Stephen King is quoted as saying that “Jack McDevitt is the logical heir to Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke.” to which I say Nonsense! Jack McDevitt is a much better writer than either of those pillars of the sci-fi genre and he’s likely to be far less loopy and/or dead.

I just finished reading my first book (‘Polaris’) by McDevitt and I am happy to report that I was thoroughly entertained as his characters, antiquities dealer Alex Benedict and his assistant Chase Kolpath, methodically begin unwrapping a celebrated sixty year-old mystery surrounding the inexplicable disappearance of the celebrity passengers of a starship sent to observe a celestial phenomenon. With the exception of star travel, anti-grav skimmers and Artificial Intelligences the notion behind this story would work in most any time period which is where the book excels; McDevitt doesn’t waste a lot of time on exposition of how things work, he doesn’t spend time trying to explain complicated future societies. He just jumps right in and tells a story. Pigs is pigs, and people are people, here and now or in the far-flung future they’ll always fascinate us. While ‘Polaris’ isn’t as ambitious in scale as Asimov’s Foundation or Clarke’s Rama series, it is an engaging and enjoyable story and it would indeed be a shame if Mr. McDevitt failed to deliver another dozen books featuring the adventures of Benedict and Kolpath. However, he’d better get started writing more books right away as I’m heading out to find out what else he has on the shelves. And don’t get too cocky Mr. McDevitt, I see that you live right here in Georgia…. don’t make me come camp outside your house.

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