Thursday, July 16, 2009

The New Jack McDevitt...Isn't New

Cauldron by Jack McDevitt is the latest installment (and it looks like he is truly trying to make it the last) in the on-going saga of Priscilla Hutchins and exploring inter-galactic space; finding new or ancient cultures and how we, as humans, handle (or mishandle) them.

While the story is entertaining, it is the same story told again but without the intrigue. The mysteries are not quite so mysterious and the characters we have all met before, only with diffrent names. I'm thinking this novel was one the publisher pretty much said had to be written if any more checks were going to be coming from them.

That being said, McDevitt is still the master of cultural collision. What do cultures do when they share no experiences, no language and no history? Easy, they hurt each other, intentionally or not. Cauldron is no exception to McDevitt's exploration of alien encounters. Its fascinating to see the possibilities and embarassing to realize our shortcomings.

This one is a good read, fairly short, and entertaining enough that I finished it. Is is also formulaic and been done before. Or maybe I've just read too many of McDevitt's books. Its not worth a five star rating, so I'm giving it 3.

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