DEEPSIX by Jack McDevitt - SIGNED FIRST EDITION BOOK
See all titles by Jack McDevitt.
In recent years, Jack McDevitt has emerged as a leading practitioner of the high-tech, deep-space disaster novel. Deepsi is an interstellar adventure that might just be one of the most exciting science fiction novels published.
The story takes place in the early 23rd century and opens with a prologue describing the disastrous expedition to a remote, Earth-like planet called Maleiva III. Fourteen years later, as the main narrative begins, Maleiva -- popularly known as Deepsix -- stands directly in the path of a roving gas giant and is two weeks away from complete destruction. Scientists and sightseers from across the galaxy are flocking to the event, which promises to provide an unprecedented cosmic spectacle.
Trouble begins when a scan of the planet's surface reveals previously undiscovered evidence of intelligent life. Immediately afterward, commercial pilot Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins finds herself conscripted and sent to Deepsix. Her mission: to discover and preserve as many remnants of that alien civilization as time and circumstance allow. Accompanying Hutch are several volunteer crew members, a middle-aged veteran of the first expedition to Deepsix, and an acerbic journalist named Gregory McAllister. Their exploration has barely begun when an earthquake destroys all functional landing vehicles, stranding Hutch and her amateur archaeologists on a rapidly disintegrating planet.
The bulk of the novel concerns the subsequent, increasingly desperate efforts to mount a viable rescue mission. As the days pass and available options dwindle, a team of scientists from the superluminals -- faster-than-light starships parked in orbit around Deepsix -- concoct an unlikely scheme that involves the modified use of newly discovered alien technology. As Hutch and company struggle to survive on a planet filled with unpredictable dangers, their orbiting cohorts struggle to construct an impossibly large "skyhook," a Rube Goldberg device that will literally scoop the explorers out of the sky and bring them safely home.
In Deepsix, McDevitt has created an exquisitely calibrated narrative in which moments of extreme, almost unbearable tension give way to contrasting moments of beauty, pathos, and unexpected humor. The result is a furiously paced novel that works equally well as hard SF, as a ticking-clock suspense story, as an account of characters changing -- and growing -- under the pressure of external events.