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The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt

The Cassandra Project (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Jack McDevitt, Mike Resnick

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131991,855 (3.19)5
Title:The Cassandra Project
Authors:Jack McDevitt
Other authors:Mike Resnick
Info:Ace Hardcover (2012), Hardcover, 400 pages, $24.95
Collections:Your library
Tags:science fiction

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The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt (2012)



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SPOILERS! This is book is set in 2019, in an era where NASA is faltering. The story is told primarily through a man who serves as a NASA Spokesman, and a billionaire who despises NASA and is sending his own mission to the moon. The book is fairly interesting at the start. Mysterious audio recordings show a crew making a non-lunar landing flight talking to Mission Control as if they were about to make a lunar landing. Apparently nobody in NASA has ever heard of this, so they play it off as a joke.

This is the bit that really bothers me. The author has two circumlunar flights occurring in 1969, prior to Apollo 11. The crews are entirely fictional, and the author refuses to number the flights. So, is the crew that actually made the first landing supposed to be Apollo 9? Did the actual flights of Apollo 9 and Apollo 10 not happen in this world? Or are these "secret" missions that involved "secret" flight-worthy vehicles that nobody remembered building, launched by "secret" Saturn V rockets that nobody saw launching? But people in the novel remember these missions, so were they played off as Apollo 0 Prime and Apollo 10 Prime, as if the real missions were unsuccessful and we had to try again? This may not matter to most readers, but it seriously drove me crazy.

I read this pretty quickly, wanting to find out what the big reveal was. This book would have been so much better if the big surprise was something different. How about a secret Soviet lunar base? Chinese? German? But, no. The author has to go with religious connections. Most of the book was pretty good, but the ending was meh. ( )
1 vote LISandKL | Dec 27, 2014 |
I don't really know Mike Resnick, but I like Jack McDevit, so I picked this up. Others have described the plot so I'll keep it simple. It's a few years from now, NASA is a ghost of it's past glories. A rich guy decides it's time to get back into space and plans an audacious trip to the moon. Now if the book was just about that, I think it might have been good. Instead, the story is an endless chase after clues that America had landed an Apollo craft on the moon before Neil Armstrong and had covered up the story all these years. The chase for clues, largely fruitless, and boring, is most of the book. What could the government have possibly been covering up? Well, what do you think? I'll give you a clue, it's not a monolith like in "2001: A Space Odyssey", but pretty close. Granted, there's a twist, but not a very original twist.

The book is so slow moving, that about 50 pages from the end, I was convinced that the secret was not going to be re veiled until a sequel. At least the story came to an end although a sequel looks inevitable. I'll pass. ( )
  capewood | Dec 8, 2014 |
Character development was good and the synopsis was very believable - but I was bored and was anxious for the story to end. ( )
  mtoc54 | Jun 25, 2014 |
Jerry Culpepper is a PR man and former political operative who landed a job as NASA’s Public Relations Officer. This former hired gun has become a true believer in NASA and its ideals, and is increasingly disappointed in those who pay the agency mere lip service (before slashing its budget — yet again).

“Bucky” Blackstone is an eccentric multibillionaire who has decided that private enterprise must pick up where NASA left off and go into space on its own, lest “the dream of the stars” be lost in an increasingly difficult workaday world.

These two unlikely partners will team up to find out just what was really going on during the so-called “manned development Apollo missions” that were preparatory to the mission made famous by Neil Armstrong’s moon walk, and how it was connected to the Watergate break in.

This book, based in a world as close as today (and as realpolitik as yesterday), is blessedly free of sci-fi jargon and made up words. Though still satisfiably science fiction, this book has none of the fabulosity that marks the outliers of the genre, and could be considered a good entry point to science fiction for those who have steered clear of it before. In fact, it is less science fiction than it is an alternate history — but going too far down that path would inevitably lead to spoilers.

Fans of such history revision thrillers as The DaVinci Code will enjoy this book, no matter if they are sci-fi fans or not. However I found the denouement to be somewhat stock-thrillerish and a bit overwrought. Still, it was a nice distracting read, suitable for airplane or beach reading. It wasn’t deep reading, or deeply thought out writing, but sometimes you don’t want those things in a book — sometimes you just want to be transported. An this book does that admirably.

I would recommend this book to sci-fi or alternate history fans, or to fans of such popular thrillers as The DaVinci Code ( )
  hannephillips | Jan 8, 2014 |
Some aspects of this novel are what you would expect from these two writers: a puzzle/mystery, larger than life protagonists, historical perspective, and a surprising solution. A very satisfying, and somewhat thought-provoking read. ( )
  nmele | Nov 14, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jack McDevittprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Resnick, Mikemain authorall editionsconfirmed
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With interest in the space program waning, a public affairs director at NASA reveals a shocking secret about the Apollo 11 mission from fifty years ago.

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