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The Long Sunset

(The Academy #8)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  949 ratings  ·  149 reviews
From Nebula Award winner Jack McDevitt comes the eighth installment in the popular The Academy series—Priscilla “Hutch” Hutchins discovers an interstellar message from a highly advanced race that could be her last chance for a mission before the program is shut down for good.

Hutch has been the Academy’s best pilot for decades. She’s had numerous first contact encounters an
Published April 2018 by Saga
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Rudi Dewilde It's one of the worst things I've ever read. You need tons of suspension of disbelieve. All aliens behave like humans. I won't put examples of illogic…moreIt's one of the worst things I've ever read. You need tons of suspension of disbelieve. All aliens behave like humans. I won't put examples of illogical story plots here, as it would spoil the experience, but wow... I just want to finish it because I wonder if it can even get worse...

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May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm hard on Jack McDevitt as I am on all the authors I truly love. I want everything he writes to be amazing. What I think this book made me realize is that amazing can mean different things. McDevitt amazing has always been about amazing reveals and interstellar science that feels like something we could achieve and white knuckle adventures. But all his stories also carry this wonderful sense of positivity. He imbues his writing with the very firm belief that the innate goodness in people will ...more
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
While I can never say that these books by McDevitt are super original, he does have a talent at writing them very well. And I don't mean that they're just some super-action fluff, either, because he just doesn't write those kinds of novels.

Instead, we have a thoughtful pacing, in-depth consideration of circumstances, a deep love of curiosity and archeology, and a need to bring up issues that are just as important to us as they are for the characters in this future time.

Interstellar travel is her
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've enjoyed McDevitt's Priscilla Hutchins novels more than any other sf series I can think of over these last few years with the exception of his Chase & Alex novels. This latest in the series was no exception, though I really didn't like where I thought he going with it. His future is much like our own, perhaps even more like what we wanted to believe the future would be like a half-century or so ago. Old folks like me will remember the hopeful and grandiose tone of the original Star Trek seri ...more
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
4 to 4.5 stars. A very entertaining, and ultimately uplifting addition to the 'Academy', or 'Hutch' series. I've read all of the previous books, so I'm very familiar with Priscilla 'Hutch' Hutchins' history. The writing of the books has been spread out over a number of years, and this particular entry in the series is a classic 'Hutch' adventure.

By this stage in her life, Hutch is a highly experienced and highly regarded starship pilot. Her two kids are grown up, but her beloved husband Tor has
Dec 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Academy has been shuttered and Priscilla Hutchins (Hutch) is adjusting to life on Earth. Humanity has become fearful of continued space exploration—there's a growing paranoia that someday such expeditions will bring back something too dangerous. The President herself is campaigning for reelection on a platform of ending the space program.

When an astronomer discovers a signal from deep space which clearly indicates the presence of an intelligent, technologically sophisticated alien civilizati
Claudia Putnam
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I'd sworn off JM, and that was probably the right idea. Hutch is still stiff and asexual, as are McDevitt's women in general. Made out of cardboard. The dialogue between her and her kids is ridiculous. "Wonderful, son!" And her daughter, a high school teacher, addresses her students as "Boys and girls." In 2250, the highschoolers still have home rooms and sit in rows at desks...

Technologically, other than having FTL drives, we seem to be living in more or less the same world as now. People use
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
If the book is not free from McDevitt's usual flaws (bland characters, trivial details, slowness, lack of credibility on some aspects) The Long Sunset is a very good book.
We owe it to a fascinating story from beginning to end, and to a very good ending. While McDevitt uses his count-based plots as always, as usual the space program of humanity is questioned at the beginning of the book, but the space adventure of Hutch and her companions is fantastic, the suspense is well managed, the end is thr
I kind of expected something tired. Instead this was a fast good read but with echoes of the political climate of today. The setup on the book was really strong, I almost didn't want the journey to start. The ending felt a bit abrupt, effective but too short. For awhile there I didn't think we'd get an ending to this one but it did have a solid one. This book does lean into a series trope, of going too far with not enough resources. But it ties the series together in a nice way without super sta ...more
Nick Borrelli
Apr 04, 2018 rated it liked it
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Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was very excited to receive an ARC of the latest book in The Academy series by Jack McDevitt called THE LONG SUNSET.

