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Customer reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
11
3.6 out of 5 stars
Chindi
Format: Hardcover|Change


on 16 July 2017
Solid, almost old-school, SF adventure. Possessed of heart, humanity, and humour. Episodic, yes, but I've never really considered that much of a detriment. Strangely, I found something vaguely Lovecraftian about McDevitt's setting here - it would be very easy to imagine the Cthulhu Mythos encroaching upon this universe.
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on 10 May 2004
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This is the third book that follows the exploits of Priscilla Hutchins (Hutch) and is the best.
This bears some comparison to two of my all time favourite books - Rondezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke and Foundation And Earth by Isaac Asimov. However, it is not as well written, being shorter and lacking the depth of characters the others contain.
Having said that, this is a great story that I could hardly put down.
An alien transmission is discovered and Hutch is commissioned to take a group of ET chasers to investigate. The story follows their discovery of a network of cloaked alien satellites that each appear orbiting planets of interest until they come across a huge alien vessel refuelling at one of these locations. Failing to communicate with the vessel, they decide to try and board it and a very Rama like episode begins with the landing party slowly unlocking its secrets.
Of course nothing goes according to plan. There are plenty of arguments, dramas, deaths and action as our intrepid gang strive to achieve their goal of meeting an alien intelligence. Mixed in with all this are some well thought out (if only brief) scenarios on a number of planets en route. This is a good all-rounder and I hope there is a follow up to this book.
The only criticism is the story wind up in the last couple of pages. Like Engines of God (the first Hutch book), it might be thought that McDevitt was pushed for time as the ending is quick, too neat and not worthy of the rest of the book.
Although reading the other books in order is not necessary to enjoy the story, if you haven't started yet, read Engines of God and Deepsix and then Chindi.
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on 29 January 2003
Jack McDevitt is one of the science fiction writers who make me feel like a kid again, the kid that first discovered science fiction. It also helps that I, too, enjoy history and archaeology, two disciplines that feature prominently in his work. His latest novel, Chindi, a sequel to The Engines of God and Deepsix, takes place in a universe full of wonders. While humanity of the future knows that it is not alone out there, living civilizations to contact are rather thin on the ground. When a system of stealth satelites are discovered in one solar system, starship captain Captain Priscilla 'Hutch' Hutchins once again heads for the unknown with a crew of discoverers. What is the purpose of the surveillance satelites and their signals? I will of course not spoil anything, but as in other books by McDevitt we get several moving scenes of discovery and brushes of contact.
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on 7 June 2003
Jack McDevitt is probably my favorite author currently writing science fiction, and Chindi was a particularly fascinating, thrilling read. Like one of the spaceships in the story, the novel takes a little while to get up and going, but once it does, it is edge-of-your-seat action all the way. The story starts with a mysterious signal picked up in the vicinity of a neutron star. Satellites are left in orbit, and five years later they pick up the indecipherable signal again. Priscilla Hutchins (“Hutch”) is chosen to pilot a craft housing members of the Contact Society (a private group of extraterrestrial enthusiasts and believers) to the star, while another ship travels to the possible destination of the signal. Here begins a monumental, interstellar journey filled with great discovery and great tragedy. Hutch and her passengers pursue the signal through several star systems, finding proof of advanced alien civilizations but no aliens they can speak to. When they attempt to explore one world populated by large, clothed avian beings, their hopes of making contact are dashed rather brutally. One of the most interesting sites they explore is the Retreat, a large house filled with seemingly human, albeit over-sized, artifacts—library, desks, shelves of books (frozen in the cold vacuum), beds, etc. The Retreat sits on a small moon offering a gorgeous view of a two-star system of great majesty and beauty. It is here that they discover another ship, proof of advanced extraterrestrial life, and the rest of the plot revolves around their attempts to learn the secrets the ship holds and to return home. Finding their way back ends up being the most difficult and definitely most thrilling part of their journey.
