Posted by: Matt | August 2, 2007

Review of Seeker

Jack McDevitt

Reason for reading: I’m always up for some sci-fi and this sounded like a good one. It won the Nebula Award in 2006 which meant it counted for the Book Awards Reading Challenge.

Quote: “He had followed the instruction and stayed inside and now he lay beneath tons of ice and rock.”


Alex and Chase are space archeologists 10,000 years in the future. A woman comes to them to find out the worth of an old cup she has been given. Alex and Chase soon identify it as belonging to one of the first major space colonization efforts that took place in the 27th Century which some had dismissed as myth. They soon begin a journey to discover the source of the cup and the destiny of the lost space colony.

Some have called Alex the Indiana Jones of space. This is a somewhat accurate analogy as they both search for archeological artifacts thought of as many to be mythological. But that’s where the comparison stops as Indy was more of a tough guy who knew how to use his brain and braun. Alex is all brain.

Most of the novel moves at a pedestrian pace. Even when situations occur that would seem to be perilous there is never really a sense that the characters are in danger. This is partly because the main characters carry themselves with a tremendous amount of confidence.

The writing here is workmanlike. There is nothing bad about it but don’t look for impressive prose. It gets the job done. The novel moves along like a gentle stream until the end when the big payoff arrives.  However, there is some very impressive description and explanation of astronomy.  On this front, McDevitt certainly appears to know what he is talking about and these passages proved to be some of the more fascinating and impressive.

The author seems comfortable, maybe too much so at times, and it is surprising that this was chosen as the Nebula Award winner, but Seeker is a respectable novel, particularly when considering the science behind the novel.

Recommended only to fans of sci-fi.

Rating: 3.5


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