Omega (The Academy, #4)
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Omega (The Academy #4)

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  2,138 ratings  ·  86 reviews
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.
Paperback, 512 pages
Published October 26th 2004 by Ace (first published November 4th 2003)
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Dirk Grobbelaar
I enjoy McDevitt's books. This one was no exception. However, if you are the impatient sort you should perhaps take note that this novel has a bit of a long build-up before, well, you know. Omega is a good book, and the preceding Academy novels are awesome. It doesn't have quite the same spark as, for example, Chindi. It's a more serious book, and perhaps not quite what I was expecting from a Priscilla Hutchins novel. I was tremendously eager to learn more about the origins of the Omega clouds,...more
Matt
Aug 11, 2008 Matt rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Sci-fi fans who agree with McDevitt's politics who've read everything else by better authors.
Shelves: science-fiction
I read this book a few months back.

One of the problems with alot of science fiction is that it can revel to0 much in didacticism. Some authors that I like are particularly prone to this. For example, half of the dialogue in a Heinlein novel is a thinly disguised lecture. Sometimes, the disguise isn't even that thin, as for example his tendency to set characters in classrooms and let the lecturer lecture. Neil Stephenson is prone to do this in entirely different ways, launching into chapter lengt...more
Brent Soderstrum
The fourth of six Priscilla Hutchins novels. Hutch has retired from being an active pilot for the Academy and is now second in command. She is married to Tor from the book Chindi and has a little girl.

The Omega Clouds (from the first book Engine of the Gods) is 900 years from destroying the earth so interest in finding a way to stop them is low. Until it is dicovered that there are Omega Clouds heading to destroying a world that contains the recently discoverd Goompahs. The Goompahs are unaware...more
Craig
Anthropology takes over from archaeology as the main focus in this fourth Academy novel. Priscilla Hutchins is stuck on Earth as an administrator this time, which I thought was a little disappointing. She was one of the best fast-thinking action heroes in years and shouldn't be stuck behind a desk. The story concerns a civilization that's being threatened by one of the Omega-clouds that have figured in all of the previous volumes. McDevitt does an excellent job of creating a fascinating alien cu...more
Harvey
Good book, really enjoyed it. Only quibble would be that the the omega clouds would seem to have been improbably astonishingly poorly designed but perhaps that is addressed in the later books in the series.

Bit unfortunate that it was up for the 2005 Nebula in competition with Lois McMaster Bujold's Paladin of Souls, which is probably one of the best fantasy novels ever written.
Lisa
I enjoyed the book but the Omega clouds seem less threatening the more McDevitt goes into them. Ooooh, big storms....but only for 24hours.



I did enjoy the discussion of the non-interference with other cultures/alien species ideas that I think of as the Prime Directive from Star Trek. You can't interfere even to save them because it would hurt their "evolutionary" development. Examples like the american indians and colonization by western europe are prime example of the "damage" done. It seems it...more
Siobhan Parker
Mar 21, 2012 Siobhan Parker rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Jack McDevitt fans
Jack McDevitt is among my favorite authors, but Omega is definitely not his best work. The story itself is good, and Mr. McDevitt paints an excellent portrait of what a peaceful alien society, a la the planet Ba'ku in Star Trek: Insurrection, might look like. As usual for Mr. McDevitt's writings, belief in God is still shown as being present two centuries from now, which is much better than Arthur C. Clarke's prediction of "the abolition of religion" in the future. However, some significant prob...more
Dev Null
Ok, so I quite enjoyed this book, but...

I've read quite a few of McDevitt's books lately, and for the most part I have liked them, but he does something so consistently that its starting to bug me. Namely, he makes huge sweeping assumptions about supposedly alien cultures based on little or no evidence (that he tells us about, anyways.) Omega has this great scene where a human is sneaking around on an alien planet, having just seen this particular species for the very first time, and he says som...more
Dawson
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 has a different set of main characters. It does a good job of creating a realistic world and situation for its protagonists.

