Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

book review: Jack McDevitt's Chindi

Book recommendation:

Chindi by Jack McDevitt

I had to post this after posting about Omega:

Chindi is a novel about the kinds of people who explore the unknown, who push the boundaries of the human world. The true believers and fanatics fund and design their missions, and other brave souls go along for various reasons: It's a job, one of their best friends or loved ones are going, or they just think it'll be an adventure. George and Nick are the fanatics, and without them, humanity never would have discovered the interestellar, alien communications network, the various rising and fallen civilizations, the retreat, the chindi, or their own lost vessel. So heroics arise naturally, because if someone needs saving and A) it's your job, or B) it's someone you care about, you just do it.

So it's also a novel about what people will do for one another, even those they've just met but with whom they have gone through adventures.

Again, this feel like the script for a movie Hollywood should make. McDevitt's novels are always full of great dialogue, daring rescues, and awe-inspiring settings. But this feels like more of a novel than the last one. In fact, after having read this, I saw some things I missed last time around: How the humans involved in the dramatic rescue operation were a metaphor for how Hawk race rescued many of the Deepsix natives.

Another thing that McDevitt always does so well is give us insight into what it means to be human; perhaps more specifically, how humans treat one another, how we become better people through our interactions with worthy others. And I always end up marking a few passages that seem to really stand out, such as these:

"[talking in hyperspace] had taught Hutch a long time back about the vagaries of human conversation, the things that really mattered, which were not at all the words, or even the tones, but rather the moment-to-moment reactions people had to one another, the sudden glitter of understanding in the eyes, the raised hand that accompanied a request for additional explanation, the signal of approval or dismay or affection that a given phrase might induce."

"Embrace your life, find what it is you love, and pursue it with all your soul. For if you do not, when you come to die, you will find that you have not lived."

Good stuff.

Finally, any book that makes me spend the wee hours of the morning after having finished it writing story notes and ideas has got to be good! I finished this novel at 3:30am (it's a page-turner) and couldn't get to bed until after four because I was full of revision ideas (for my own work) inspired by this book.

Definitely worth reading!

Tags: reading, science fiction

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