The Engines of God
Format: Mass Market PaperbackChange
Price:$7.39+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2001
If you've never had the enjoyment of reading any of Jack McDevitt's books before, this might be a good one to start with. A science fiction mystery mixed with lost alien civilizations and characters who want to get to the bottom of the riddle as much as you do.
He leaves you wanting more at the end, like most of his books.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2004
This is possibly one of McDevitt's most important work in terms of what it portends. He introduces the soulful, enticing, and always interesting "Hutch", the discovery of the Omega clouds and the presence of other sentient beings - First Contact twice removed one might say. Some have criticized the series (and his books in general) for their elusiveness, the almost ephemeral quality of the "encounters", the lack of action (quote unquote) and the timidity and rationality of the characters.
It is for those precise qualities that I value the works of Jack McDevitt. His sagas of alien encouters are more valid from a scientific point of view than most. It is doubtful that two intelligent cultures will exist at near the same technological level at the same time. Our best hopes are discovering life in its infancy or civilizations long disappeared. After all, our planet has sustained near-extinction events at least five times that we are aware. Furthermore, unless we do venture into space as an exploring / colonizing species there is a good chance that life could be exterminated on our own planet by either local or external means.
The adventure on Quraqua was near perfect with its mix of human emotions, scientific endeavors and near-catastrophic ending. Once again, the clues planted in this story are explored and expanded in the following sections (and books). Hutch is such a great character. I almost think of her as a "real" person. She has a spunk and sense of humor in this book that is missing in others, but the reflection on herself and her follies. Also present are the inner reveries in which she contemplates mankind's place among the stars, the past and the future.
Only a few cons - too many minor characters. If the character does not figure in the story use "the captain" or "the guy that loaded boxes" rather than a name and biographical information. The reader is left waiting for something to happen.introduce. The headlines, while understandable, are a distraction from the main story to this reader. Also, who really thinks it easier to terraform another world rather than change your own...but these are quibblings compared to the slow, steady surge of the story as it moves inexorably toward its conclusion. I wish this had been the FIRST Hutch story I read instead of the last. And although this is another superb effort by a great writer I am still waiting for that magnum opus, that DUNE or 1984, that will not only satisfy the reader but also stagger the imagination. Come on, Jack, hit the books!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2002
Yes, I did buy Chindi (and am now reading it), but I can't say I LOVED this or Deepsix (if you want a book you'll love, try Eternity Road). What brought me back was the finely drawn Patricia Hutchins, and the interesting adventures. What annoys the hell out of me is that no one seems to learn anything.
DANGER! POSSIBLE SPOILER AHEAD!
And look, I am very anti-gun, but you could you PLEASE tell me why, through 3 books, people who are running off to planets with potentially hostile environments (and history tells them they always are) don't carry some sort of weapon? It just defies explanation. Long before the end of this book I was tired of people a) getting stuck on a planet with something big coming (just like in Deepsix) and b) blithly ignoring the certainty of hostile animals. I mean, would YOU walk into the Amazon rainforests without something to protect yourself with?
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2006
"The Engines of God" by Jack McCevitt. In the distant future after faster than light travel is possible several ruins along with large statues are discovered. But all have been damaged and are disserted leaving almost no clue as to what happened or where the previous inhabitants have gone. The archeologist who have been excavating one of the ruins however are about to make a discovery, that is if they are able to complete the task before being destroyed by the violent terraforming that is going to takes place.

The Good: almost nothing. Some of the concepts are cool; they have a harness or something that the wear that forms some kind of electrical field that keeps elements out and their oxygen in. That's about it.

The Bad: Where to begin. The characters in this book are the flattest most paper thin characters I have ever read. In fact they should be described as "Names" instead of characters. The story is completely boring. Most of what happens in the book doesn't have anything to do with the ultimate end but instead the incidents that happen to the along the way. The action / drama sequences feel inserted and aren't really story relevant and do nothing to further the story or characters. Also the drama / action sequences don't work because the "Names" are so paper thin that you really don't care what happens to them. The end answers no questions. At the beginning of the book you know that the race was wiped out by something and by the end you know the race was wiped out by something. What a conclusion!

I do not recommend this book. It was poorly written and completely boring. If you have already purchased it, you might consider using it to start a fire or something. I would be better used that way instead of reading it.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
'The Engines of God' was one of the first books I'd read from Jack McDevitt; and it had me hooked from the beginning and didn't let go until the last sentence on the last page. I waited very impatiently for this to come out for Kindle and snapped it up once it did.

Jack quickly became one of my favorite sci-fi writers because of his well richly detailed, well-told stories. You feel like you're along for the ride -- you can see, hear and smell everything the main characters do -- your heart beats quicker with the anticipation of new finds and new places -- you feel the horror when things go wrong -- and you feel the loss of something special.

The story is well paced and written and the same with the characters. This is the first story in 'The Academy' Series and really sets up the mystery of what The Engines of God are, or what they're thought to be. As you read the following stories in the series, you'll gain more and more informaiton on who/what put the monuments on various planets or around planets and why. You'll also get an understanding of space travel, alien archeology and where the future of space flight has taken us.

