on 5 February 2016
The second book in the Prescilla Hutchings series. Action packed from start to finish and the story line is sound. The author does not get overly technical and he writes in a style that even a non techie could understand. I enjoyed the book and I have already bought the third book in the series.
The book was bought second hand and the quality on the hard back was excellent with no torn or marked pages.
In summary, this is a book that I would read again.
on 12 February 2003
The sequel to ‘Engines of God’ sees Hutch – the diminutive pilot introduced in the aforesaid novel – once again involved in last-minute xeno-archaeology.
The planet Maleiva III (Deepsix) is about to be cannon-balled by a rogue gas-giant which has entered the system from the depths of space. Although explorers visited the planet twenty years previously to investigate its six-billion year old biosphere and the highly evolved predators which inhabit the world it is only now that it is about to be engulfed that evidence of a sapient but apparently extinct civilisation has been found.
Hutch, being the only pilot with a lander capable of visiting the planet and near enough to reach the planet in time, is asked to head a team to try and salvage what artefacts and evidence they can before Maleiva III is destroyed.
In ‘Engines of God’ of course, Hutch was on another planet helping a team to excavate an alien temple before terraforming destroyed all evidence. Thankfully, that is where the similarities end.
‘Deepsix’ is a much tighter novel in that McDevitt confines the action to one location and the alien mysteries, far from being a backdrop, complement the unfolding human drama and provide a perfect balance between the two.
McDevitt, as we cannot fail to be aware, is an American. He has a great eye for character and detail, but one wonders whether he ever really stopped to consider whether any interstellar culture as this could really be populated so heavily by Americans.
There is one Frenchman and a Russian, I must point out, but that seems to be McDevitt’s only concession to a multi-cultural society.
On the other hand, if the network of human colonies, ships and of course Earth itself (which seems to have been taken over by the US. The cynical columnist McAllister at one point mentions the ratings for the WorldBowl) is a metaphor for the US, then it is not a pleasant comparison, and rather a damning portrait.
on 19 September 2014
Another very enjoyable read based on the Academy novels and the main character "Hutch". This time its some 20 years after the first novel "The Engines of God" and Hutch is involved in the retrieval of artefacts from a doomed planet which is to undergo a collision with a gas giant. Belatedly some archeological remains are discovered on what was thought to be a planet empty of previous civilisation. Hutch is on the team to retrieve these artefacts before the planet meets its doom. Various kinds of serious problems arise, of the distaster kind, and a vast rescue operation is launched to get their people off the planet. Well written, exciting in parts and constantly readable. I just hope that all of these academy novels are not so centred on some kind of disaster scenario as these two novels have been. I would also enjoy knowing more about Hutch, little is known of her personally. Nonethless, very enjoyable in the hard science fiction category.
on 26 October 2001
Deepsix is the perfect Sci Fi read, it's got action, adventure, romance, spaceships and aliens (?). The plot of the team being stranded on the planet about to be devoured by a gas giant, and they've got to escape is a simple one, but works like a dream. Coming toward the end of the book was a real shame as the planet held many mysteries and more. More planetary exploration would have been appreciated perhaps, but thats just me. I also felt genuine loss for the planet and all that it held.. But it did stir emotions of loss, a whole planet still really undiscovered.. Jacks writing is easy and flows well, and has already got me searching for his next book to order. Thoroughly recommended!!!
on 26 February 2004
I loved this book. I was disappointed with the Engines of God, that had more of the archaeology content that I liked, but jumped around too much and was very shallow.
This book is different. Hutch is dropped right in it again. Piloting the only “lander” the academy has in the area, Hutch has to pop into a planet that has visible signs of a past civilisation. The only problem – a rogue gas giant is within 3 weeks of colliding with the planet. You know from the offset that they will get stuck on the planet, so the storyline is set for an adventure to survive an alien environment, gather archaeological data and escape the doomed planet before it disintegrates.
The characters might have been developed a little further, but on the whole we had the right mix of good, bad, antagonists, heroes, cowards, boffins and fools. The pace is good, the alien environment well thought out and the balance between adventure and science about right. McDevitt has no compunction about killing off main characters, so you can never be sure that anyone will survive the book, which adds to the suspense. The desperate attempts to extract data and it’s meanings about an entire global spanning culture in just a couple of weeks, gets you wondering about the finality of the event. If nothing could be rescued, who’d know they ever existed?
