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Odyssey (Hutch) Hardcover – November 7, 2006


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Product Details

  • Series: Hutch (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Hardcover (November 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044101433X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441014330
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #416,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in the 23rd century, this straightforward adventure from Nebula-finalist McDevitt (Omega) explores the immorality of big business and the short-sightedness of the American government in minimizing support for space travel. These destructive forces are held off by the insight and brilliance of individuals such as the influential Gregory MacAllister, editor of a non-partisan journal, The Nation, and Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins, manager of a government-sponsored space-research agency, the Academy. While often on opposite sides of support for the Academy's research budget, MacAllister and Hutch together uncover and react to evidence that Orion Tours' CEO, Charles Dryden, is engaged in a massive conspiracy to jump-start his intergalactic tour business. MacAllister unmasks the others supporting Dryden's faked alien attacks, targeting a physicist who colluded in the hoax. His skepticism about space travel, however, prevents him from seeing the existence of real aliens, something Hutch must pursue at risk to her career. Subtract the "inspirational quotations" and the newspaper headlines appended to some chapters, and what's left is enough space travel, heroics and speculation about the history of the universe to satisfy most hard SF enthusiasts.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchinson's fifth adventure opens with the former starship pilot deskbound at the Academy (the twenty-third-century equivalent of NASA), which is facing catastrophic cuts to the space program. In a media campaign led by Hutch's old friend, acerbic newspaper editor Gregory MacAllister, pundits and politicians alike argue that the program's money would be better spent on the earthbound threats of global warming and disease. Perhaps not coincidentally, humans everywhere from Earth to Ophiuchi begin witnessing repeated visitations from "moonriders" (apparently alien spherical spacecraft), and they prompt an Academy investigative mission. To humor Hutch and grab a good story, MacAllister joins a spacebound team including a celebrated pilot and a senator's daughter. When the moonriders apparently redirect a few asteroids to destroy an orbiting hotel and narrowly bypass Earth, suspicions begin to emerge that the moonriders--and certain members of the Academy--may not be what they seem to be. McDevitt's energetic, character-driven prose serves double duty by exploring Earth's future political climate and forecasting the potential dangers awaiting humanity among the stars. Carl Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

We are left knowing pretty much nothing about them.
LMO
While the plot is decent and turning pages is easy, character development for many of the main players in the story lacks somewhat.
themarsman
If you decide to go for this read, just skip the first 3/4 of the book and pick up from there.
D. P. Peters

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By S. Crouch on December 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Being a long time fan of hard science fiction I look forward to all of Jack McDevitt's books. Sadly, "Odyssey" is not one of the best but it's still a reasonable read.

This is the latest book in the Priscilla Hutchin's series or Hutch as she is more often known. Hutch has moved into an administration job at the Academy (a 23rd century version of NASA)and is not having a good time. There is strong pressure to cut Academy funding and concentrate on earthbound problems such as the greenhouse effect (sound familiar?). It looks as if many interstellar missions and projects will have to be severely cut. She also has to deal with a boss who is a very poor people manager.

At the same time there are increasing reports of "Moonriders", strange spherical objects possibly of alien origin that appear around interstellar sites. Partly as a PR exercise for the Academy, an expedition is organised to place sensors to study these objects if they really exist. Gregory McAllister, one of the Academy's critics and a character in previous books is part of the crew together with the space cadet daughter of a senator who is also highly critical of Academy policy.

Predictably, the moonriders turn out to be real and dangerous and the final part of the book centres around the interstellar "Origins" project, a hypercollider intended to investigate the Big Bang in much greater detail than before. There are the usual space rescues and brushes with death but everything basically turns out okay in the end.

The main problem with this book is that it is glacially slow moving and nothing much really happens until close to the end.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By duane wirdel on February 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Ok...after taking a look at some of the other reviews, I have to say that I think that some people need to read Mr. McDevitt's other works extensively before they slam "Odyssey." A Jack McDevitt novel is not space opera. If you want Star Wars type of action read David Weber and John Ringo. I have nothing against the space opera genre by the way, but that is not McDevitt's style. There IS acton in "Odyssey," it is just that it is subtle and does not jump out and slam you in the face. McDevitt is a thinking person's writer and this book makes very pertinent statements about our world today. For instance, doesn't Orion Tours remind you of a certain company that Darth Cheney is involved with? He also tackles other issues, such as religious fanaticism, global warming, the underfunding of NASA and the logical reasons for having a space program.

Also, one reviewer could not see any connection with Homer's "The Odyssey." They are all through the book, go ahead and THINK and you'll find the connections. Hutch IS Odysseus; the weary wanderer who just wants the peace of home and the explorer, hungry to know what is beyond the horizon. Mr. McDevitt is subtle, NOT boring. His type of writing might not be for everyone: hell, musically I prefer the Byrds to the Beatles, but they both have merit. Different strokes for different folks, but at least be fair when you examine a work.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Seachranaiche on January 22, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Yes, Jack McDevitt has pounded out a bit of a stinker here. I agree with most of the criticisms of this book: that it moves too slowly, that Hutch is consigned to a tertiary role, that it is too contrived in places, that McAllister resembles Alex Benedict too closely for proper series decorum...but I'm not going to pounce too quickly until I see how "Cauldron" turns out. And here's why:

For a first-time reader of Jack McDevitt, "Odyssey" would have been quite a let down, but for those who have followed the series since its inception, "Odyssey" wasn't really that bad. I have enjoyed everything I have read by Jack McDevitt, and so I have confidence in his ability to turn this around. It seems that there is always a transitional book in any long-running series, a book that doesn't have the same immediacy and weight of the previous books (think "At All Costs", David Weber), and we can hope that this is the case with the Priscilla Hutchins series.

McDevitt is trying to air out some legitimate concerns about human nature; our species' inability to remain focused upon long-term goals where instead we seem always to fall back upon self-serving hedonism and mysticism. The space agencies in the Priscilla Hutchins stories have actually saved the Earth, have discovered incredible wonders on distant planets--have laid bare a potential galactic threat exacerbated by ignorance, and yet people have returned their attentions to the silly and ludicrous. Those who are more far-seeing find themselves at odds with public attention and resort to manipulation and deflection to achieve their goals. There are real-world analogies: close-passing asteroids and the sure odds that one will hit us sooner or later, and yet NASA is sidelined into a menial agency, under funded and little appreciated.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Clay Kallam on May 10, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Jack McDevitt's `Odyssey' ($24.95, Ace, 416 pages) is set in the same universe as the popular `Chindi' and `Omega', but it's not nearly as successful. In fact, `Odyssey' is basically a novella expanded well beyond its limits -- which is clearly revealed by the fact that it takes 188 pages to get the main characters to where they need to be (and we knew they'd be) to advance the plot.

And speaking of the characters, the love story between curmdugeonly writer Gregory MacAllister and the beautiful spaceship pilot Valentina Kouros is all but unbelievable -- and speaking of the plot, the incident that begins the book (a spaceship with an engine problem that baffles the experts) simply disappears the rest of the way.

Finally, the big plot twist is completely telegraphed and thus the pages and pages McDevitt expends as the `mystery' is explored are simply wasted words. Sadly, the same could be said for much of `Odyssey.'
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