Buy the book, put your feet up and enjoy a ride into the future -- see the ruins of alien civilizations, experience the wonders of space flight and the beauty of the universe -- enjoy a well written story, with well-drawn characters.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Engines of God is an interesting and engaging work of speculative fiction with a strong emphasis on alien species and the corresponding human response to same. Instead of assuming that other civilizations are contemporary, McDevitt puts the other worlds largely in the past-- placing the emphasis on archeology and linguistics. This is an interesting approach, and a gentle reminder that policy of the future is best off informed by the past.

Strong points of the book:

Alien species development

Focus on archeology

Stress on finite resources (something that often gets overlooked in speculative fiction)

Well-developed plotting skills. Engines of God kept me reading.

Less strong points:

Character development-- Hutch somehow is the only character in the book who is at all memorable or interesting. The other characters feel like cutouts whose job is to hold up the plotline.

The ending-- a tad disappointing. Unfortunately this is a drawback with books that play on a secret to be discovered. The chase is all too often much better than the kill.

This was the first McDevitt book that I have read. On the strength of the work, I am going to be seeking out other novels. I would recommend it with very little hesitation to speculative fiction readers who enjoy a focus on alien life.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2006
Lost civilizations, ancient empires, and an interstellar mystery. This is a sci-fi tale of explorations and discovery. The story is about a pilot, Pricilla Hutchins, and her scientific comrades as the zip around the Galaxy trying to solve an ancient riddle. If you like `Rendezvous with Rama' or any of Larry Niven's Known Space tales, I think you will find the first of the McDevitt's Priscilla Hutchins novels enjoyable as well. There is a good mixture of astrophysics, archaeology, linguistics, and bureaucratic politics in this book. The characters are well developed and thoughtful, the plot intelligent and well paced. This is hard sci-fi at its best. There is not much mindless action in this story (i.e. fighting space bugs), so if that is your interest, you should definitely look elsewhere. I give this book only four stars as it is not as rich as the best of Clarke or Niven, but still well worth reading. This was my first Jack McDevitt novel, and I was sufficiently impressed with this one that I will read his others.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2001
Action Packed, Jack can really write action fiction. Combine the immense scale this man can create with his words and tightly crafted characters in this book and you have a true masterpiece. Jack is writing a sequal to this particular novel (Bubonicon, 2001) and you get a chance to explore, "what next" from this ending. I love the historical approach this novel takes and the grand vistas it encompases. There is a central mystery and a hunt to unravel the mysytery leads the reader along the trail of aliens, now presumed extinct. I had real problems laying this book down. Jack McDevitt reminds me of Iain M Banks in scope, and Dan Simmons in Character developement. Make up your own mind about why this writer has been a Nebula finalist so many times. This book was superior to the Hugo winner the year of its publication.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
19 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 1999
There are several good reasons for disliking this book:
-It's written in a dull, lifeless manner.
-Everything is blaringly obvious. All points are hammered in repeatedly as though the author is afraid even one of his ideas should pass unnoticed.
-The characters are bland and generic, and are introduced and killed off for no discernible reason other than to have something taking place. The world's most brilliant archeologist, for instance, dies off in the first part of the book, never doing or saying anything that even remotely justifies his epithet.
-People keep uttering corny and stupid lines as though they're acting in a B-movie and need to say something memorable every time the book is about to switch to another scene. Such as:
"Maybe," he beamed, "we have something..."
Or:
"I'm not sure anymore," she said, "I'm really not sure..."
Or:
"Party time's over," said Janet as (...), "Time to go to work..."
-Several of the book's characters are supposed to be among the most brilliant and dedicated scientists on earth, yet they act like a bunch of stupid undergraduates: If a race has produced something of beauty, it's supposed to be strange that they've also produced something ugly. If an alien species on a planet are thought to be technologically advanced, it's unthinkable that others of the same species on the same planet should not be so. Wild speculations unsupported by facts are supposed to be brilliant inductions and deductions. Science is presented as a combination of Indiana Jones, riddle-solving and a trail of easter eggs.
-The plot keeps degenerating into uninteresting side-tracks. The main plot has to do with the Monument Makers, yet most of the book's bulk is taken up with several "sequences" that could easily be removed from the book without much loss, or stand alone as novellas: The race agains time to loot a temple on a planet about to be terraformed by a greedy corporation. The struggle to stay alive on a spaceship after a collision causes progressive failures in the life-support systems. Being attacked by monster-crabs with scalpels (sic).
-Not only are intelligent, alien creatures always remarkably similar to humans, but their culture is remarkably familiar too. All kinds of similarities abound, from brothels and religion and patriarchy and the zodiac and pictures on the wall of you and a friend waving at the camera and computer keyboards and whatnot.
-Finally: The conclusion to the book is just stupid. I'm not going to reveal it in case you still want to read the book, but it's not satisfying at any level. It's just a magical and silly creation that fits in well with a lot of the environmental thinking of today. And I'm not saying that just because I disagree with the author's opinions: I loved "Space Merchants" by Pohl and Kornbluth, which criticizes a lot of the same trends in human society that McDevitt seems to find disturbing, but on a much more intelligent and entertaining level.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 1999
Truly excellent. Achieves a sense of realness I've rarely encountered in SF, especially in a book so far reaching in scope and alien encounter. Numerous scenes of awe are strongly backed by good storytelling and a pure and determined intelligence which heightens the gritty sense of "here and now." READ THIS GREAT BOOK!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.