The main character in the series is Patricia “Hutch” Hutchins. She is a spaceship pilot who has been through various adventures as the latest ship technology has advanced as the series progresses.

THE LONG SUNSET is set in 2256 (an election year!) and civilization’s attention and interest in space exploration is waning. The United States is now part of the North American Union (NA
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jack McDevitt has been among my favorite authors for years, and books like this are why. An adventure that spans galaxies, with characters who are all too human and a future where some things, despite advancements in technology, are still exactly the same.
Clay Brown
May 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
I've been reading Jack McDevitt for sometime but I must admit I gave up on him these last few years. I missed his last Priscilla Hutch book but I decided to give him another try. McDevitt's earlier work was of more substance as to what Priscilla was doing and how it was being explained. In The Long Sunset there is a clear meaning in the book as to the state of Earth and the cosmos, it seems that everyone on the planet is terrified of space and what other planets and aliens might mean to our orde ...more
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
"There's nothing as boring as friendly aliens."

This is a quote from the book and, strangely enough, also sums up my reaction to it. I've read a lot of McDevitt's books and really enjoyed a lot of them. I recommend Polaris and Deepsix, particularly. This book, however, I found very frustrating. The whole arc of the book was the mission to find and meet the aliens whose presence was detected from Earth. On the way, they actually find multiple intelligent aliens, but are remarkably incurious about
Generally, I prefer stand-alone SF novels to series. One exception has been Jack McDevitt’s Academy series, at least through the first four novels or so, which are great. After that, I became habituated and so continue to read. In this latest installment, pilot Priscilla “Hutch” Hutchins is hired to take an assortment of characters out in a small starship to find the source of an enigmatic video signal received from a solar system over 7,000 light-years away. You should understand that in McDevi ...more
Tim Hicks
May 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Gosh, this could have been written in 1964. Maybe it was. Or it's a tribute. Or a primer for beginning SF readers. Or all of those.

We start with a well-worn old plot: an interstellar ship is ready to go, the government doesn't want it to go, and our heroes do a strictly-by-formula let's-go-anyway exit. We have an FTFTL ship so we can go lots of places (others would say a ship that is coated in narrativium).

Some actual plot-advancing stuff happens as they find things. Time for a search, hop, ho
Donald McEntee
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Well, there was a big problem, and an eventual solution.
I'd have to say that the overall scope of things was not as wide as previous Academy scenarios.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, sci-fi
I have been in love with this series and Priscilla Hutchins since the first book and it just keeps going. I have watched Hutch grow as a person, mother, and pilot and enjoyed every second of it. The best thing is that you know when something happens out in the vastness of space that Hutch is likely to get called in because of all the experience she has.

Dr. Derek Blanchard is conducting a class when a transmission of a waterfall with a musical score is beamed from the telescope they are monitori
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have to say that I have enjoyed the Academy novels, and I'd somehow managed to miss the last two being published, I have already finished and reviewed the previous book (the prequel – Starhawk) and this one brings me back up to date.
There is something quite old fashioned about these books – travelogue in space, with social issues and particularly opinions on spending money on space exploration discussed. Nothing wrong with that, although arguably a bit strange to feel nostalgic with a new book
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Far-future, hard (techy) SF that I usually use as an escape but found a quote the author included in this book to be timely:

"Freedom of conscience, of education, of speech, of assembly are among the very fundamentals of democracy and all of them would be nullified should freedom of the press ever be successfully challenged."
~Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a 1940 letter to W. N. Hardy

Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
I enjoyed reading the book, but it required a ton of suspension of disbelief. People just don't act like that. If there are aliens, I'm quite sure that they don't act like that either. If you identify 30-some planets within the "Goldilocks zone" (I like that concept) of their stars, and three or four turn out to have life not dissimilar to Earth life...well, it's fiction, but sooo unlikely. The book would make a good kids' cartoon show. Hutch travels around the galaxy, checks out various planets ...more
Jason Snell
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is exactly what I want out of a Jack McDevitt book. Aliens, strange star systems, dead civilizations, and characters who eat sandwiches.