I found I didn’t want to put the book down. It’s a great read and I look forward to Chindi.
on 27 April 2002
I do not normally write reviews on line, even for books like this that I enjoyed so much, but the * rating by Boah drove me to break the habit. I REALLY enjoyed this book. I did not find it shallow. The characters lived the pages, the storyline fascinated me throughout and drew me back to it day after day. My only complaint is that the book was not longer and did not explore Deepsix further. If you have not read McDevitt before, do Slow Lighting (Infinity Beach in the USA) and Engine's of God first. His overall theme of older races leaving their footprints all over the stars in our region of the galaxy before vanishing into oblivion I find fascinating, if only he bothers to continue to organise and develop his 'universe' better and explore what has happened to them, (as his latest novel about to be published appears to promise), while at the same time enriching the interactions between the few younger races who have escaped extinction and the humans who encounter them. I have liberated all of the author's older novels from secondhand book shops with no regrets, except however for Moonfall to which I would indeed have to award a *.
on 11 October 2011
Being a modern novel (2001) I won't get into the plot but only outline my problems with the book and author.
I'm only just begun to realize this, but Jack McDevitt is the James Rollins of science fiction. Let me explain:1) James Rollins writes archeology adventure... Jack McDevitt writes archeology adventure in space. 2) James Rollins has textbook characters... Jack McDevitt has text book characters in space.
The first James Rollins book was Subterranean and I actually really liked it for its adventure. In parallel, my first Jack McDevitt book was Engines of God and I, too, really liked it for its adventure and newness. My second Rollins and McDevitt books were, respectively, Excavation and Polaris, which I both found to be just OK because even after ONE novel of each author, the writing styles were generic. I got around to my third Rollins novel, Deep Fathom, and chucked it into the garbage after completing it. Crap. While this McDevitt novel isn't quite that bad, it still feels like an aim at quantity rather than quality.
My dad likes Jack McDevitt. That should have been my first warning... he also likes James Rollins. Nevertheless, I still have rosy-tinted spectacles donned when I look at my second-hand McDevitt collection and I remember how great it was to delve into Engines of God. Where has the glamour gone?
McDevitt's stabs at characterization were pathetic; just terrible. He feels the need to mention everyone's height, how this person is one head shorter or this person well above six foot - I don't see how the reader's knowledge of the heights of the cast will reflect in any sort of empathy, especially as it plays NO part in the unfolding of the plot. Secondly, McDevitt gives passing characters names and jobs and a brief life history even though these characters have very little impact on the bigger scene. Lastly, it seems like every character has their current job because `the money is pretty good' (this is written more than three times).
As for his writing style, I can't say he earns any points there either. McDevitt's main science fiction competitors are from Britain, who lush prose and detail makes me agog with borderline reverence. Deepsix has paragraphs no longer than eight lines, usually comprised of two or three lines and splattered with liberal amounts of dialogue. There isn't a poetic narrator or a reflective first-person perspective. It much like an American best-seller- lots of dialogue to hold the waning attention of the reader. Another liberty McDevitt took advantage of was using the phrase, `thank God' to a annoyingly gregarious degree- more than a score of times, for sure.
Further, the very liberal-minded character Gregory MacAllister feels like McDevitt preaching his personal philosophies. It's all too glossy and well-refined to simply be a mere addition to the cast and to the introductions to all thirty-six chapters (a fictional quote titling each chapter). He's not a terrible character but I think McDevitt intentionally write himself into MacAllister's shoes.
And yet, I will read the next sequence, Chindi, with much reservation.
on 3 October 2013
The proof reader of this book did not spot one basic error. I'm assuming the proof reader was an American, because snow doesn't fall at 31 degrees C or 82degrees F. It does fall at 31degrees F however and this is why I've downrated this episode of the Academy series. Otherwise not bad and I will read the rest of the series
on 23 May 2007
This book is simply wonderful. The story line is faced moving and hooks readers quickly, the writing style is good - without too much technical talk which is often a curse of sci-fi novels.
This book created a sense of wonder in me, as I followed the characters through an unknown world looking at the remains of a society which they would never be able to truly understand. The feeling of loss and wonderment was with me, as it was with the characters. Although at the start of the book the characters lack much in the way of characterisation, it soon picks up and they become highly believable and you want them to survive.
I haven't read a book this good in a long time. I've given my copy to relatives to read, as not only is it a top rate sci-fi, it's easily one of the best thrillers I've read in a long time.
on 15 June 2001
We catch up with Priscilla Hutchins (Hutch) decades after her involvement in 'The Engines of the Gods' in a race against time to undertake an archaeological survey of a planet days before it is destroyed. Needless to say things go wrong and it becomes a race for survival. More adventure than science, which left me preferring 'Engines', but still a good read.