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SFF Author: Jack McDevitt

Jack McDevitt is a former English teacher, naval officer, Philadelphia taxi driver, customs officer and motivational trainer. His work has been on the final ballot for the Nebula Awards for 12 of the past 13 years. His first novel, The Hercules Text, was published in the celebrated Ace Specials series and won the Philip K. Dick Special Award. In 1991, McDevitt won the first $10,000 UPC International Prize for his novella, “Ships in the Night.” The Engines of God was a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and his novella, “Time Travelers Never Die,” was nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula awards. McDevitt lives in Georgia with his wife, Maureen, where he plays chess, reads mysteries and eats lunch regularly with his cronies.


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The Hercules Text: Asks interesting questions in an uninteresting way

The Hercules Text by Jack McDevitt

In the near future, NASA scientists pick up a signal from space that turns out to be a coded message (“The Hercules Text”) from an alien species. It originated a million years ago, so it’s unlikely that the aliens still exist, and even if they do they’re very far away, but the message tells us that (1) We are not (or were not) alone in the universe and (2) A million years ago these aliens were sophisticated enough to send this technologically advanced message.

These facts have profound effects on the scientists and other people involved with the NASA project.


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Coming Home: Searching for the past in the distant future

Coming Home by Jack McDevitt

In the distant future, humanity will remember the period when NASA landed on the moon and explored our galaxy as the Golden Age. The people of the future won’t remember much else from our century because of the Internet crash that caused so much literature and scientific knowledge to be lost forever.

Alex Benedict and his pilot, Chase Kolpath, are in the artifact business. Benedict’s profession consists of finding rare items and selling them to the highest bidder – and Benedict has a lead on a bunch of Golden Age artifacts.


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Ancient Shores: First contact – an antique coast washed by time

Ancient Shores by Jack McDevitt

Fort Moxie lent itself to timelessness. There were no major renovation projects, no vast cultural shifts imposed by changing technology, no influxes of strangers, no social engineering. The town and the broad prairie in which it rested were caught in a kind of time warp.

A farmer works his land in the far reaches of North Dakota — just a few miles away from the Canadian border. Something pokes from the flat lands that he calls home. He lives in a large basin of prairie-land,


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Thunderbird: Ancient shores rediscovered

Thunderbird by Jack McDevitt

When we last left Jack McDevitt’s North Dakota in 1996’s Ancient Shores, the U.S. Government had failed miserably and embarrassingly to wrest control of an alien stargate from the Spirit Lake Sioux, rightful owners of the land on which the alien artifact was found. Thunderbird, a sequel to Ancient Shores, picks up several months after the showdown, which also saw fictional poet Walter Asquith shot dead.

The world of Grand Forks,


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A Voice in the Night: Definitely for established fans

A Voice in the Night by Jack McDevitt

Jack McDevitt is one of the numerous authors whose work I know because my dad said, “Hey, read this!” In McDevitt’s case, the “this” was The Engines of God. Having thus been introduced to recurring protagonist Priscilla Hutchins, I read several others of McDevitt’s novels and I’ve always enjoyed them. So I was interested to pick up this book of short stories to see how McDevitt does them.

Overall, I think I prefer McDevitt’s work at novel length;


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Next SFF Author: Ed McDonald
Previous SFF Author: J.M. McDermott

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