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McDevitt, Jack

Jack McDevitt (born 1935) is an American science fiction author whose novels frequently deal with attempts to make contact with alien races, and with archaeology or xenoarchaeology.

McDevitt's first published story was "The Emerson Effect" in The Twilight Zone Magazine in 1981. Two years later, he published his first novel, The Hercules Text, about the discovery of an intelligently conceived signal whose repercussions threaten human civilization. This novel set the tone for many of McDevitt's following novels, which focused on making first contact. Frequently this theme is mixed with both trepidation before the unknown and a sense of wonder at the universe.

With The Engines of God (1994), McDevitt introduced the idea of a universe that was once teeming with intelligent life, but contains only their abandoned artifacts by the time humans arrive on the scene. Although it was initially written as a standalone novel, the main character of The Engines of God, pilot Priscilla Hutchins, has since appeared in five more books, Deepsix (2001), Chindi (2002), Omega (2003), Odyssey (2006), and Cauldron (2007). The mystery surrounding the destructive "Omega Clouds" (which are introduced in The Engines of God) is left unexplored until Omega.

McDevitt's novels frequently raise questions which he does not attempt to answer. He prefers to leave ambiguities to puzzle and intrigue his readers: "Some things are best left to the reader's very able imagination."

His novel Seeker won the 2006 Nebula Award for Best Novel, given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He has been nominated for the Nebula Award fifteen times; Seeker is his only win.

  • McDevitt, Jack

    Seeker

    Alex Benedict and his assistant, Chase Kolpath, return to solve a riddle that leads them to the edge of known space in this tale from a multiple Nebula Award-nominee
  • McDevitt, Jack

    Odyssey

    To boost waning interest in interstellar travel, a mission is sent into deep space to learn the truth about "moonriders," the strange lights supposedly being seen in nearby systems. But Academy pilot Valentina Kouros and the team of the starship Salvator will soon discover that their odyssey is no mere public-relations ploy, for the moonriders are not a harmless phenomenon. They are very, very dangerous-in a way that no one could possibly have imagined.
  • McDevitt, Jack

    Moonfall

    It's the 21st century, and all is right with the world. Or so it seems.

    Vice President Charlie Haskell, who will travel anywhere for a photo op, is about to cut the ribbon for the just-completed American Moonbase. The first Mars voyage is about to leave high orbit, with a woman at the helm. Below, the world is marveling at a rare solar eclipse.

    But all that is right is about to go disastrously wrong when an amateur astronomer discovers a new comet. Named for its discover, Tomikois a "sun-grazer,"an interstellar wanderer with a hundred times the mass and ten times the speed of other comets. And it is headed straight for our moon.

    In less than five days, if scientists' predictions are right, Tomiko will crash into the moon, shattering it into a cloud of superheated gas, dust, and huge chunks of rock that will rain down on the earth, causing chaos and killer storms, possibly tidal waves inundating entire cities...or worse: a single apocalyptic worldwide "extinction event."

    In the meantime, the population of Moonbase must be evacuated by a hastily assembled fleet of shuttle rockets. There isn't room, or time enough, for everyone. And the vice president, who rashly promised to be last off ("I will lock the door and turn off the lights"), is trying to figure out how to get away without eating his words.

    In Moonfall,McDevitt has created a disaster thriller of truly epic proportions, featuring a cast of unforgettable characters: the reluctant Russian rocket jockey entrusted with the lives of squabbling refugees; the woman chosen to be first on the moon; the scientist who must deflect the "possum" (POSSible IMpactors) knocked from orbit or witness the end science itself. And at the center of it all is Charlie Haskell, the career politician who discovers his own unexpected reserves of only himself and his country, but for all humankind.

    Moonfall,is a spellbinding tale of heroism and hope, cowardice and passion played against the awesome spectacle of human history's darkest night.

  • McDevitt, Jack

    Infinity Beach

    We are alone. That is the verdict, after centuries of Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence missions and space exploration. The only living things in the Universe are found on the Nine Worlds settled from Earth, and the starships that knit them together. Or so it's believed, until Dr. Kimberly Brandywine sets out to find what happened to her clone-sister Emily, who, after the final, unsuccessful manned SETI expedition, disappeared along with the rest of her ship's crew.Following a few ominous clues, Kim discovers the ship's log was faked. Something happened out there in the darkness between the stars, and she's prepared to go to any length to find answers. Even if it means giving up her career...stealing a starship...losing her lover. Kim is about to discover the truth about her sister -- and about more than she ever dared imagine.
  • McDevitt, Jack

    Chindi

    The universe has been explored--and humanity has all but given up on finding other intelligent life. Then an alien satellite orbiting a distant star sends out an unreadable signal. Is it the final programmed gasp of an ancient, long-dead race? Or the first greeting of an undiscovered life form?
  • McDevitt, Jack

    Omega

    A civilization-destroying omega cloud has switched direction, heading straight for a previously unexplored planetary system--and its alien society. And suddenly, a handful of brave humans must try to save an entire world--without revealing their existence.
  • McDevitt, Jack

    Polaris

    Jack McDevitt brings back the daring Alex Benedict from A Talent for War, thrusting him into a far-future tale of mystery and suspense that will lead the prominent antiquities dealer to the truth about an abandoned space yacht called the Polaris.
  • McDevitt, Jack

    Cauldron

    Chosen as One of the Five Best SF Novels of the Year by Library Journal. When a young physicist unveils an efficient star drive capable of reaching the core of the galaxy, veteran star pilot Priscilla “Hutch” Hutchins finds herself back in the deepest reaches of space, and on the verge of discovering the origins of the deadly omega clouds that continue to haunt her.
  • McDevitt, Jack

    Echo

    Sunset Tuttle spent a lifetime looking for alien species. Twenty-five years after Tuttle's death, Alex Benedict discovers a stone tablet inscribed with cryptic symbols, now in the possession of Tuttle's one- time lover Rachel Bannister. Benedict is determined to decipher its secret-one Bannister doesn't want revealed. Could it be that Tuttle's obsessive quest was successful?
  • McDevitt, Jack

    Ancient Shores

    It turned up in a North Dakota wheat field: a triangle, like a shark's fin, sticking up from the black loam. Tom Lasker did what any farmer would have done. He dug it up. And discovered a boat, made of a fiberglass-like material with an utterly impossible atomic number. What it was doing buried under a dozen feet of prairie soil two thousand miles from any ocean, no one knew. True, Tom Lasker's wheat field had once been on the shoreline of a great inland sea, but that was a long time ago -- ten thousand years ago.

    A return to science fiction on a grand scale, reminiscent of the best of Heinlein, Simak, and Clarke, Ancient Shores is the most ambitious and exciting SF triumph of the decade, a bold speculative adventure that does not shrink from the big questions -- and the big answers.