Jack McDevitt is a skilled but uneven storyteller. His best work is found in his series of novels featuring Priscilla Hutchins. While the Hutchins series tends to be . The luxury space yacht Polaris carried an elite group of the wealthy and curious thousands of light-years from Earth to witness a spectacular stellar phenomenon . Minor Spoiler Alert! Polaris is second of Jack McDevitt’s series of novels about Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath – and it is probably the best of.
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Polarks knew the legend of Christopher Sim. An interstellar hero with a rare talent for war, Sim changed mankind’s history forever when he forged a ragtag group of misfits into the weapon that broke the back of the alien Ashiyyur.
But now, Alex Benedict has found a startling bit of information, long buried in an ancient computer file. If it is true, then Christopher Sim was a fraud.
Humans call them Monument-Makers. An unknown race, they left stunning iack statues scattered on distant planets throughout the galaxy, encoded with strange inscriptions that defy translation. Searching for clues about the Monument-Makers, teams of 23rd century linguists, historians, engineers and archaeologists have been excavating the enigmatic alien ruins on a number of planets, uncovering strange, massive false cities made of solid rock.
But their time is running out. Polris a remote corner of the galaxy, a message is being sent. The continuous beats of a pulsar have become odd, irregular, and artificial. It can only be a code. Frantically, a research team struggles to decipher the alien communication. And what the scientists discover is destined to shake the foundations of empires around this world – from Wall Street to the Vatican.
Our universe is ruled by physics, and faster-than-light travel is not possible – until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transports us to other worlds, around other stars.
Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war – and a system of control for the rulers of the empire. Inhumanity is expanding into the wider galaxy in leaps and bounds.
Science Fiction Hyperdrive: Review of Polaris by Jack McDevitt
Cutting-edge technology of linked jump gates has rendered mcdevit forms of transportation – including starships – virtually obsolete. Every place on Earth, every distant planet humankind has settled, is now a step away from any other. And all seems wonderful – until a crashed alien spaceship of unknown origin is found on a newly located world 89 light-years from Earth, carrying a cargo as strange as it is horrifying.
To assess the potential of the threat a high-powered team is dispatched to investigate. But one of them may not be all they seem It is 30 years from now, and we have colonized the moon. American Fred Fredericks is making his first trip, his purpose to install a communications system for China’s Lunar Science Foundation.
But hours after his arrival, he witnesses a murder and is forced into hiding. It is also the first visit for celebrity travel reporter Ta Shu. He has contacts and influence, but mcdevitr, too, will find the moon can be a perilous place for any traveler. How do you stage a mutiny when you’re only awake one day mcdevitt a million? How do you conspire when your tiny handful of potential allies changes jadk each job shift?
How do you engage an enemy that never sleeps, that sees through your eyes and hears through your ears, and relentlessly, honestly, only wants what’s best for you?
Trapped aboard the starship EriophoraSunday Ahzmundin is about to discover the components of any successful revolution: Once Homo sapiens reigned supreme, spreading from star system to star system in an empire that encountered no alien life and thus knew no enemy As had happened many times before, the most primal human instincts rose up, only this time armed with the advanced scientific knowledge to create a genetically engineered smart virus that quickly wiped out humanity to the last man.
That man is Ruslan, the sole known surviving human being in the universe. A working stargate dating back more than 10, years has been discovered in North Dakota, on a Sioux reservation near Devils Lake. Travel through the gate currently leads to three equally mysterious destinations: More than 20 years have passed since Ren and the rest of the faithful braved the starry abyss and established a colony at the base of an enigmatic alien structure where Suh-Mi has since resided alone.
Ren has worked hard as the colony’s 3-D printer engineer, creating the tools necessary for human survival in an alien environment – and harboring a devastating secret.
On a Mars where ruthless corporate interests violently collide with a homegrown independence movement as Earth-based overlords battle for profits and power, Hakan Veil is an ex-professional enforcer equipped with military-grade body tech that’s made him a human killing machine.
But he’s had enough of the turbulent red planet, and all he wants is a ticket back home – which is just what he’s offered by the Earth Oversight organization, in exchange for being the bodyguard for an EO investigator.
