Posted by : atcampbell | On : December 7, 2004

Chindi by Jack McDevitt

A large group of 16 people showed up for this meeting, although some were there for voting on new books and socializing more than for discussing the book. Twelve people did start the book and 7 of them managed to finish it. Twelve had read McDevitt before.

This is McDevitt’s third book featuring superluminal pilot Hutch and her over-the-top rescues. In this volume she and a group of amateur explorers from the Contact Society follow a signal around the galaxy trying to locate the alien race producing it. Along the way they find archeological sites, vicious aliens and a moon-size automated ship.

Although this book was smoothly written and action-packed, we thought this too-ambitious travelogue did not leave us with much of a sense of wonder. It did not “deliver on the potential,” one reader complained. The characters were also too realistic in their arrogance toward the artifacts and aliens they met–bungling encounters, trashing sites. Some of us wondered if McDevitt was trying to be satirical. As readers we prefer characters who show more intelligence than the average.

Those of us who managed to hang on through the end cheered when one of the more obnoxious contact Society members died. We would have cheered even louder if all the characters had died.

–Sandy Kayser