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Deepsix by Jack McDevitt
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Deepsix (original 2001; edition 2001)

by Jack McDevitt

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7791711,832 (3.81)29
Member:AlanPoulter
Title:Deepsix
Authors:Jack McDevitt
Info:London : Voyager, 2001.
Collections:Your library
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Tags:science fiction

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Deepsix by Jack McDevitt (2001)

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
This is the second book in The Academy series and I loved it. Hutch, the space ship pilot from the first novel, is back, a number of years later, still piloting ships around for the Academy.

A back plot. An earth-like planet is found and a group of scientists found to explore it, but they're nearly all killed by bird-like creatures. One scientist named Nightingale remained alive. Fast forward twenty years. In the same system, this same earth-like planet is about to collide with a huge planet floating through space destroying everything in its path and the smaller planet is going to explode. Naturally, the Academy had sent a team of scientists up to view this once in a lifetime phenomena and then the unthinkable occurs -- evidence of civilization turns up. A tower is found buried in ice. A scan is completed and entire cities are found buried beneath the ice. It's important to find out what civilizations lived there, what happened to them, what they were like, etc., before the planet explodes. Unfortunately, the scientific ship doesn't have a lander, so there's no way they can make it to the planet's surface. However, Hutch is in a ship nearby with a few other people, including Nightingale, and they're ordered to the planet's surface to explore and gather as much evidence as possible in their lander. So they do. In the meantime, another ship has appeared, carrying gawkers, including one insufferable Gregory MacAllister, a writer, editor, and all around snob, who agrees to a young writer's request to go to the surface to conduct an interview. So they join Hutch, who is none to happy to have them.

Hutch finds some really good stuff. But the big planet is approaching and wreaking havoc with the weather. There's an earthquake, and MacAllister's lander falls down a new crack in the ice, wrecking. He and the female reporter take off in Hutch's, only to crash land a short distance later. She dies, as does one of Hutch's crew. That's two landers. They need another one to get off the planet. An emergency signal is sent out and yet another ship is contacted by the Academy with instructions to go to their aid with their lander. However, they are sabotaged by a bigwig on board, who releases the lander so they won't have to go, and so he can go to his precious dig on another planet which is oh so much more important than people's lives.

What the hell are they going to do? Nightingale suggests their only chance may be to hike the 200 kilometers across difficult terrain with alien animals that want to eat them to find the old lander his old crew abandoned with the hope that it would still work. So they go off. And are attacked. And lose another crew member. And during this journey, MacAllister learns to become human, which is refreshing. And Hutch displays her exceptional leadership qualities. Meanwhile, the ship's captains are meeting with scientists to see if anything else can be done. Seems like there's one more long shot and it's got to work, because the old lander won't have enough power to get out of orbit. An alien object has appeared. It's many kilometers long and has a net at the end of it with an asteroid caught in it. They decide to cut it up and weld it into a scoop, so Hutch can literally fly into it and be scooped up in this object. So volunteers from the ships learn to weld and go out into outer space and do the job, all the while with time running down. The two worlds are about to collide.

Hutch and one of the girls make it to the lander and it still works, so they take off. They need some technical stuff left back at the tower scavenged from their old landers, so they take off for it. However, Marcel, their ship commander informs them that the tower is about to be completely submerged in water due to the planet's ongoing issues. They make it back and sure enough, it's submerged and they're screwed, so they head back to recover MacAllister and Nightingale. Then they head for a high area. They're told of the scoop plan and they hope, oh, they hope. But it seems to unlikely. They'll have seconds to do it before the scoop leaves the rendezvous area. To top matters off, the Academy has found another area on top of a mountain that they want explored -- with the worlds about to collide -- while waiting for the scoop to be completed, so the lander heads off to the mountain and they encounter a flat surface on top of the mountain and evidence of civilization. It appears that two life forms were on the planet -- hawks and crickets. It appears that the hawks appeared out of nowhere to save the crickets with their own scoop thousands of years ago. What happened to them? No one will ever know. Some stuff happens. The action is breath taking. Finally it's time, so they head off to meet the scoop. Only to have the net on the scoop tear when a meteor field rips through it. Man, will nothing work? Are they saved? I'm not going to say because I don't want to give away the ending. I want you to read it for yourself. But I thought this book packed a lot more action into it than its predecessor and I was glad for that because I got occasionally bored with the first one. I saw character development here, character depth, science at work, alien culture, space ships -- hey, it's good sci fi! I've already got all of the other books in the series and I'm already looking forward to reading the third one. Definitely recommended. ( )
  scottcholstad | Jun 23, 2015 |
I’ve read several of the “Hutchins” series of novels by Jack McDevitt. What strikes me about them has to do with a strong female lead, “Hutch”, her adventures as a pilot for the Academy as they explore the ruins of what was once a thriving civilization across the galaxy but faded out when humans arrived.

“Are we next” is kinda the question the books imply in this series.

In “Deepsix”, Nightingale (“Randy”) leads a exploratory colony to the planet Deepsix. The life on this planet is deadly and soon makes short work of the people there. In typical overreacting, the place is shut down and quarantined for twenty years. Randy is despondent and blames himself for the disaster, and so does everyone else!

Several of the characters I really liked, such as “McAllister.” If you want to see a Rush Limbaugh knock-off, it’s McAllister. Opinionated and abrupt, writes for galactic news (I guess some things will never change in our future).

