On a routine survey mission studying a neutron star, an Academy starship receives a transmission in an unknown language. Before leaving the area, the starship launches a series of satellites to find the signal—and perhaps discover its origins.
Five years later, a satellite finally encounters the signal—which is believed to be of extraterrestrial origin by the Contact Society, a wealthy group of enthusiasts who fund research into the existence of alien life. Providing a starship for the Academy to be piloted by Captain Priscilla “Hutch” Hutchins, the Contact Society embarks on a mission to find the source of the transmission.
Across a myriad of stars, from world to world, Hutch and her crew follow the signal, but find only puzzles and lethal surprises.
Then, in a planetary system far beyond the bounds of previous exploration, they discover an object. It is immense, ominous, and mysterious. And it may hold the answer not only to the questions of the Contact Society, but to those of every person who has ever looked to the sky and wondered if we were alone…
Most science fiction seeks to excite and gratify the reader’s sense of wonder. Jack McDevitt’s hard SF novel Chindi both satisfies and examines this sense of wonder, which inspires not only SF readers and writers, but every explorer and scientist who seeks to understand the universe.
In Chindi, humanity has expanded to the stars and found very few other intelligent races—all but one extinct, with the survivor none too impressive. Humanity has resigned itself to being alone. Then an alien satellite is found, orbitting a distant star and beaming an unreadable signal across the galaxy. Academy starship Captain Priscilla “Hutch” Hutchins finds herself piloting a motley crew of eccentrics (one an ex-lover) from the idealistic, ridiculed Contact Society, seeking the signal’s destination. Their quest turns deadly as it takes them far beyond the borders of explored space to an impossible planetary system—and a vast and terrifying alien artifact.
Chindi is an ambitious, exciting, big-idea hard-SF novel that ventures successfully into Rendezvous with Rama territory, and beyond. The sequel to The Engines of God and Deepsix, Chindi leaves some unanswered questions for McDevitt’s forthcoming fourth novel. —Cynthia Ward