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Chindi Mass Market Paperback – Oct 28 2003
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Most science fiction seeks to excite and gratify the reader's sense of wonder. Jack McDevitt's hard SF novel Chindi both satisfies and examines this sense of wonder, which inspires not only SF readers and writers, but every explorer and scientist who seeks to understand the universe.
In Chindi, humanity has expanded to the stars and found very few other intelligent races--all but one extinct, with the survivor none too impressive. Humanity has resigned itself to being alone. Then an alien satellite is found, orbitting a distant star and beaming an unreadable signal across the galaxy. Academy starship Captain Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins finds herself piloting a motley crew of eccentrics (one an ex-lover) from the idealistic, ridiculed Contact Society, seeking the signal's destination. Their quest turns deadly as it takes them far beyond the borders of explored space to an impossible planetary system--and a vast and terrifying alien artifact.
Chindi is an ambitious, exciting, big-idea hard-SF novel that ventures successfully into Rendezvous with Rama territory, and beyond. The sequel to The Engines of God and Deepsix, Chindi leaves some unanswered questions for McDevitt's forthcoming fourth novel. --Cynthia Ward --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Priscilla Hutchins is a star-ship captain who is getting tired, and wants to retire. She reluctantly agrees to make one last trip, hired by the Contact Society to take them on a jaunt of discovery, and follow that mysterious signal. After a number of mishaps caused by impulsivity and poor judgment, they find the Chindi, a ghostly thing/machine/whatever zooming through space. And of course, they have to pursue it, break into it, tramp around in it, and maybe get themselves killed. Not very scientific but hey, it's fiction.
That, in a nutshell, is the plot. The book takes a long time getting up to warp speed. In fact, nothing much happens for the first hundred and fifteen pages. If you can stay with it, the book eventually hits its stride and becomes quite entertaining. If old fashioned sci-fi and space adventure is your thing, then you should definitely read Chindi. Reviewed by Louis N. Gruber.
The positives: excellent descriptions of outer space phenomena, great sense of awe and wonder accompanying first contact, and a good sense of humor.
The negatives: definitely too long and drawn out! Over 100 pages could have easily been cut making it more concise. I don't know why there is this rule that a sci-fi book has to be long to be good! Please! Also, the size of the type (in the paperback) was very tiny.
I might read the sequel "Omega" but I have no burning desire to. I just don't know if I could get through another long-winded saga--and from what people are saying, these "Hutch" books don't differ much from one another.
Final analysis: Starts off slow, greatly improves at page 150 or so. Nice diversion. You'll have a good time.
NOTE: Read giant clumps of it in one sitting. It goes quicker that way and is more enjoyable.
I liked the idea of these untrained people going off on the trek simply because they could afford it. I found the pacing of the story up to the chindi good. I even liked the main character at the start, but less as she kept giving in to her passengers' wishes.
I hated the writing style. Sentences that should have been left as one are broken up by seemingly random periods, creating sentence fragments that don't mean anything, forcing you to pause to figure out what the author is saying. I'm no English major but I found it really annoying.
Overall, I can't really recommend this book unless you go into it with little or no expectation.
The other gripe I had is that McDevitt's universe seems a bit too human in its view of the otherworldly. Aliens and alien worlds seem a bit too normal. Do all Alien's have bookshelves and tables and wear pants? This was OK to do for the 40-50's sci-fi and original Star Trek but seems a bit old-fashioned for today's audience, but again I guess its part of McDevitt's love for Golden Age of Sci-fi. This is not surprising since the books adheres to the the premise that all worlds that promote life would be similiar to Earth's evolution, so aliens would be of the humanoid type like walking gatormen, birdmen, etc, which may have some legitimate scientific backing but makes for less intriguing aliens. In anycase, there's enough mystery and a dash of good ole science to propel to the plot and make it a worthwhile read. The title and the use of the Native American folklore was a nice twist as well. This book is a Nebula 2004 Award nominee and on this year's Locus Magazine's recommended reading list.
Most recent customer reviews
OK Read... found it to be too much like the previous Hutch-based novel DEEPSIX, though - with too many "saved at the last second cliffhangers" (most of them somehow... Read morePublished on June 28 2004 by Stewart Teaze - Safe AI developer/Global Warming Debunker-don't believe the commie agenda
I enjoyed Chindi. I've noticed a lot other reviewers hitting the book on poor characterizations or for an unimaginative plot. To say either I think is unduly harsh. Read morePublished on April 26 2004 by themarsman
I was incredibly dissapointed with Chindi. I would have been able to overlook the slow plot if it had not been for the terrible character of Hutch. Read morePublished on April 23 2004
Jack McDevitt's new book, Chindi, starts out with an interesting idea. What would happen if a group of armchair adventurers hired a spaceship and made first contact with an alien... Read morePublished on April 22 2004 by Stephen Holland
I find it very hard to believe that this book is up for a Nebula award.
Flat charachters with no development follow what was a pretty good plot. Read more
A nice mix of action and science fiction, Chindi helps move contemporary sci-fi away from the boring, pedantic grad student ramblings or poli-sci obsessions that are all too often... Read morePublished on March 30 2004
Master of the bland SciFi, Mr. McDevitt writes a novel representing a juxtaposition to his futuristic without being futuristic Murder She Wrote embarassement called "Infinity... Read morePublished on March 15 2004 by John Bowman