Fiction Reviews


(2001) Jack McDevitt, Voyager, 5.99, pbk, 432pp, ISBN 0-00-710879-6

The world known as Deepsix is about to be hit by a rogue gas giant and an archeological team, led by Priscilla Hutchins, has only six weeks to salvage what they can from the ruins of an ancient civilisation. Nineteen years earlier a survey team were all but wiped out by the local fauna, but now fate has conspired to put one of the survivors, Randall Nightingale, on the surface with Hutchins and her team. In the skies overhead are a few research ships and one luxury liner full of sightseers, but even they cannot help when the team's only means of escape is destroyed. Can the team get off the surface before the gas giant tears Deepsix apart, and will they solve the mystery of how the apparently primitive natives got off the planet centuries before?

McDevitt quietly writes engaging SF, even if it is hardly cutting edge stuff. In many ways this book owes more than a little to his own Moonfall -- the situations are virtually identical as far as the tension in the plot is concerned but the details are divergent enough to keep the reader enthralled. Recommended.

Tony Chester

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