It’s a beyond-easy gig for a heavy hitter like Veil On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest. Once, she was the Justice of Toren – a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy. Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance.
Joe Colsco boarded a flight from San Francisco to Chicago to attend a national chemistry meeting. He would never set foot on Earth again. On planet Anyar, Joe is found unconscious on a beach of a large island inhabited by humans where the level of technology is similar to Earth circa He awakes amid strangers speaking an unintelligible language and struggles to accept losing his previous life and finding a place in a society with different customs, needing a way to support himself and not knowing a single soul.
Earth is a dying planet. To survive, humanity founds the Circuit, a string of colonies across the solar system, dedicated to mining resources vital to preserving what remains of mankind. Here there are no heroes or villains, only those willing to do what’s necessary to survive.
The New Earth Tribunal, a powerful religious faction, has risen to rule the Circuit. They believe a Spirit within the Earth will one day appear and welcome humanity back home.
Jupiter, thrown off orbit, will destroy Earth in less than a century. Jon Ryan volunteers for the most ambitious, desperate mission ever conceived: His consciousness must be transferred into an experimental android host, where he’ll live an immortal – and lonely – life.
Jon’s only companion on his year voyage is his ship’s irritable AI. The US president wants Jon dead and is willing to sacrifice his own people to eliminate Jon. An alien species has vowed a holy war to eliminate all humans, either on Earth or wherever they might run. Only Jon can protect humans from their enemies. One night when he was 10, Tyler stood in his backyard and watched the stars go out. They flared into brilliance, then disappeared, replaced by an empty black barrier.
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It would shape their lives. When an interstellar probe lands in the heart of the Amazon jungle, powerful nations around the world will stop at nothing to retrieve it. Because the unoccupied alien craft is sure to mcdevith revolutionary technology. Technology that will allow the country that controls it to dominate the globe.
With the probe hidden within the densest rain forest on Earth, traditional military power is useless.
For nearly a billion years, every known sentient species in the universe has been the result of genetic and cultural guidance – or “uplifting” – by a previously uplifted patron race. Then humans are discovered. Having already uplifted chimps and dolphins, humanity clearly qualifies as an intelligent species, but did they actually evolve their own intelligence, or did some mysterious patron race begin the process, pklaris suddenly abandon Earth?
Using his insider knowledge, Alex Benedict, one of the preeminent antiquities dealers in the galaxy, secures some of the artifacts. But then an explosion destroys most of the collection, convincing Alex that drastic measures are being polarls to hide what happened aboard the Polaris – which is why that’s exactly what he has to find out, especially if it means risking his life.
Kind of like a Magnum PI episode: I like the point of view and the character buildout. The narrator has offbeat intonation, but the wry humor of the character comes through well. Not a deep mindbender, but a fun mystery romp with unlikely heroes.
It takes about an hour into the book before all of the pieces come together but Jack McDevitt sure knows how to write a gripping story. Every book usually has a boring moment during which you just skim.
I am yet to find one in this series. There are very few books that I am willing to listen to over and over again. Jennifer van Dyck’s reading has made this series so immersive that I feel like I am living in that time period. I can even relate to the background characters.
Now I actively seek out titles where she is a reader. I wish there were more than 6 titles in the series. At some point in the story everything starts to get a little predictable. I guess this is because I have read so many sci fi titles but, I still rate the story high. If you are looking for a title or a series for that matter that will engage you for a few days, this series is perfect. McDevitt creates an enjoyable futuristic environment with likeable characters and an interesting and compelling plot.
Is there anything you would change about this book? There are multiple problems here. For openers, there are few if any appreciable differences between American society of the date written and human society ten thousand years hence. No imagination used there at all There is also a problem with Alex’s sexism which again gives it a s feel.
Worst, perhaps, the author requires his supposedly-very-smart lead characters to do VERY stoopid things It’s as bad as a teen horror flick without the goalie mask. This is basically unforgivable. Most of what happens between the setup and the conclusion should be rewritten from scratch. But the brief twist at the end is decent.
Could you see Polaris being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?