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Cryptic: The Best Short Fiction of Jack…
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Cryptic: The Best Short Fiction of Jack McDevitt

by Jack McDevitt

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I really like Jack's novels but I thought I'd take a shot at his short fiction works.

I especially liked his time travel stories, including Times Arrow and Time Travellers Never Die (from which he expanded it into a novel).

He also told several stories from the Priscilla Hutch universe which was fun and insightful. A man decides to get involved with the Nok's civil war. He's tired of just being an observer and takes an active role in messing up the battles and saving lives, much against the Prime Directive (remember that one, Trek fans?). Hutch gets involved and the story leaves the reader with a complex plot with a simple answer. Nicely done.

Other stories in the mix were pretty good, some not so much, it's a matter of taste. Took me a long time to get through the book as there are so many stories.

'Henry James, This One's For You' about a computer who can write the perfect novel, threatening to put regular writers and editors out of business. What would you do? Crazy ending.

There's more:

Part I: Unlikely Connections

Cryptic
The Fort Moxie Branch
Nothing Ever Happens in Rock City
Tweak
Melville on Iapetus
Lighthouse (with Michael Shara)
Cool Neighbor (with Michael Shara)
Whistle
In the Tower

Part II: Lost Treasures

Ignition
Indomitable
Last Contact
Never Despair
Windows
Dutchman
The Tomb
Promises to Keep
To Hell with the Stars
The Mission

Part III: Out There

Report from the Rear
Black to Move
The Far Shore
Sunrise
Kaminsky at War

Part IV: Touching the Infinite

Fifth Day
Deus Tex
Gus
Welcome to Valhalla (with Kathryn Lance)
Tyger
Auld Lang Boom

Part V: Inventions and Fallout

Cruising through Deuteronomy
The Candidate
Act of God
Ellie
Time's Arrow
Dead in the Water
Henry James, This One's for You
Time Travellers Never Die
( )
  jmourgos | Sep 12, 2014 |
A large collection, and a very solid one, at 3.51. A few of the better stories will also be recognisable to those that have read a Talent For War or some of the Academy novels. One story left out seems to be Good Intentions, the team-up with Stanley Schmidt, that I think is close to his best.

This book, however, is probably close to 4 times as long as a lot of collections, so a good deal when you at it that way, with a whopping 38 stories.

So, a whole bunch of good solid SF and a few others here, thanks to another Subterranean webscription.

Cryptic : Cryptic - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : The Fort Moxie Branch - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Nothing Ever Happens In Rock City - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Tweak - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Melville on Iapetus - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Lighthouse - Jack McDevitt and Michael Shara
Cryptic : Cool Neighbor - Jack McDevitt and Michael Shara
Cryptic : Whistle - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : In The Tower - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Ignition - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Indomitable - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Last Contact - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Never Despair - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Windows - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Dutchman - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : The Tomb - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Promises To Keep - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : To Hell With The Stars - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : The Mission - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Report From the Rear - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Black to Move - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : The Far Shore - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Sunrise - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Kaminsky At War - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Fifth Day - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Deus Tex - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Gus - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Welcome To Valhalla - Jack McDevitt and Kathryn Lance
Cryptic : Tyger - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Auld Lang Boom - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Cruising Through Deuteronomy - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : The Candidate - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Act of God - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Ellie - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Time's Arrow - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Dead In The Water - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Henry James This One's For You - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Time Travellers Never Die - Jack McDevitt

SETI analysis recovery military breakthrough.

4 out of 5

Rare library find.

3. 5 out of 5

SETI Success.

2.5 out of 5

No meddling.

2.5 out of 5

Alien pretty monster statue.

4 out of 5

New warning star girl.

4 out of 5

Sacrificial sister planet discovery completion.

4 out of 5

Old standard contact.

3 out of 5

Fishbowl beastmeld takeover.

3.5 out of 5

Blowup idol.

3 out of 5

Interstellar SETI giveup scrapheap.

3 out of 5

Raygun funeral.

3 out of 5

Holo advice from Churchill.

4 out of 5

Hi-tech info rediscovery.

2.5 out of 5

A Talent For War's end.

4.5 out of 5

Ruler's religious symbol.

2.5 out of 5

Callisto christmas action tape vacation.

4 out of 5

SF dreams.

3 out of 5

Astronaut virus landing.

3.5 out of 5

Dodgy media space war reportage.

3.5 out of 5

Cat people's gambit.

4 out of 5

OTR tribute.

4.5 out of 5

Antimatter hypership pseudo-nova fightback.

4.5 out of 5

The Shadow deals out some local Noks.

4 out of 5

Life improbable.

3 out of 5

Don't burgle Thor's joint.

4 out of 5

Saint AI theology.

3 out of 5

Wagner holocaust view.

3 out of 5

Wanna make a cosmos?

3.5 out of 5

"Anyone who worries that the U.S. is headed for collapse can relax. It is raining on the rubble."

3 out of 5

No time for Samson's haircut.

3 out of 5

AI politics.

3.5 out of 5

Cosm creator cleanout.

4 out of 5

Element of tower guard uncertainty.

4 out of 5

Arrival is dangerous.

3 out of 5

Kid longevity project debate.

3.5 out of 5

AI's war story.

4.5 out of 5

Paradox pyre problems.

4 out of 5

http://notfreesf.blogspot.com/2008/11/cryptic-jack-mcdevitt.html ( )
  bluetyson | Nov 25, 2008 |
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A 200,000 word gathering of the best short fiction by Jack McDevitt.

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