Cauldron Mass Market Paperback – October 28, 2008
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 6.4 ounces
- Mass Market Paperback : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0441016502
- ISBN-13 : 978-0441016501
- Dimensions : 4.3 x 1 x 6.7 inches
- Publisher : Ace; Reprint edition (October 28, 2008)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #974,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I have found McDevitt's stories strangely compelling, despite the many throwaway characters and the only stable person, Hutch, at times making incredible decisions in her life, you just have to slap your forehead and ask why. Why? Because I like space adventure and a great female lead.
After reading the Hutchins' series of novels, I had to read Cauldron. The Cauldron is a place at the center of our galaxy that the omega clouds come from - strange machines, light-years wide, that destroy anything at right angles, i.e. buildings.
After a confrontation with one at the start of the story, we first get an update on what has been happening with Hutchins. That's fine, but the domestic stuff goes on and on way more than necessary. I want to get to the good stuff.
Faster than light travel is about to be trumped by a new drive that may save the space program, as more humans want to forget about space exploration and stay on planet Earth. This of course is a criticism of the same things now with NASA. We have not been on the Moon in decades and unmanned probes have taken the place of manned missions. (Frankly I thought I'd be on Mars Station by this time!). But I digress.
After a half a book of handwringing we finally make it back in space: an ex-pilot cum real estate agent who gets to go back in space, a man who invented the new space drive and wants to take some ships out for a spin and Hutchins, who had sworn never to do deep space exploration but what the heck, just this one more time. Yeowza.
Spaces and Places:
The Chindi - we find where it finally came from, but unfortunately the planet they discover is a 20th century technology of frumpy aliens who live a very long time. The A.I. on board, trying to translate their language confuses physics with physical. Hey, it happens.
The Omega - we find it possessed by an entity who, as one reviewer mentioned, is similar to the alien God in the film Star Trek V. Trek fans take note.
Sigma - hey, cool planet with lizards that blend into snow. I liked it!
Overall enjoyable. I liked how the new Earth looks, what global warming has finally done, and Hutchins' new love life and family. I enjoyed ex-pilot Mike's exploration back into the unknown and that he no longer felt archaic. And finally liked how new inventions still often meet with opposition - nice tension there. If you followed the novels from the first, you may be disappointed. But the book stands on its own.
Then, they meet the alien species that built the ships in the book called Chindi, a book that I mostly enjoyed. What a let down. I swear this guy has no imagination. They make one more pitt stop on the way to the galactic core, but find nobody home.
So at the climax, they get to the galactic core. They find the source of the Omega Clouds. And I don't even have the words to describe how unrealistic, boring, anti-climactic, and absurd their encounter was with this 'intelligence' they find at the galactic core.
McDevitt comes up with lots of neat ideas, but then through laziness or lack of imagination, he fails to develop those ideas. In this book, they find an artifact that is 1.2 billion years old. But then it gets blown up before anyone learns anything about it. The encounters that the crew does have with aliens are poorly thought out and completely lack imagination.
p.s. Starhawk was excellent.And it even leaves a little hint about the ending scenario of Cauldron to either justify it, or perhaps lead to another book where someone from far far away comes looking for Hutch?
She does, unfortunately. After a three-book build-up, we see the little man behind the curtain--and mourn the shadowy wizard who once impressed and terrified us. There is nothing left but to return home and pick up our lives. Long-term McDevitt fans should read this book for the closure it provides and for one more journey with familiar and beloved characters. That experience is worth the price of admission and time spent. But this series might have ended better, with more of a bang than a whimper.
Top reviews from other countries
ideas and almost whole tales - most notably in A Talent for War. But I think he is just being honest there - and probably lots of authors do this.
Caudron wraps up most of the Patricia Hutchins series in explaining the origin of the Omega Clouds. The book is really in two parts. the first is about a potential improvement on the star drive which will allow a trip towards the galactic centre. The second half is a stops-along-the-way adventure.
It is probably enjoyable for readers of the series. It may not stand alone.
This McDevitt is slow - I'd read over 200 pages before the action started. He is very keen to reprise all the early story lines (Chindi, stealth satellites, Omega clouds) and complete them. Unfortunately I found all the completions unsatisfactory. As far as the Omega's were concerned, I believe the conclusion was scientifically challenged.
Pity - I was looking forward to it
Deutscher Titel: HEXENKESSEL