Saturday, September 22, 2007

Cauldron-Jack McDevitt

Jack McDevitt
Ace, Nov 2007, $24.95
ISBN 9780441015252

Government sponsored interstellar flight research is a thing of the past as it proved to expensive; some private foundations provided limited funding to scientists, but by 2255 everyone knows that the dreams of the now defunct Academy of Science and technology are over.

That is until now when physicist Jon Silvestri insists he has found an efficient effective star drive. The Prometheus Foundation decides to fund his tests, which prove successful. The Foundation assigns Priscilla “Hutch” Hutchins to join Jon and a crew on the Cauldron, whose mission is to learn what is inside the omega clouds at the core of the galaxy that is expanding outward and destroying other segments of the sector. However, the trip proves nonlinear as the Cauldron meet technologically impaired aliens, land on a deadly seemingly deserted planet, and is pulled towards a black hole.

Although a well written outer space thriller starring Hutch and a crew of eccentrics, the prime directive of the story line is penetrating the clouded core to learn what is going on, but that segue is given a short climatic coda no more than fifteen percent of the tale). Instead over eighty percent of the exciting story line involves the travel. Thus the audience will appreciate the superior writing as the crew of the cauldron goes where mankind has never been before, but is also disappointed in the omega cloud finish that proves faster than Silvestri’s star drive.

Harriet Klausner

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