Deepsix Hardcover – 1 Mar 2001
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Deepsix is concerned with the motivating force that drives all scientists--the quest for truth, for expanding the limits of human knowledge. How much are we willing to risk for that moment of discovery, of knowing what no other soul yet knows? Our time? Our reputations? Our careers? Our lives?
The premise is this-just weeks before the planet Deepsix will be destroyed by a collision with a gas giant, ruins are detected on its surface, suggesting the presence of civilisation. The Academy diverts scientists from the nearest spaceship to go down and explore, and they are joined by their century's Ellsworth Toohey: a misogynistic, sanctimonious gadfly who has never before been off of Earth's surface. The party's landers are destroyed in an earthquake induced by the approaching gas giant, so now they must find a way to get off Deepsix before it is destroyed by the collision. Needless to say, their excavations are placed on the back burner.
The science and technology, both the physics describing the space travel and the archaeology used to reconstruct the lost culture of Deepsix, are interesting and explained well. There is plenty of action and suspense-will the party survive? And the evolving characters and group dynamics are more complex than those usually found in science fiction books, making Deepsix a worthwhile read. --Diana Gitig, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Praise for McDevitt:
‘Jack McDevitt is that splendid rarity… a storyteller first and a science fiction writer second. In his ability to absolutely rivet the reader, he is the logical heir to Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke… . Snatch this baby up, all right? You’re going to love it even if you think you don’t like science fiction. You might even want to drop me a thank-you note for the tip before racing out to your local bookstore to pick up the Jack McDevitt backlist’ STEPHEN KING--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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.
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.
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