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Omega (Priscilla) [Mass Market Paperback]

Jack McDevitt
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 493 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books; Reprint edition (30 Nov 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441012108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441012107
  • Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 10.5 x 17 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 766,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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HAROLD TEWKSBURY WOKE from one of those curious disjointed dreams in which he was wandering down endless corridors while his heart fluttered and he had trouble breathing. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Space, science and sociology 21 Oct 2005
By Steve
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you have read other books by McDevitt, such as Chindi, Deepsix, etc, you might have been expecting our favourite heroine, Priscilla Hutchins, to be running a "just-in-time" rescue somewhere in the universe, again. Well, you might be in for a shock to find Hutch desk bound now.
A rescue is still required though!
A remote planet appears to be drawing one of the feared Omega clouds. On investigation, it shows to be populated by a low tech. civilisation of a previously unknown species. With just a few months before the cloud hits the planet and causes the typical mass extinction that Omega clouds are good at, Hutch hobbles together a rescue package which involves despatching a ship of experts and goods and redirecting other vessels in the vicinity of space, to prepare for the rescue.
The basic plans involve luring the Omega cloud away from the planet, camouflaging the city structures that attract the clouds in the first place and evacuating the population and helping them to survive the aftermath.
There are, of course, a whole number of things to impede the plan and many problems to overcome along the way. Not least of these is the law that prevents the humans from making their presence known to the newly discovered aliens.
This is a surprisingly gripping book. There are many well developed characters and Hutch quickly becomes a minor, background one.
There are a few points where you say to yourself "well, that's not going to work" or "why on earth did they do that?" and some of the science is a bit shaky (like assuming the Omega clouds "see" on the same wavelengths we do), but on the whole it is a satisfying tale.
What is very good is the approach to gathering data and studying the aliens and their culture. Particularly good is the linguist team cracking the alien language.
All in all, a good read. This is a stand-alone book, so those not yet familiar with McDevitts works should also find this a good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating sociological science fiction 27 July 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Some readers don't seem to grok Jack McDevitt, but he remains one of my all-time favorite writers of science fiction - and Omega did not disappoint this fan. He may take technological shortcuts at times, but McDevitt is a master at creating exceedingly human characters and seeing what they will do in futuristic sociological situations. In Omega, the story revolves around a newly discovered, intelligent alien race - one that unknowingly lies in the path of imminent destruction.
McDevitt's readers have followed Patricia "Hutch" Hutchinson through some wonderfully exciting adventures (in The Engines of God, Deepsix, and Chindi). In what looks to be the final Hutch novel, the focus shifts considerably. The intrepid hero of past jaunts now finds herself behind a desk, serving as the Director of Operations at the Academy, when word comes in that intelligent life has been discovered on a distant planet. Mankind had come close before, finding two exceedingly primitive alien societies, turning up lost artifacts on a number of worlds left by the mysterious Monument-Makers, and discovering a gigantic ship that served effectively as a museum of past interstellar races. Overshadowing everything was the discovery of omega clouds, wholly mysterious entities roaming the universe and destroying life-bearing planets. One of these omega clouds is headed for Earth, but governments and scientists have put little money into research efforts because the cloud is not due for another 900 years. The newly-discovered inhabitants of the planet unceremoniously dubbed Lookout, however, have a mere nine months before seemingly inevitable destruction.
Hutch coordinates the rushed effort to get people out there to do what they can to save lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read for commuters 26 Jan 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the only McDevitt I've read so I can't comment on the similarities to his other books.
Having said that, this is an entertaining read. It has the same scope and feel as space opera but defies that genre by leaving out ray-guns, warring empires and epic battles. It does however provide the tension and drama in much more human ways.
His characters aren't infallible, they get it wrong but in ways the reader can sympathise with, there's no dummies or exposition spouting cut-outs here. Intelligent compassionate humans who are basically just trying to do "the right thing". For the most part they're well drawn and make good companions for this adventure.
There are a couple of niggles though. There's a big cast list here and it gets a little hard keeping track of who some of the supporting characters are, this is made more difficult by the fact that some of them share the same first names.
Finally, I don't think much of McDevitt's use of technology. The characters face technological limitations that would've been permissable if this was written in the 1970s but some of their "challenges" could be beaten with today's technology....
Not a bad page turner, I'll keep an eye out for his other stuff
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Christopher Burns VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Omega is the 4th in McDevitt's "Hutchins" series, a set of tales about interstellar archaeology featuring one Priscilla Hutchins as a main character. While this sounds like an interesting premise (and on a couple of occasions, it is), McDevitt has managed to write a series of deeply formulaic stories which differ only marginally from each other. To wit :
-Archaeologists discover Something Big on an alien world.
(Despite claims that intelligent life is rare, it seems to be all over the place in McDevitt's books)
-A mission is mounted to uncover What It Is.
-Mission goes horribly wrong, People Die.
-There Is No Resolution.
If you're buying Omega to find out what the Omega clouds actually are (they're first mentioned in The Engines of God), I wouldn't bother because really, you don't find out beyond a mild supposition one of the characters has. That's it - regardless of what it says on the flyleaf, you don't actually, definitely find out what they are.
If you must read this, treat it like A.N. Other sci-fi novel - a standalone story - McDevitt is, wisely, careful not to alienate new readers by giving a little backstory to previously mentioned plot elements from other novels. You won't be totally lost.
I bought this together with McDevitt's much earlier novel, A Talent For War, and his earlier work is enormously better. Talent For War is actually rather thought-provoking and moving in places, and this is at a time when I'm only 60 pages in. Had I known, I wouldn't have bothered with Omega first.
To re-iterate, if you're looking for something different and interesting, read A Talent For War instead. Past this point, McDevitt takes the same theme and beats it to death with minor variations.
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