Multiple Nebula Award-finalist Jack McDevitt returns to the world of Chindi and Omega-and humanity’s struggle with its own existence.
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 the team soon discovers 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.
Barnes and Noble
Jack McDevitt’s pulse-pounding deep-space science fiction adventure featuring protagonist Priscilla “Hutch” Hutchins (previously encountered in Omega, Chindi, Deepsix, et al.) is a 23rd-century cautionary tale of sorts. After decades of political shortsightedness and overall disregard concerning the interstellar space program—namely, continued government cuts in funding—the inevitable has happened: An overused and inadequately maintained spaceship breaks down and disappears during hyperflight. The media uproar shines a glaring light on the maligned space program, which is increasingly being perceived as a massive black hole of a boondoggle into which boatloads of taxpayer’s money enter and never return. In a desperate attempt to renew popular interest in space exploration, Director of Operations Hutch and the rest of the brain trust at the World Academy for Science and Technology (McDevitt’s equivalent to NASA) plan a mission to study “moonriders,” mysterious black globular spacecraft that have been seen in the skies around numerous deep-space research facilities and popular interstellar tour destinations.
Along for the ride is editor Gregory MacAllister, a major-league skeptic whom the Academy hopes to wow with sites like the ancient orbiting temple left by the Monument-Makers at 61 Cygni, the very first planet to be found with multicellular life forms, the thousands-of-miles-long hypercollider being used in the Origins Project, etc. But when the semimythical moonriders redirect an asteroid and destroy an orbiting hotel in the process of being built, humankind’s interest in the space program is suddenly at an all-time high—and so is their fear of being annihilated by alien invaders
McDevitt has been called the next coming of Isaac Asimov for good reason. Combining thought-provoking, hard science fiction speculation with compelling, character-driven story lines, McDevitt—like Asimov—is a master of conveying a goose bump-inducing sense of awe and wonder, not only about the mysteries awaiting us in the vastness of space but also about the possible future paths of humankind. Paul Goat Allen