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Infinity Beach

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  2,096 ratings  ·  93 reviews
We are alone, because centuries of SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) missions found nothing. Until Dr Kimberly Brandywine seeks her clone-sister and the last lost expedition from the Nine Worlds settled from Earth. The ship's log was faked. She loses her career and her lover, steals a starship, and learns too much truth.
Paperback, 528 pages
Published February 6th 2001 by Harper Voyager (first published 2000)
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,096 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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Kerry Nietz
Dec 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Though I “discovered” Jack McDevitt after he was already a well-established sci-fi writer, I’ve read a good share of his books now—most notably the series featuring Priscilla Hutchins (Engines of God, Deepsix, Chindi, etc.). McDevitt does a great job, I think, at illustrating the grandeur, adventure and danger of space travel. I like his writing enough that occasionally I’ll mine his older works. I’m sure eventually I’ll have read them all.

Infinity Beach is one of his earliest novels, and as suc
Jan 09, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is so good I read it TWICE!

Okay, so I actually read it a second time after I forgot I read it the first time. Let's be honest with ourselves: Jack McDevitt books mostly have the same plot (humanity thinks it's alone in the universe / finds a tiny clue that it's not / ALIEN ARTIFACT!!). So perhaps I can be forgiven this lapse.

At any rate, the main storyline of the book is so generically interchangeable with a thousand other sci-fi books that it wasn't until I started reading the big cl
Marshall Pickens
Jan 10, 2011 rated it liked it
How would we actually react to first contact? Are there other civilizations out there among the stars? Does it even matter? Jack McDevitt is a master of setting good stories in a future world. His stories could be set at any time and still be just as good, he just chooses to set it in the future. This story is a mystery. A classic who-dun-it. But at the same time it raises the question about status quo vs. exploration. It is the age old question of the devil we know vs. the devil we don't. Human ...more
Peter Tillman
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Polished SF mystery-thriller first-contact story

Infinity Beach stands out for its polished, adult prose, and for its complex, conflicted characters, muddling through life. McDevitt's writing is clean and mature. The plot is twisty, genre-bending, romantic, recomplicated. Experienced readers will have seen all of his plot-elements before, but McDevitt plants enough red herrings to keep you guessing (me, anyway). This is a world-class novelist writing at the height of his powers. A Nebula award n
Mary JL
Jun 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: any science fiction fan
Recommended to Mary JL by: know author for previous books
Shelves: main-sf-fantasy
This is on of Jack McDevitt's early SF works. The premise is interesting and he portrays a docile, almost decadent society. The assumption is that discovering we are alone in the universe has affected humanity's development.

Perhaps the author deliberately paced the first third of the book a bit more slowly to emphasis the languid, we-don't care attitude of most persons in the Nine Worlds.

But although this book did not grab me at first, as you keep reading it get much better. The main character-
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is an earlier Jack McDevitt novel which I'd somehow missed. I enjoyed it, and thought that it read like something of a dry-run for the Kolpath/Benedict or Priscilla Hutchins books. It begins, as do many of his works, with a mystery and the investigation leads off in many directions. I found it amusing that there was a spoiler in, of all places, the "Acknowledgements" page at the front of the book; I've complained of having spoilers on the fly-leaf or the cover or in blurbs, but this may be ...more
Peter Greenwell
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
For reasons known only to publishers, this was called Slow Lightning here in Australia. OK, that aside, what we have here is an engaging work of science fiction. In fact, if you removed the spaceships/SF component of it, and turned Alnitak into a distant tropical island on Earth, it'd work just as well...and just as effectively, if not more so. Maybe, just maybe, it would've been a stronger effort for it. Sometimes I feel having things take place in a future setting actually interferes with a go ...more
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'd never read anything by this author before, but now want to read more. Slightly slow to start, but then becomes strangely gripping. Some interesting ideas about first contact, and a mystery thrown in. I got some of the plot ideas in advance of the main characters, who should have got them sooner. We all have preconceived ideas about first contact, and this book gives a good new one.
David Hibberd
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have discovered something about myself. In my later years in life it appears that books I enjoyed reading years ago still appeal to me. It also appears that although I have some vague recollections of maybe having read a book a long time back, I don't remember much about them.
So it is with Infinity Beach, my third print book in a row that I read for a second time. Now, as back then, I enjoyed the story. This involves first, second, and subsequent encounters with intelligent life in the galaxy
Parijat Mishra
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: related-books
Thoroughly enjoyable

