Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Omega by Jack McDevitt
Penguin Group, 2003
Hardcover, 438 pages
ISBN-13: 9780441012107 (paperback)
Priscilla ''Hutch'' Hutchins Series #4
highly recommended

A civilization-destroying omega cloud has switched direction, heading straight for a previously unexplored planetary system - and its alien society. And suddenly, a handful of brave humans must try to save an entire world - without revealing their existence.
My Thoughts:

The existence of the omega clouds was known for decades, but virtually nothing was being done to try to stop the monstrous civilization killing omegas until it is discovered that one is moving toward an inhabited planet. The natives, nicknamed Goompahs, are in the early stages of technological development. Unwilling to stand by and watch their annihilation, the people of Earth hurriedly put together a team whose mission is to try to destroy the omega cloud, and, hopefully, save the inhabitants without revealing their presence to the natives.

I wasn't aware that Omega was the fourth book in the Priscilla ''Hutch'' Hutchins Series until I started writing this review. (I found it and a whole basket full of other science fiction novels in the clearance section of my local used book store.) The series includes The Engines of God, Deepsix, and Chindi. While I may go back and read the first three books, Omega stood alone. I found it quite enjoyable and the story was compelling. Actually "Hutch" is a supporting character rather than a main character in this novel. I liked the news tidbits or archival entries found at the end of each chapter and thought that was a very successful element. McDevitt handled the questions that would arise with the discovery of another civilization while following a non-interference protocol. All in all, Omega was a fine, thought-provoking book.
highly recommended


A survey ship, the Harry Coker, had been watching an omega, one of the monstrous clouds that drifted in waves out of the galactic core, and which seemed bent on destroying any civilization in their path. pg. 2

The omegas routinely hurled lightning bolts at perpendiculars. Any object designed with right angles or sharp departures from nature's natural arcs, could expect to become a target. pg. 3

Collingdale saw it right away: snow. The surviving city had been experiencing a blizzard when the cloud hit.
"It never saw the place," said Ava. pg. 10

Behind his back, his people were already calling them tewks. Star-like explosions, eruptions of enormous energy in places where there were no stars. And almost in a line. Not quite, but almost. It made his hair stand on end. pg. 15

"It looks artificial," he said. But not like any kind of vessel or package he'd ever seen. Spines stuck out all over it. They were rectangular and constructed with geometric precision. pg. 31

"We know the clouds rain down fire and brimstone on anything that has right angles."
Terry pointed an index finger at the image on the screen. "This thing is loaded with right angles. That's what it is: An oversized complex of right angles."
They looked at one another. "Is it designed to be a target?" Jane asked. "Or are the clouds intended specifically to kill these things?" pg. 32

There was a time when it had seemed easy. Almost inevitable. Just get out there and do it. But that had been during an era of overt optimism, when the assumption had been that every world on which life was possible would inevitably develop a biosystem, and that once you got a biosystem you would eventually get tribal chiefs and math teachers. pg. 53

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