Another reviewer here described this book as "Robert Heinlein writing The Three Body Problem" and that's exactly it. I find it funny that people criticize McDevitt for not depicting a human society that's completely different a few hundred years in the future, but at this point is he charmingly old-school or actively swimming against the tide? Maybe the hum
Kris Sellgren
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I really enjoyed this science fiction novel. I loved Hutch, our interstellar pilot heroine. Here she and a group of explorers go in search of the origin of a snippet of video from another civilization, an image of a waterfall with beautiful music, despite strong political pressure not to go. There are discoveries and perils, and encounters with various intelligent aliens. One reviewer found this a depressing novel, but it is only the human politics that I found depressing. I thought the overall ...more
May 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
This pains me, as I've been reading McDevitt for most of my adult life. He fills a very obscure niche in Science Fiction - indeed he's pretty much the only author to write what I'd call "Xeno-archaeological Adventures", where the alien ruins stand alone and as somber as our own, rather than serving as the usual world-ending plot mcguffin or somesuch, and he writes them well. Usually.

Now, Cauldron was short, and seemed like an attempt to wrap up loose ends in his fictions universe before age took
Phil On The Hill
I have read a few of McDevitt's Academy books, Engine of God being the book to note. Overall he creates a believable framework of characters and politics in The Long Sunset. This leads to an enjoyable read, but I cannot help thinking that the plot meanders a bit and the big surprises always remain something of an enigma. Are his aliens just a little too human? a 3.5 stars.
Justin Perdue
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Acciently jumped into the middle of this series, and even lacking character context it was great.
Alex Maclinovsky
May 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
I did read it to the end which means it was compelling enough to keep my aversion to abandoning things above the critical level of boredom. The closest analogy I can offer is to the unique genre of Socialist realism which is unique in that instead of exploring the eternal conflict between good and evil is focusing solely on the conflict between good and better. There are no bad guys and the most villainous forces (the politicians and bureaucrats) are just misguided in their efforts to do good an ...more
Garry Geer
Jan 26, 2019 rated it liked it
McDevitt reminds me of Clarke and Asimov somewhat. Take a plausible scientific conceit, and build a story around it. He doesn't travel too far into the weeds though. McDevitt is hard sci-fi for people who don't enjoy hard sci-fi. The book kept wanting to be formulaic but he worked pretty hard to keep it interesting. He was pretty skilled. The future he envisions is a bit too milquetoast and laid back in my thinking though. Seeing how we are rolling forward I don't buy some of the demi-utopian th ...more
Reynolds Darke
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Okay, I gave it a fifth star. Third time read in less than a year.

This book bounced back into my head, and I gave it a re-read after 4 months.
It is very well done and absolutely worth your time.

(from April)
A very good new book in the Priscilla Hutchins series - set in 2256. Good solid SF.
Rudi Dewilde
Jun 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
Trying to understand what I didn't get with this book, I researched it on Goodreads and found out that it was the eight novel in the Academy series. Let me start by saying that I'm so glad I didn't read any of the others.

Jack McDevitt is a very popular Scifi writer who won a lot of awards. So he must be a good writer, which was why I tried his latest work.

I don't know what happened, but what I got was the saddest pile of unbelievable s**t I have ever laid my eyes on.

Earth gets a message from ou
Bedrooped Bookworms
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A transmission comes through of a waterfall and beautiful music - and there's no way it's from Earth.  Hutch is back and is sent to pilot the mission to find out where the transmission came from, but politicians are terrified that if they go looking for this species, it will end with an attack on Earth.

I just want to say I think this book was adorable.  I'm afraid that gives way too much away, but this is exactly the human-encounters-alien-race book I needed.  I just want to read so much more ab
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SciFiBN: September 2020: "The Long Sunset" by Jack McDevitt 1 1 Oct 11, 2019 06:49PM  
Science Fiction A...: * Academy #8 - The Long Sunset 5 9 Jul 15, 2019 07:46AM  

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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

Other books in the series

The Academy (8 books)
  • The Engines of God (The Academy #1)
  • Deepsix (The Academy #2)
  • Chindi (The Academy, #3)
  • Omega (The Academy, #4)
  • Odyssey (The Academy, #5)
  • Cauldron (The Academy #6)
  • Starhawk (The Academy, #7)

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