Friday, July 22, 2011

Polaris by Jack McDevitt

I finished reading Polaris by Jack McDevitt. This is the second book in the Alex Benedict series. It was nominated for a Nebula Award in 2005. I read the first book in the series--A Talent for War--about two year ago. I started reading the series because I was interested in the he third book in the series--Seeker--which won the Nebula in 2006.

In the story, antiquities dealer Alex Benedict and his employee, Chase Kolpath, become involved in a mystery involving the disappearance of the passengers and crew of an interstellar yacht. The luxury space yacht Polaris carried an elite group of the wealthy and curious thousands of light-years from Earth to witness a spectacular stellar phenomenon. It never returned. The search party sent to investigate found the Polaris empty and adrift in space, the fate of its pilot and passengers a mystery. Sixty years later, Alex Benedict is determined to unravel the mystery.

I read science fiction partly because I love to see how authors play with ideas about technology. There are very few interesting ideas about technology in this book.

The other thing that I disliked about this book was the way that the characters zipped around the universe and got in and out catastrophe situations without a scratch. I made the same remark in Tom Clancy's Dead or Alive. About the fifth time the characters extract themselves out of some wild situation, it just gets unbelievable.

Frankly, I am very surprised that this book was nominated for a Nebula Award. I gave the first book in the series a lukewarm recommendation. I don't recommend this book at all.

I was intrigued by the style of the novel. It is written in a very causal first person voice. I have a novel in my head that I am going to write someday and like this voice. More about that on August 16...

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