The Engines of God
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The Engines of God (The Academy #1)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  4,351 ratings  ·  253 reviews
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ebook, 432 pages
Published December 1st 1995 by Ace Books (first published 1994)
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Mar 01, 2009 Terence rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: HardSF fans
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Rating: 2.5 stars

Is there a requirement that a "hard" SF author can't write believable characters or dialog to save their life? Or, rather, considering the general level of education and IQ among that crowd, is it a conspiracy so that they can chortle over the nearly inevitable comment in any review of their books about the simplistic characters and amateurish dialog?

Well, no matter. I picked up a copy of The Engines of God at a library booksale for 50 cents so I can't complain too vociferously....more
Melissa Proffitt
What bugs me about this book is that I read the sequel, Deepsix, first. That pretty much kills the mystery that unfolds in this book. McDevitt's greatest skill is his ability to weave a mystery into an action novel. The characters aren't stock, but they aren't outstanding either (the main character develops more in later books), and the point is really to experience alien cultures and try to work out what happened to the ones that disappeared or died out. This isn't just space adventure, it's ar...more
Paul Darcy
by Jack McDevitt, published in 1994.

There is something I really, really like about a mystery science fiction, especially if that mystery comes from a long vanished alien race.

Well, this novel, “The Engines of God” is just such a novel. It seems that thousands of years ago, when humanity was just picking up sticks and learning how to brain each other with them, an advanced alien race was busy building incredible monuments in the galaxy.

We follow Hutch, a spaceship pilot, as she travels with archa...more
Mar 12, 2014 David rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: monument-makers, xenolinguists, tenure-track planetologists
The Earth is facing environmental catastrophe in the 23rd century. Humans have spread to other star systems, but generally not found a lot of Earth-like planets, and those they have found are already inhabited. A handful of intelligent alien races have been discovered, but all are primitive compared to humanity. Most alien races discovered, however, are long dead, and the most prominent is one that apparently traveled to other stars, as their monuments have been found across the galaxy.

Earth has...more
I asked for recommendations for good sci fi and this was on the list. I can't say I agree.

Partly it's the setting - two hundred years in the future, but that odd sort of future which is just like 1995 with a couple of future-y things added. The telephones have video and there are faxes, but now they go faster than light. Are there really science-minded writers who think that the modern world is just like the early 19th century?

The lack of characterization is typical for science fiction, so I was...more
This is book 1 of a 6 book series known as The Academy Novels (aka the Priscilla Hutchins Novels). Sadly for me, I read book 5 first, not knowing any difference. But, it really didn't make much difference except I know where Priscilla Hutchins is in her career.

This is a very good book and a treat to read. McDevitt has been praised by other Sci-fi authors as being one of the best...and I could not agree more. I like his works very much.

This book introduces us to outer space archaeology, where Hut...more
Clark Hallman
The Engines of God, by Jack McDevitt, is a powerful and fascinating science fiction novel by the Campbell Award and Nebula Award winning science fiction writer (and one of my favorite authors). A group of twenty-third-century scientists excavate and study extinct civilizations on planets in extremely distant solar systems. FTL space travel and many other scientific advances have enabled the discovery and exploration of these planets where alien civilizations once flourished. Unfortunately, only...more
Mi primera incursión en los libros de Jack McDevitt ha sido una absoluta decepción. Me esperaba algo más de lo que ha primera vista parecen aventuras y arqueología espacial. 'Las máquinas de Dios' no ha logrado mantener mi atención en casi ninguna página. Los misterios que plantea apenas me han interesado. Y es que la trama apenas avanza y cuando lo hace, es muy lentamente.

En fin, espero que mi siguiente incursión en la ciencia ficción de McDevitt logre atraparme más, porque lo que ha sido esta...more
Julie Davis
My review which ran at SFFaudio.

