[Portrait of Jack McDevitt] Jack McDevitt

Working name of US writer John Charles McDevitt (1935- ), who began publishing sf with "The Emerson Effect" for Twilight Zone in 1981, coming to prominence with "Cryptic" (1984), a tale whose theme -- First Contact between humans and the alien races who are sending communications across space -- was elaborated in his first novel, The Hercules Text (1986). Jack McDevitt managed in this tale to concentrate very effectively on the human dimensions of the conundrum posed by the existence of a communication whose contents, when deciphered, might well devastate human civilization; and the Roman Catholic viewpoint of one of the scientists involved in decoding the message is presented with an obvious sympathy which does not hamper the storytelling, which involves threats of violent skulduggery.

Jack McDevitt's second novel, A Talent for War (1989), set in a galactic venue eons hence, similarly sets a religious frame around the central quest plot, in which a young man must thread his way through the unsettled hinterlands dividing human and alien space in his search for the secret that may retroactively destroy the reputation of a human who has been a hero in the recent wars.

His third novel, The Engines of God (1994), puts into the darkly humane terms that have become his trademark an epic space opera plot that gives new life to old movements of story: the ancient artifact; the unfolding cosmology; and so forth.

Praise for Jack McDevitt's new novel, Ancient Shores:

Ancient Shores is utterly charming -- reminiscent of Clifford D. Simak at his best. McDevitt weaves the absolutely extraordinary and the very ordinary into a cosmic tapestry that simultaneously expands the mind and touches the heart. Jack's best book to date -- the kind of crowd-pleaser that should take home the Hugo Award.

-- Robert J. Sawyer, Nebula winning author of The Terminal Experiment.

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