grandstand view of the imminent devastation.

Alongside this vessel is the cruise liner Evening Star. Its wealthy passengers have paid highly for a chance to see, ensconced in luxury, the destruction.

However the Academy has rather belatedly decided that a little exploration of Deepsix might be in order. After all this is one of the few worlds known to contain life. Accordingly Pricilla "Hutch" Hutchins, pilot of the Harold Wildside is drafted into the role of archaeologist to investigate some unusual ruins on this soon-to-be-destroyed planet.

Of course, what is planned to be a short exploration on the surface goes terribly wrong. Hutch and her associates will struggle to escape the planet's surface before the collision.

A truly memorable climax, including a very surprising attempted rescue. This was seriously exciting.

I loved the beginning, was fed up when they started their trek ("oh no not another trek across an alien world"), but grew to love it as they progressed to their destination. Finally, of course, I was riveted to my seat, one hand holding the paperback and the other juggling the T&T*, as the novel drew to its amazing climax.

It was great to see Hutch back in action again, her quiet confidence and understated competence achieving the optimal solution, the best out of a bad job, the highest survival ratio.

Jack McDevitt is a thoughtful and, as he shows in this novel, powerful writer. I was engrossed in his descriptions of the planetary breakup; it was not simply big numbers being thrown around, it felt real. There was a sense of great knowledge to be discovered, and of great mysteries lost.

I didn't like the title. For some reason it made me think this was some sort of underwater novel, and not being keen on water, found it unappealing, Additionally I had a recollection that "The Engines Of God" was a bit slow. Finally I remembered that, although "The Engines Of God" was not exactly fast-moving, it has slowly become one of my favourite books. Re-enthused, I bought the book and now consider myself darn lucky to have done so.

*Tobacco & Tequila

Loaded on the 1st August 2003.
Cover of Deepsix