If you've read one of my review of the series you've already read below.

Part of a 6 book (so far) series. 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. O...more
Nathan Burgoine
Okay, first off - this was, hands down, the best McDevitt I've read to date. If you've not read McDevitt, and are at all a fan of Science Fiction, you need to go out there and find yourself a copy of 'The Engines of God,' 'Infinity Beach,' 'Deepsix,' and 'Chindi.' Now. If you're not a huge fan of Science Fiction, let me tell you, though there's some astrophysics in there, McDevitt writes a lot more sociologically, adventure-action, and philosophically than nearly any other contemporary science f...more
Space
Well this wasn't my favorite of the series so far. Even though we finally get to meet and mingle with an alien race - for the first time in human history - it was spoiled for me by how dumb and dumpy the aliens were portrayed. Large, saucer-eyed bumbling idiots who are little more than self-aware. An advanced enough society to construct buildings and theaters, but who have no interest in advancing. No interest in adventuring out to explore the rest of the planet. It just felt like a child's stor...more
Guillaume Jay
En 2034, il reste 900 ans avant qu'un Omega (un nuage cosmique destructeur de civilisations à l'origine inconnue) n'atteigne la Terre. Du coup, au grand dam de quelques uns, plus personne ne s'en soucie, l'humanité ayant toujours la même vision à court terme. Sauf qu'une expédition lointaine découvre une planète habitée par une faible population d’extra-terrestre. Et qu'un Omega s'en approche, menaçant de détruire cette civilisation (grosso modo au stade gréco-romain). Quand l'opinion publique a...more
David Wells
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David
The archaeological mysteries which were prevalent in the first three books are gone, replaced by a xeno-sociology/rescue mission. A new, thriving medieval civilization has been discovered on the world of Lookout. There's just one catch: an Omega cloud, those mysterious galactic phenomena that attack and destroy anything with straight lines--buildings for instance--is headed right for it.

The inhabitants have been dubbed "Goompahs" after a cartoon character whom they resemble. Images of the creatu...more
Aivars
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Benjamin705
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Morgan
Oct 08, 2007 Morgan rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: People who like well formed scifi stories
General Outline:
Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchens is just trying to enjoy her new directors job at the academy when one of those pesky omega clouds (if its not natural the cloud descends on it and destroys whatever intelligent life it finds, space ships, planets,etc) turns up. Unfortunatley since they were first discovered, by her on her first mission, there hasn't been much progress on doing anything about them. After all what's the big deal, it's 1000 years away from earth, its sombody elses problem....more
Darth
This was pretty good. It advances the larger story arc of the series, and has the primitive culture that needs saving aspect. Something seemed a little off to me, but I guess I wasnt into it enough to put my finger on it.

It could have been the Omega cloud business. I havent been taking notes on the characteristics of them as I read previous books in this series, what they will and will not do and so on, but I would have swore that in previous books in this series they never responded to things...more
Paul
Set a couple of centuries from now, after mankind has begun to explore the galaxy, this novel is about deadly clouds of energy called omegas. Their purpose seems to be to wipe out any civilization they encounter. A cloud is heading for Earth, but it won’t arrive for another 900 years. While research continues into what makes omegas tick, it’s a problem for future humans. It becomes an immediate crisis when a survey ship reports that the cloud has turned, and is heading for a previously unexplore...more
Jacob
This was a pretty good science fiction book, involving everything from space travel to aliens and their cultures, to giant space clouds that destroy intelligent civilizations. The author's writing isn't particularly smooth or easy for me to read, but it's decent enough and he keeps the story moving along. The developments are interesting and the story, for me, is ultimately satisfying. A large part of this is due to the characters being likable, and the mistakes they make believable.

