The Barnes & Noble Review
Chindi is Jack McDevitt's third novel -- after The Engines of God and Deepsix -- to feature Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins, veteran starship pilot and one of the most credible heroines in contemporary SF. Both she and McDevitt are at the top of their respective forms in this big, lovingly detailed new novel of interstellar suspense.
Accompanied by an anthropomorphic AI and a crew of enthusiastic amateurs, Hutch discovers an alien satellite that is part of an intricate network of receivers and transmitters spanning an incalculable distance and leading to a series of inhabited -- or formerly inhabited -- worlds. Eventually, the searchers discover the Retreat, a small moon containing a treasure trove of alien artifacts. But this discovery only leads to a larger one: a massive interstellar vessel they dub "the Chindi," i.e., the "spirit of the night." As Hutch and her companions slowly uncover the Chindi's secrets, McDevitt's narrative achieves an impressive degree of visionary and conceptual grandeur.
McDevitt's virtues are on full display in Chindi: the clean, clear style, the easy humor, the sympathetic portraits of believable people under relentless pressure. McDevitt has written some of the most entertaining, thoroughly imagined SF adventures of recent years, and Chindi -- with its potent, wide-eyed evocation of cosmic mysteries -- is one of his most absorbing creations. Bill Sheehan
McDevitt [is]... a writer of hard, humane science fiction thrillers, and Chindi is one of his very best.
In this sequel to last year's well-received Deepsix, McDevitt tells a curiously old-fashioned tale of interstellar adventure. Reminiscent of Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, the story sends veteran space pilot Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins and a crew of rich, amateur SETI enthusiasts off on a star-hopping jaunt in search of the mysterious aliens who have placed a series of "stealthed" satellites around an unknown number of planets. After visiting several worlds, and losing two of her dilettantes to a murderous group of alien angels, Hutch follows the interstellar trail to a bizarre, obviously artificial planetary system. There, two spectacular gas giants orbit each other closely, partially sharing the same atmosphere, while a large moon circles them in a theoretically impossible circumpolar orbit. The explorers soon discover a number of puzzling alien artifacts, including a gigantic spaceship that fails to respond to their signals. First contact is McDevitt's favorite theme, and he's also good at creating large and rather spectacular astronomical phenomena. Where this novel falls short, however, is in the creation of characters. Hutch, beautiful and supremely competent, is an adequate hero, but virtually everyone else is a cartoon. The book abounds in foolhardy dilettantes, glory-hogging bureaucrats and capable space pilots. Oddly, in a novel set some 200 years in the future, McDevitt's cast is almost exclusively white and Anglo-Saxon. This is a serviceable enough space opera, but it operates far from the genre's cutting edge. (July 2) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
On her final active mission for the Academy, spaceship pilot Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchinson ferries a group of wealthy UFO hobbyists to the site of a mysterious signal from distant space. After discovering only dead planets and unexpected danger, Hutch and her crew of amateurs finally encounter a vehicle that seems to promise a long-awaited first contact. The author of Deepsix relates the further adventures of a resourceful and determined woman who places her duty to those under her care before her personal ambitions. First-rate sf adventure and smooth, well-plotted storytelling make this a superior choice for sf collections. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Another adventure for Academy space pilot Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins (Deepsix, 2001, etc.). When a ship detects a brief but apparently modulated transmission from an unknown source near a neutron star, the aliens-or-bust members of the Contact Society summon a state-of-the-art spaceship and declare their determination to track the transmission to its source. The Academy selects Hutch, veteran of several archaeological expeditions to distant stars, to pilot them. At the neutron star, they confirm the transmissions, but find no aliens: instead, three "stealthed" satellites transmit information to a destination in another star system. Soon, other satellites are found orbiting stars that the unknown builders consider of interest-including Earth. A close friend of Hutch's takes one of the satellites aboard his ship for study and analysis; soon thereafter the ship explodes. Coincidence? Following the transmissions, Hutch and party-including dilettante leader George Hockelmann, soft-porn actress Alyx Ballinger, and artist Tor Kirby, one of Hutch's old flames-discover a planet whose civilization was destroyed by nuclear war; and, still farther afield, a bizarre and beautiful system where, on a moon orbiting a pair of ringed gas giant planets, they find a house complete with artifacts, books, and a burial plot. More important yet, a colossal alien spaceship's busy refueling nearby. Naturally, Hutch's bold but foolhardy explorers demand to investigate. Slow to start, and the tepid, tentative romance doesn't help; happily, the puzzles wrapped in explanations within mysteries and cliffhanging resolution are well up to McDevitt's previous high standards.