No swashbuckling heroes here. Just well meaning people, some who are curious, some who are conservative, and all fallible. Despite blunders, good intentions work out due to the courage of a few, and humanity meets another intelligent race for the first time. Alls well that ends well.
Carlos Manuel Perez
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
More detective novel than 1st contact sci-fi. Boring.
Krishna Shah
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The storyline is well done and the characters well thought out. The mystery was good, it was slow to build but I really enjoyed reading this one.
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting story, but not all that great either
Roddy Williams
‘We are alone. That is the verdict, after centuries of Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence missions and space exploration. The only living things in the Universe are found on the Nine Worlds settled from Earth, and the starships that knit them together. Or so it’s believed, until Dr. Kimberley Brandywine sets out to find what happened to her clone-sister Emily, who, after the final unsuccessful manned SETI expedition, disappeared along with the rest of her ship’s crew.

Following a few omino
Bruno Di Giandomenico
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Jack McDevitt seems to be always good.
His stories tend to have a few keypoints, basically that there are quite few civilizations in the universe, very difficult to discover and that his main characters are usually women.
In this book we have a universe where mankind has gotten tired of looking for other civilizations and the effect is that of closing in and being happy with the situation as it is. Our civilization is stagnant, people work only if they wish too, but it is becoming an hedonist soci
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Imagine an interstellar exploration mission looking to make "First Contact" - only to have said 'contact' goes so disastrously, horribly, catastrophically *wrong* that the four crew members return from the mission and conspire to conceal all evidence of it. In addition two members of the crew mysteriously disappear shortly after their return, and a fourth is missing and presumed dead after a bizarre and unexplained explosion, which ultimately forces the abandonment of a small valley community wh ...more
Melissa McShane
Jul 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, science-fiction
The first time I read this (in 2000) I didn't much like it. It was an interesting space adventure, but I didn't like that the "aliens" were fake--it seemed like cheating to have them be some kind of human artifact. I've carried that memory with me all these years and I only decided to re-read it because I needed something I could lay down and pick up again at will.

And, of course, those of you who have read the book know that this is absolutely not how the plot goes. The aliens are real, they are
Alex Shrugged
Update: I've bumped up "Infinity Beach" by 1 star after re-reading it. I have also rewritten my review to reflect this second reading.