A friend who...more
Glenda
I really liked the story of this book, but the writing really didn't do it for me. This book would have been better if a good editor took a look at it. Too many characters were introduced at the beginning, making it hard to keep track of people, too many times we switched from a named character in one paragraph, to a pronoun-character in the next, to then find out that the pronoun-character was not the one named before. Also, I felt like there was too much set up in comparison to letting the sto...more
Clayton Yuen
"Omega" was another excellent example of an epic adventure that has twists after turns and more. Jack McDevitt creates a beautifully woven story of mankind assisting an alien races from total destruction by a "cloud" that engulfs whole worlds and destroys them, but only if they have developed a civilization advanced enough for pre-space travel.

Why are these Omega clouds obliterating homes and buildings, entire towns and cities? Well, leave it up to Hutch to figure all out .... but is it in time...more
Roger Ladd
Although nominally a "Hutch Hutchins" novel, this one focuses primarily on assorted other characters who find an intelligent civilization in the path of a deadly "Omega" cloud, which will destroy any civilization in its path. McDevitt does a solid alien design here with a twist, in that the aliens look like characters from a children's show on Earth, while to the aliens humans look like the demons of their folklore, and no alien can face a human who is undisguised. This makes helping them out ch...more
Dean Deters
What do you do when you discover killer "clouds" are out there, and they're killing anything civilized in their way? And what if you find a new civilization in the path of one of these clouds? Do you follow the "prime directive?"

This book follows the efforts to save this new civilization. I like how the author described in depth what would be involved in learning about a new culture and language. The characters really try to understand the aliens, so they can better communicate.

There is also th...more
Shannon Lewis
Good read. I was hoping to find out more about the Omegas. Its sort of draging on now. I like the characters adn the story is ok. Very reminisent of A.C. Clark but not really in a good way. I found it slow ...but more then that ... it was overly impresed with its quite predestiran science and slwo pacing. For hard sci-fi it breaks all the rules - it has FTL travel, it has FTL comms and it has funky forcefields and antigravity but apparently megascale enginering is "ooohhh ahhh" and all that. I w...more
Michael
Overall good book. A little boring in places. I think it is because McDevitt shows a realistic world where space travel is just a job. There are heroics but they take place hand in hand with foul-ups and bad decisions. Nobody is "Spaceman Spiff - star explorer" they are just people. It is very much like real life and real life can be a boring slog to get through sometimes.

For anyone following this series, there is more information about the omega clouds that are causing so much trouble and wipi...more
Phil
The first 70 pages or so are quite slow as we get the characters re-introduced to us. Apparently, many of them appear in another novel, too. Once we get some of that stuff out of the way, the book takes on a more pleasing "space explorers saving new life forms" kind of thing. There's even a Prime Directive and funny hippos to save without showing ourselves. A decent read but not worthy.



I'm interested to see if the science fiction book club at Powell's will find this unique enough to discuss.
Jenny Clark
This was a very unique book. I loved the descriptions of the planet and its inhabitants. All of the characters had a distinct voice. While reading this, I felt as if I was in the ship, watching the cloud of destruction come ever closer and knowing that any choice would break the many laws of interacting with alien peoples. The one unanswered question that haunts me is why do thier devils look like humans???? As this is the only book in the series I have read, I dont know if that is answered late...more
Cristen
One of the main complaints about McDevitt is that he drags a story out. Generally, this doesn't bother me, as long as the content is good/interesting. But, this book took a REALLY long time to get to the point, making the end rather anticlimactic.

Still, it was a good read. I always enjoy his clever play on religion and morality. The scientific jargon seems legit. What would I know, though? Lol. Space is infinitely fascinating and I always enjoy reading what McDevitt paints in that open space.
Jason Reeser
This is a lesser book in the series. Not very interesting plot, and it get silly at times. Had no idea who most of the characters were until about the last fifty pages. I would suggest that McDevitt, a great writer, phoned this one in. Sorry, if that sounds condescending, but that is just my take on it. It was lacking enough that I am considering not reading the other two books in the series. And I was looking forward to them during the last book.
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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
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