Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club

The Engines of God paperback The Engines of God (1994)
Finalist for Arthur C. Clarke Award for best SF novel

Ace books paperback
419 pages (left)

Ace books hardcover (right)

cover art by Bob Eggleton
The Engines of God hardcover

From the back cover of the paperback:
       Humans call them the Monument-Makers.  An unknown race, they left stunning alien statues on distant planets in the galaxy.  Each relic is different.  Each inscription defies translation.  Yet all are heartbreakingly beautiful.
       And for planet Earth, on the brink of disaster, they may hold the only key to survival for the entire human race.

Publisher's summary:
       Humans call them Monument-Makers. An unknown race, they left stunning alien statues scattered on distant planets throughout the galaxy, encoded with strange inscriptions that defy translation. Searching for clues about the Monument-Makers, teams of 23rd century linguists, historians, engineers and archaeologists have been excavating the enigmatic alien ruins on a number of planets, uncovering strange, massive false cities made of solid rock. But their time is running out.
       Earth's ravaged environment is quickly making it unlivable, and colonizers want to begin terraforming these abandoned worlds for human habitation. Only interstellar archaeologist Richard Wald and starship pilot Priscilla Hutchins are convinced that uncovering the secrets of the monuments may hold the key to survival for the entire human race.

Novel synopsis from author's website:
Why is there an artificial city, a simulation carved from rock, on an airless moon orbiting Quraqua?  Why do cube-shaped satellites orbit Nok, the only known world with a living, if backward, civilization?  Archeologists tracking the rise and fall of civilizations across several worlds note a mathematical correspondence between their mutual dates of destruction.  What is going on?
       Priscilla Hutchins, a young pilot, helps a team of archeologists solve the riddle and keep alive.  For the most part.

Read for group discussion on March 24, 2010

How we each rated this book
Dan - Amy 7 stack of books 10   Wow! Don't miss it
8-9  Highly recommended
7    Recommended
5-6  Mild recommendation
3-4  Take your chances
1-2  Below average; skip it
0    Get out the flamethrower!
U    Unfinishable or unreadable
-    Skipped or no rating given
Cheri 7.5 Barb -
Aaron - Cynthia -
Jackie - Ron 7
Bob 7.5 Molly 7

Jack McDevitt (1935-     ) is a US science fiction writer.

1986 Philip K. Dick Special Citation for The Hercules Text
2004 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Omega
2007 Nebula Award for Seeker

The Academy or Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins novels
-- The Engines of God (1994)
-- Deepsix (2001)
-- Chindi (2002)
-- Omega (2003)
-- Odyssey (2006)
-- Cauldron (2007)

The Alex Benedict novels
-- A Talent for War (1989)
-- Polaris (2004)
-- Seeker (2005)
-- The Devil's Eye (2008)
-- Echo (forthcoming)

Stand-alone novels
-- Hercules Text (1986)
-- Ancient Shores (1996)
-- Eternity Road (1997)
-- Moonfall (1998)
-- Infinity Beach (2000)
-- Time Travelers Never Die (2009)

Omnibus editions
-- Hello Out There (2000), omnibus of A Talent for War and a revised The Hercules Text

Story collections
-- Standard Candles (1996)
-- Ships in the Night (2005)
-- Outbound (2006)
-- Cryptic: The Best Short Fiction of Jack McDevitt (2009)

Jack McDevitt official website
Jack McDevitt - Wikipedia
SF REVIEWS.NET: The Engines of God / Jack McDevitt
Locus Online: Jack McDevitt interview excerpts

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This page was last updated April 16, 2010