The other is Priscilla Hutchins, who is ordered to Deepsix to do some reconnaissance before the planet is met with a gas giant, the planet Morgan. She is strong, regrets not meeting her mom’s goals and realizes she should make a few of her own. Some minor flashback from earlier books is briefly mentioned.

The book shifts drastically from archeology to planetary destruction, what despair and desperation will do to one, and how greed and power trump life any day. Quite a story.

Hutch finds herself stranded on the planet, with only a few people, as an earthquake destroys one lander and an inept “pilot”, newswoman, destroys another and gets herself killed in the process. The rest of the book deals with the deadline, some not wanting them rescued, and the deux ex machina of an alien device that just might help them get off the rock before it is wiped out.

Bottom Line: I did not care for some characters, several needed fleshing out. The captain that allowed passengers to go to the surface just before the disaster, several and sundry crewmen and women, and a few die that I did not care for. The book builds suspense well and the pacing is decent.

Kindle Edition: The Kindle edition has several spelling errors that are really distracting. Clearly the scan did not go well from text to electronic font. Clean it up!

Recommended.

( )
  jmourgos | Sep 12, 2014 |
A classic old-style, science fiction, (mostly) planetary adventure, as a handful of human, stranded on a planet within days of collision with a gas giant, trek through uncharted lands to an abandoned lander that might enable them to escape in time. There are no big surprises here, but neither are there any major reasons to throw this book against the opposite wall. If my opening sentence sounds like something you want to read, then you read it. You won't be disappointed. This is the second Priscilla Hutchins novel, after The Engines of God. ( )
  ChrisRiesbeck | Feb 14, 2014 |
Deepsix by Jack McDevitt is the second novel in McDevitt’s academy series (or Priscilla Hutchens series, whichever you choose to name it). Maleiva III is a planet that is headed for a catastrophic collision with a huge gas giant named Morgan's World. Within weeks before the collision will occur, Priscilla Hutchens (Hutch) is recruited by the Academy of Science and Technology to lead a team to explore, record, photograph, and even collect artifacts of former civilizations (especially from advanced technological civilizations). An attempt to explore the planet about twenty years earlier had ended in disaster when several team members were killed by vicious indigenous creatures. Hutch and her hastily- assembled team are well aware of the danger, but there isn’t time to bring in a well prepared team of experts, a well-armed protective force, or the equipment that would ordinarily be used, before the planet and everything on it will be swallowed by the gas giant. Hutch and her motley team, including a wealthy writer, a reporter, and others discover some ruins that suggest a nontechnical and unscientific society once inhabited the planet. However, they also encounter a very malicious environment, which is exacerbated by the effects of the approaching gas giant, and distinctly unfriendly wildlife. Both the members of the group and their equipment suffer casualties and survival quickly becomes a constant desperate struggle to get off the planet before it is exploded by the approaching giant. As is usual, McDevitt includes a large number of very diverse and interesting characters in this novel. His characters on the planet endure a punishing struggle, hopeless fear, and the numbing loss of their team members. In addition, a large group of mostly untrained volunteers guided by a few knowledgeable and skilled leaders takes desperate actions in an attempt to rescue Hutch and her group. However, it is difficult and dangerous to attempt to control chaos. McDevitt also provides very interesting doses of future scientific accomplishments to satisfy the reader’s desire for science in their fiction. This is a very rich and enjoyable science fiction novel and I recommend it to anyone who likes science fiction and/or adventure/suspense novels. ( )
  clark.hallman | Nov 22, 2013 |
I really enjoyed this book and have liked reading Jack McDevitt's stuff since i discovered Engines of God at my local Library.

If i have one criticisim of the book like in a movie (and with a minor spoiler) as soon as Plan B was mooted as a "Just in Case" the main plan was unsuccessful you knew that it was going to be used. In saying that the way that it was used was very clever and in the style of a movie reviewer a "Thrill ride"

I would recommend it and am looking forward to reading the other books in the Engines of God series. ( )
  Jim.Finn | Aug 10, 2013 |
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Pour Walter Cuirle qui continue à fournir les effets spéciaux.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061020060, Mass Market Paperback)

Deepsix is concerned with the motivating force that drives all scientists--the quest for truth, for expanding the limits of human knowledge. How much are we willing to risk for that moment of discovery, of knowing what no other soul yet knows? Our time? Our reputations? Our careers? Our lives?

The premise is this: just weeks before the planet Deepsix will be destroyed by a collision with a gas giant, ruins are detected on its surface, suggesting the presence of civilization. The Academy diverts scientists from the nearest spaceship to go down and explore, and they are joined by their century's Ellsworth Toohey: a misogynistic, sanctimonious gadfly who has never before been off of Earth's surface. The party's landers are destroyed in an earthquake induced by the approaching gas giant, so now they must find a way to get off of Deepsix before it is destroyed by the collision. Needless to say, their excavations are placed on the back burner.

The physics describing the space travel and the archeology used to reconstruct the lost culture of Deepsix are interesting and explained well. There is plenty of action and suspense--will the party survive? And the evolving characters and group dynamics are more complex than those usually found in science fiction books, making Deepsix a worthwhile read. --Diana Gitig

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:50 -0400)

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