Omega is the aptly titled concluding volume of Jack McDevitt's epic science fiction Engines of God tetralogy (The Engines of God, Deepsix, and Chindi). Humankind has known about omega clouds for decades, but virtually nothing has been done to try to stop the monstrous civilization-killing galactic fog, which is due to pass over Earth in 900 years. But when an endearing alien civilization (nicknamed Goompahs) in the early stages of technological development is discovered right in the path of an omega cloud, the people of Earth simply can't sit around and watch the wobbly, floppy-eared humanoids be annihilated.
A rescue team is hastily put together and sent out to the distant planet. To complete their mission -- to destroy an unstoppable cloud and to save a civilization without the beneficiaries realizing it -- the Earthlings need nothing short of a miracle. As a team of linguists and scientists speeds towards the planet, newly appointed director of Academy operations Priscilla Hutchins must fend off religious fanatics and entrepreneurial parasites bent on saving and exploiting the Goompahs, while also trying to unravel the mystery of the omega clouds. When Priscilla's mentor, Harold Tewksbury, dies before revealing his theory of the omega clouds, she finds the answer in the unlikeliest of places.
Fans of truly epic science fiction owe it to themselves to read McDevitt's Engines of God series, which is comparable thematically to Isaac Asimov's Foundation novels and Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey sequence: addictively entertaining, thought-provoking, disturbing, and -- in the end -- deeply inspiring. Paul Goat Allen