Climate change has Earth on the brink of disaster. The only viable solution is terraforming other planets to ensure survival. For a small group of archaeologists, however, terraforming is the worst possible solution. The only suitable planet is also the one planet with the most promising artifacts of an unknown alien race. Known as the Monument Makers, the aliens’ buildings feature a seemingly uncrackable code on them. The team is looking for the alien equivalent...more
Ce roman nous raconte les aventures d’une pilote de vaisseau et de ses camarades d’expédition, à la recherche d’artefacts d’une supposée civilisation intelligente et des traces qu’elle aurait pu laisser. J’étais au début de ma lecture tout à fait enthousiasmé par ce roman et par l’ambiance qui s’en dégageait. En effet, cette exploration de reliques extra-terrestres par une équipe purement scientifique me rappelait deux très bons romans : Le moineau de Dieu pour le côté assez amateur de la missio...more
Humanity has achieved starflight. Expeditions have found mysterious monuments from several civilizations. Most intriguing is the evidence of extinction events which have occured repeatedly and independently on various worlds. We follow pilot Priscilla “Hutch” Hutchins and various archeologists and linguists as they try to solve the puzzle.

The plot is certainly engaging, and well laid out. The characters are well described, although some felt two dimensional. McDevitt takes a good stab at sense o...more
McDevitt has created a terrific little niche of space archaeology that's all his own with the Alex Benedict books and the Priscilla Hutchins series. This is the first volume of the Priscilla Hutchins series, and I enjoyed it very much despite having previously read later volumes. This one feels more two books than one, in that there's an adventure and conclusion just about exactly half-way through, and then they're off to a second planet. The stories are told with the flavor of adventurous myste...more
Chris Chivers
I generally do not care for 'Mystery' novels, being more of a general Sci-Fi Action or Fantasy Action fan. I have really enjoyed the Alex Benedict novels, so have been giving Jack McDevitt's other works a try. In Engines of God the author sets up this universe, and primary character, that I grew to enjoy, despite the cliche'd nature of her. (Small so scrappy, wants to do life her way, not the way anyone thinks she should, etc).

In this novel 'Hutch' visits a planet with some archaeologists to try...more
You can get a synopsis of the plot on the Amazon pages. So I am going to give my impression of the overall series.

This is the first book in a series by McDevitt. It introduces the character of Priscilla Hutchins, a star ship pilot circa 2220. As another reviewer said, the books have something of a mystery novel feel to it. Much more noticeable is the documentary/diary feel to this series. Overall though, it is good "hard sci-fi". A couple of things that stand out in the series to me:
1) His main...more
The story is well told and gripping, but it is very hard to get past the blatant and absurd scientific holes, several of which are pivotal in the most important places. No matter how sharp the corners or high tech the engineering, no line can be drawn between two points on a moon and expect it to point to any single place. Moons rotate, and revolve, usually with a wobble around a planet that revolves, usually with a wobble, around a star. A fixed line on the surface cannot point to the same plac...more
Brittany Fleer
Okay, let's be honest. There wasn't as much characterization as there could have been, even for the main character, and at a few points (namely nearer the climax of the book) the danger and tension felt a tiny bit forced. Neither of those factors, however, are anywhere near enough to persuade me to rate this book less than 5 stars.

Why not? Because, frankly, this book is just awesome. Archeology? Mysterious aliens? New worlds to explore? What isn't there to like?? The conflict and plot were endle...more
Interesting enough, but too many info dumps, I think they were newspaper headlines, the made me zone out and miss some narration
William Drynan
Like a lot of mass market science fiction this book is a lot bigger on the ideas than the quality of the writing itself and the development of the characters. Which is fine. Hutch is likable enough, and each character is sufficiently distinguished from the others so that it doesn't feel like they're all just slightly difference iterations of each other who talk and act the exact same way. I wouldn't say any of them is overly complex, but they aren't totally shallow either.

The story itself had m...more
James Morton
This is pure space opera. Its not as hard-sf as Alistair Reynolds GAP series, but it clearly was dealing with big ideas. Like Reynold's book it deals with some ancient species that has developed technology that can destroy emerging civilisations. Some other species figures this out and sets out a series of lures to draw them away. Its main weakness were the characters. The main protagonist is a pilot who doesn't really understand anything that's going on. This leads to the other characters to ac...more
this was my first "hard" sci fi book I've read. I didn't know what to expect, and I must admit there were some parts which I just skimmed through (usually the parts with too much technical detail). overall, a good book with decent character development. the plot builds, and builds, and builds, but the ending failed to deliver concrete answers (which is probably the point of the book).
Jessica Meyers
This book was difficult to get through and even more difficult to rate. Jack McDevitt is an amazing writer. His words can bring you to laughter or to tears. In which case he did in this very book. I find his ideas and philosophies of the universe phenomenally- beautiful and thought provoking. Each and every time there was a climax in the story he met my expectations of something fantastic and exciting, and in most cases, exceeded my exceptions.

