Hello Out There Paperback – 21 Dec 2004
|New from||Used from|
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Harry Carmichael is a respected administrator at a site called Skynet that examines space for evidence of other life forms. One day they see evidence that a million light years away, some alien intelligence has manipulated a star's light output in a pattern that can only be described as unnatural. A month later a stream of text from the Hercules nebula is received. Decoded, it consists of some mathematical and geometric symbols, a manual and what appear to be pictures of the beings who sent the message.
The president, worried about what else the message might contain, clamps a lid of secrecy on their facilities, irritating the scientists who work there and who feel that releasing the information can only be beneficial to the scientific community; after all, the humans never been enthusiastic about acting in concert as a species.
The religious community is divided on how to take this incontrovertible evidence that humans are not alone. One priest remarks, "How can we take seriously the agony of a God who repeats His passion? Who dies again and again in endless variations, on countless worlds, across a universe that may itself be infinite?", assuming that God had revealed Herself to the other worlds. And if not, why not? What did this do to human's perception of themselves as the primary focus of God? "If there were any truth at all to the old conviction that the universe had been designed for man, why was so much of its expanse beyond any hope of human perception? Forever.?"
As they learn more about the alien intelligence and begin to obtain information of value to the military, the scientific community begins to lose control of the information, and some of them want to have it destroyed. But they also learn something extraordinary about the intelligence that sent it to them millions of years before.
The story itself changed only a little but the surrounding world ... . The original THT had the cold war feeling of paranoia and priorities, politicians playing for global survival with implied threats and unspoken hopes. This new THT is taking place in a world of US hegemony - little threats but no hopes.
In the original the various heroes act within their characters: fanatical, timid, bureaucratic, lovingly ... Harry Carmichael acts against orders but he doesn't go to the President's face to tell him so and offer him a Clintonesque way out ...
The times they are changing, but still it would have been better if Jack McDevitt would have left the original text unchanged. Even the future has a past- and a lot of good scifi novels are products of their age - and one should respect the past and not try to alter or reinterpret it. This way a great novel (5 stars)became just a very good (4 stars) one.
As for the second novel - "A Talent for War" - the title is very hard to understand till one has finished the book and then it doesn't really fit. Overall it is vintage McDevitt: a man searching for clues and the truth, a voyage, danger and adventures. All of it very slowly evolving and sucking the reader in so that he has to finish it. When I closed the last page it was half past one in the morning - but it was worth it.
So my overall judgment: a great book, but if you can get "The Hercules Text" in the original version buy that instead.