"Infinity Beach" by Jack McDevitt is a ghost story and a SciFi story. It gets a little freaky and the hairs on the back of my head stood on end. I liked it. The human race has reached the apex of it's achievements. There is nothing left to learn. Kim, is a woman astrophysicist who has become a PR spokeswoman and fundraiser for a scientific organization because she
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: tbb-2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books
I really enjoyed this book. I had great fun with it. I mentioned in my status update that it seemed like Mr McDevitt drew from a formulaic plot, replacing only the names of ships and people. It did indeed seem that way. There were a lot of similarities between this book and the Academy series. However, as a stand-alone novel, this was very good. The plot was different enough that it stands well on its own. In the end, he really only borrowed the ship's propulsion system and some other technical ...more
Sep 14, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Felice Picano
Aug 26, 2015 rated it liked it
I don't at all get the title: it seems generic and not particularly relevant. But the book is a good read: I spent a few days with it and had fun. There are longer than necessary spots of rather ho hum action not moving the plot forward, especially on the planet Equatoria, one of the Nine Worlds that the author posits ad being inhabited by humans. The plot: for centuries no real attempt to find OTHERS in the Galaxy have been attempted when one far thinker and his crew of friends/lover goes out, ...more
Jul 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I have such mixed feelings about this book. I thought it was a great concept, and I liked that the author managed to skew the typical Hollywood happily ever after. But...the story was difficult to read. Execution was inconsistent, there was a lot of telling instead of showing, some random tense changes that made for confusing reading, and it was very Russian in its denseness (which actually ended up being a plus in the end but made for a slogging read in some sections). I usually read fairly qui ...more
Mark Austin
May 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
★ - Most books with this rating I never finish and so don't make this list. This one I probably started speed-reading to get it over with.
★★ - Average. Wasn't terrible, but not a lot to recommend it. Probably skimmed parts of it.
★★★ - Decent. A few good ideas, well-written passages, interesting characters, or the like.
★★★★ - Good. This one had parts that inspired me, impressed me, made me laugh out loud, made me think - it got positive reactions and most of the rest of it was pretty decent too.
Jun 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jack McDevitt fans
Shelves: fantasyscifi
I took a break from McDevitt's Hutch series to read this one. It was an interesting idea...that the future world is inhabited by clones of the best people. Your clones are your family, essentially.

This books kept me guessing. Usually, I can figure out the general plotline within the first several chapters but this one threw in some plot twists that made me throw the book across the room (ultimately, a sign of approval, when writing can inspire that much emotion). Had to roll my eyes at a few pre
Joe AuBuchon
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Another good read by Jack McDevitt. It's a first contact novel and a good one. Suppose the Chinese and the Spanish had met at Panama and someone died. A botched first contact.
The story here is similar. Humanity has, for the most part, given up on exploration having contacted no one in the centuries since the discovery of FTL travel. A private vessel makes contact with another lifeform and messes it up. People die on both sides. The humans hush it up.
Years later the sister of one of the dead le
Trevor Parker
Mar 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sci-fi fans.
Recommended to Trevor by: One of my siblings.
Hey, first contact is an intriguing thing. I love reading about it. Jack creates a very immersing world that, as the Orlando Sentinel says on the back cover, is "hard-to-put down."

My one qualm: I found my self screaming at the characters throughout the story for not being very strategic or forward-minded. When I think the characters are idiots, this often results in my not liking the book. But not in this case. Jack had created strong enough characters that while I screamed at them for not being
Kelsey Leduc
Aug 05, 2015 rated it liked it
This book lived on the shelf unread for YEARS. I got it part of a grab bag sort of deal when I was with the Science Fiction Book Club. I wish I read it sooner. It was mysterious and suspenseful. I was interested in the characters and cared what happened to them. I really wasn't sure where the story was going for sure. McDivitt did a good job of making the distant future like the present and yet not the present without pages upon pages describing technology. The reader is treated as though she's ...more
Clayton Yuen
Aug 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi
I was surprised in the beginning of this long scifi novel when I realized that it had a little bit of scifi and a whole lot of mystery . . . and a bunch of suspense!

Usually scifi books are filled with technical jargon, or unpronounceable names and places (with a lot of consonants), and far reaching story lines. Infinity Beach was a genuine murder mystery set in the future. It just happen to have space travel and a few alien sorts, but the book was definitely a mystery first . . . and so well don
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Like other novels I've read by McDevitt, this one has a mystery at the heart of it. In this case, the mystery is what happened to Kim's sister, who apparently vanished hours after returning from an interstellar trip. The story started a little slowly, but the mystery of Kim's sister's disappearance, as well as the disappearance of another woman from the same trip, and an explosion that devastated a small town kept things interesting. About halfway through the story, things really picked up, and ...more
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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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“We could never know who we truly were until we heard the whispers of the stars.” 13 likes
“We live along the shores of night,
At the edge of the eternal sea.”
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