cover image Odyssey


Jack McDevitt. Ace Books, $24.95 (410pp) ISBN 978-0-441-01433-0

Set in the 23rd century, this straightforward adventure from Nebula-finalist McDevitt (Omega) explores the immorality of big business and the short-sightedness of the American government in minimizing support for space travel. These destructive forces are held off by the insight and brilliance of individuals such as the influential Gregory MacAllister, editor of a non-partisan journal, The Nation, and Priscilla ""Hutch"" Hutchins, manager of a government-sponsored space-research agency, the Academy. While often on opposite sides of support for the Academy's research budget, MacAllister and Hutch together uncover and react to evidence that Orion Tours' CEO, Charles Dryden, is engaged in a massive conspiracy to jump-start his intergalactic tour business. MacAllister unmasks the others supporting Dryden's faked alien attacks, targeting a physicist who colluded in the hoax. His skepticism about space travel, however, prevents him from seeing the existence of real aliens, something Hutch must pursue at risk to her career. Subtract the ""inspirational quotations"" and the newspaper headlines appended to some chapters, and what's left is enough space travel, heroics and speculation about the history of the universe to satisfy most hard SF enthusiasts.