Review: “Omega” by Jack McDevitt


Omega by Jack McDevitt. Penguin Books. 493 pages.

This is a good book, don’t get me wrong. In fact, I am a big fan of Jack McDevitt and his hard science fiction stories. His books Chindi, The Engines of God, and Deepsix are some of the most realistic, far-future hard science fiction space stories I have ever read. I highly recommend him. And his books.

That being said, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. And lest I bury the lead, this was too much book for me. Here’s the storyline from Amazon’s summary:

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.

Not a lot of description, I know, and it’s an intriguing concept. Try to rescue an alien race without revealing the existence of humans, all the while knowing that what is threatening to kill them will eventually come for Earth.

And I will admit that the last hundred pages were written very well. There’s lots of action and you get caught up with what’s going on. My only complaint comes with the fact that the story was too long. The author gets caught up in world building–masterfully done, by the way–and falls into the trap of losing the action. And the voyage to the planet seemed indeterminably long. At 493 pages, I suspect he could have killed 100 pages and been a lot better off for doing so.

It was a decent story, and some critics call Omega Jack McDevitt’s best book. I tend to disagree. So far, my favorite was Deepsix.

I won’t give up on McDevitt, but I wish this one would have been a little shorter.

Three and a half stars out of five.

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