This book had a lot of character building aspects t...more
Who the hell doesn't love an archaeological fiction about aliens?! Seriously. Archaeology, space, a mystery that asks, "What happened to the aliens that were here?"

The Engines of God is a strange book that combines archaeology, space, and a modern apocalyptic Earth. Earth is in shambles with the same ol' tragedy that we over extended and over used our resources, thus destroying the earth. Naturally the only recourse was to find a different planet to move to. While the discoveries were r...more
Not sure the Goodreads star ratings match up well for this story. It was a solidly-written 3 star book, but really only rates as an "It's okay" more so than "I liked it".

I knew going into this novel that it was part of a much greater series, however, I still felt very disappointed by the fact the book raises a lot of questions but doesn't deliver any answers. I would be more drawn into the series if there had been real revelations that created an even broader mystery and greater promise and ques...more
Audiobook. This is a weird one. Its hard scifi, but its archaeology scifi. The author is clearly trained as an archaeologist, and FTL is used to visit sites around the near 60 light year globe of systems close to earth, places where our radio signals have reached. There's various political drama and pressures, terraforming, discovery of artifacts and finding patterns in civilizational collapses. I liked the archaeology, but I found some aspects of handwaving convenient technology to completely d...more
Mar 04, 2010 Tamahome rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of female characters/conflicts with nature
I want to give it 3.5 stars. A little slow in the beginning, but then it ramps up. Some engaging characters, and Jack McDevitt knows to build suspense. He likes to vary the text with diaries, newspapers, etc. I just wish things that they were in conflict with were more 'sfnal'.
Jack McDevitt is one of my current favorites. He loves to build an great adventure story with fantasic female heroes! Don't fall in love with any character though.... as that's the one you will lose.

I HIGHLY recommend if you are a sci fi fan!
Allthough it was an interesting read and I like Hutch very much - It is always a joy to read about a woman as the main character - this book could not hold my attention. It is a shame because I find far to less SF books I really enjoy.
If half stars were available, this would be a 3.5. Having finished off the Alex Benedict/Chase Kolpath series, which I loved to bits, I turned to McDevitt's other series of sci-fi archaeological mysteries. Unfortunately, I felt a little let down, since The Engines of God was missing a lot of whatever spark the Alex Benedict books have. At times I felt like I was reading something by James Rollins (whose books I enjoy, but they're quite fluffy with more emphasis on escaping precarious situations...more
Karen Azinger
Another good read from Jack McDeVitt. I love his mix of alien archaeology and deep space adventure. Mysterious and thrilling and interesting.
I have heard many people theorize about what future, alien archeologists would think about us. this is the first story I have read about us being archeologists on other, alien worlds. Add that to the fact that I love well told elements of political conniving sand this was a wholly entertaining and frequently fascinating book.

I only had one problem. While trying not to spoil anything… The "explanation" was a little random. Don't get me wrong it was set up throughout the book but it's so far out...more
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Jack McDevitt series discussion group? 5 35 Sep 05, 2014 11:54AM  
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  • Coyote (Coyote Trilogy, #1)
  • Survival (Species Imperative, #1)
  • Raft (Xelee Sequence, #1)
  • The Neutronium Alchemist 1: Consolidation (Night's Dawn 2)
  • In the Ocean of Night (Galactic Center, #1)
  • Pushing Ice
  • Dragon's Egg
  • Summertide (Heritage Universe, #1)
  • Emissaries from the Dead (Andrea Cort #1)
  • Stealing Light (The Shoal Sequence, #1)
  • City of Pearl (Wess'har Wars, #1)
  • Lady of Mazes
  • The Eternity Artifact
  • Night Train to Rigel (Quadrail, #1)
Jack McDevitt is a former English teacher, naval officer, Philadelphia taxi driver, customs officer and motivational trainer. His work has been on the final ballot for the Nebula Awards for 12 of the past 13 years. His first novel, The Hercules Text, was published in the celebrated Ace Specials series and won the Philip K. Dick Special Award. In 1991, McDevitt won the first $10,000 UPC Internation...more
More about Jack McDevitt...
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