Chindi actually marks Hutch’s third appearance in McDevitt’s novels, a fact which I did not discover before I was well into the story. It is not necessary to know the story of Hutch’s earlier missions in order to read and enjoy this particular novel, though. The cast of characters is interesting but improbable—the Contact Society team members are not scientists. They include an actress/producer, an artist, a funeral home director, and similarly unscientific men and women. One is, of course, a former love interest of Hutch, and that adds a little more flavor to the pot. These people make mistakes, and some of them pay with their lives, yet they all emerge as truly heroic souls who want nothing more than to answer the cosmic questions man has been posing as long as he has looked at the stars and wondered if he was alone in the universe. The science of McDevitt’s science fiction works pretty well, although I have a problem with a couple of things that happened. I found McDevitt’s characters to be vibrant, real, and interesting, although I understand some readers apparently do not find them as interesting as I do. We don’t get to the essence of them all, and Hutch’s future is left quite unresolved at the end, but I came to know and like everyone in this novel, despite their blunders and often childlike enthusiasm. There is a whole lot of action in these pages, particularly in the latter half of the novel, and I was flat-out riveted by it. Hutch in particular is almost unbelievably heroic yet constantly vulnerable and afraid (i.e., real). I heartily recommend Chindi to fans of great science fiction. It is one of the most memorable science fiction novels I have ever read.
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on 2 February 2010
Once more, Hutch is piloting a group of alien-hunters. This time it is the much maligned First Contact Society, who have discovered part of a transmission emanating in orbit around a neutron star.
As much as one wants to love this book (and one can't really fault it as a decent SF novel) one can't help feeling that McDevitt is repeating himself on several levels. Again Hutch gets close to a man, and she loses him. Almost simultaneously, the artist Tor, one of Hutch's ex-lovers, manages to grab himself a berth on this new expedition, along with an undertaker and a famous starlet.
It appears there is a network of stealth satellites scattered through at least our part of the galaxy and they are recording and transmitting data to somewhere else.
The party discover, refuelling from a gas-giant's plentiful hydrogen, an asteroid converted into a ship which, it transpires, is a vast travelling storehouse of images and artefacts collected from thousands of races.
Hutch does not want any of her passengers to die, but they insist on exploring the Chindi - as they name the ship - and, as was expected, it decides to leave.
There is then a race against time to rescue Hutch's ex-lover, left behind on the giant asteroid ship.
Again, McDevitt's Americocentricity is irritating, although I was amused that Hutch, accessing the news from Earth, was reading about a new serial killer in Derbyshire, a county not really famed for its violence and multiple murder mayhem.
McDevitt's aliens are irritating too, as so far, the races have not been alien enough. In the Chindi one of the first things the explorers find is a tableaux of some world where a wolf-like creature is standing before a table wearing a dinner jacket.
Thinking this through, quite apart from any issues of sexism, one has to say that the jacket, not even specifically the dinner jacket, as a fashion phenomenon, is not that recent and occupies a tiny fraction of the diverse gallimaufry of humanwear, and is also a generally western concept. For an alien race of wolf-like creatures to have come up with something similar and to have been discovered by humanity in the epoch in which this fashion was popular rather stretches my disbelief. These are Star Trek aliens, furry or bumpy-headed humanoids who think the same way we do, or at least, the same way Americans do.
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on 1 March 2004
You get the feeling from this book that it is party of a series.
Why? McDevitt's ability as a writer revolves around his ability to set a scenario and let it run it's course. With Chindi he tries to deal with too much in too little pages which leaves you with a number of unanswered questions which are pretty much central to the plot. You are also introduced to species and places so quickly and in such a passing way that you think you will go back to it and don't.
I suspect the loose ends will be built on in other books like to The Engines of God follow up Omega.
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on 12 March 2009
This reads like someone has taken a script written in 1950 for a provincial USA audience and tried to make it Science Fiction. There really is no perspective, imagination or art in it. No bite. Just dull.
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on 1 June 2013
I'm only a handful of chapters in, but I'm already hooked. I love the Academy universe, McDevitt always manages to draw you in to the world he's created here.
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on 1 February 2016
Delivery arrived early. Book in pristine condition. I love the Prescilla Hutchins series. Sci Fi action and exploration from the first to last page!
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on 15 January 2016
One of his best novels, really enjoyed it.
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