Posted by : atcampbell | On : August 6, 2002

Deepsix by Jack McDevitt

Sixteen people attended this discussion at the home of Charles and Willie. The topic, Deepsix by Jack McDevitt, is a hard sf novel about a group of scientists who rush to explore a mysterious planet before it is destroyed in a cosmic collision. All of us had read prior books by McDevitt. Eleven of us started Deepsix, and seven finished it.

We enjoyed reading a traditional sf novel. The story got off to an interesting start, and we enjoyed discovering strange things on the planet. We loved the alien species, particularly the cool “cricket people.” The prose style was clear and told the story well. We appreciated how the author skillfully kept the pace of the plot going throughout. A couple of people called the story a “thoroughly enjoyable ride.”

We did find problems. One annoying character seemed like a cross between Dr. Smith (from Lost in Space) and Rush Limbaugh (from talk radio), and we kept hoping that he’d either reform or get killed off. One person said there were so many characters that she had to keep a checklist. Many of us felt the last half of the book turned into a routine rescue story that “seemed like something on the Lifetime Channel.”

Overall we’d give Deepsix a mild recommendation. It has a lot of neat ideas but the story and characters didn’t grab many of us. Our group has read and enjoyed several of McDevitt’s books and did not think Deepsix was in the same league with has best books like Moonfall and Ancient Shores. After the meeting, we had dinner at The Olive Garden.

–A. T. Campbell, III