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The Engines of God Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 1995
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From Kirkus Reviews
Top Customer Reviews
It typifies the comfortable nature of his writing style, which is some combination of Heinlein's Everyman tone with some of the hard science authors. And unlike some earlier reviewers (i.e. "superdestroyer") contend, it is not at all about "non-happenings." The novel is very much event driven, but the events are driven by the character's desire to understand a dead race and the clues they leave to a mystery that bears very much on the future of the human race.
There are only really 3 weaknesses I see in Engines of God (and McDevitt's work in general), that prevents me from giving it 5 stars:
1) The characterization is weak, not exactly Card or Donaldson or even Babylon 5. This can prove for exceedingly pointless moments as he explores characters that we don't really feel.
2) He has a way of creating slow spots in his writing that can be difficult to wade through if you don't know that there's a payoff coming. This is never really a problem in EOG, but in some of his more recent efforts like Moonfall, it can grate.
3) His writing style will never be considered highly literary. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes there are narrative flow issues related to this that can be jarring.
Ultimately, this book is for people who can enjoy what is very much an above-average prose SF book. It's not the next Stranger in a Strange Land, but -and thank God- it isn't Voyager either.
But for some reason Jack McDevitt is able to weave an interesting sci-fi story that can really keep my attention. His books focus on a single character and you are always working your way toward the conclusion of the book. You feel like you're making progress.
Engines of God is no different. There's a constant, logical progression as the characters weave their way through discoveries and ultimately wind up at finding a conclusion that you speculated about, but weren't quite sure. You really want to skip to the end and figure it out, but you don't want to wreck a really good read.
Frankly, I'd like to see a sequel to this book written about 900-1000 years in the future to see what happens.
My first McDevitt book was "Infinity Beach", then "Eternity Road", and now this. All were excellent and interesting.
If I have a complaint about McDevitt, it's that technology in his books isn't all that advanced, even 1,000 years in the future. I guess that helps with the readability, as he doesn't get carried away with tons of technobabble as most authors do.
Great science fiction is more than an idea; rather an idea that develops in the root of life and has meaning beyond the pages. It needs to provoke thought and provide insight and somewhere must entertain as well. In this book I found all that and I felt both awe and sadness for the makers of the monuments, and, in that, potentially for our own folly and failings. Well done. I am now starting his other books.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was pretty good. There were parts where I wanted to keep coming back for more; however, the book was a little slow at the start, and in the middle there was some extra... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Book Buyer
How did I miss out on McDevitt in my SF youth? This is like rediscovering what SF can be - not just fanciful ideas about things, but more about people with relate to changes we... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Shannon
Well written. The sci-fi mystery plot flows smoothly onward and the only con I have is that it looses tension.Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
I read Chindi a few years back and was very impressed with the concepts and writing...not even realizing it was part of a series. Read morePublished 12 months ago by J. Wilbur
This was the first "Hutch" novel I read (possibly the first Jack McDevitt) and it's led to an entire bookshelf (and now ever-growing Kindle category as I replace my old... Read morePublished 14 months ago by K2inMB
Jack McDevitt never disappoints the reader. This, the first in his Academy Series, is filed with a compelling mystery, dramatic escapes and introduces Hutch as the duty driven star... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Terry Frame