Jack McDevitt

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Jack McDevitt
Jack-McDevitt1.JPG
Jack McDevitt at the 81. Festive Bookweek in Budapest, 2010
Born 1935 (age 78–79)
Occupation Novelist, Short story writer
Nationality American
Period 1981 - present
Genres Science fiction

www.jackmcdevitt.com

Jack McDevitt (born 1935) is an American science fiction author whose novels frequently deal with attempts to make contact with alien races, and with archaeology or xenoarchaeology. His two main series are the Alex Benedict series and the Priscilla Hutchins series.

McDevitt's first published story was "The Emerson Effect" in The Twilight Zone Magazine in 1981. Two years later, he published his first novel, The Hercules Text, about the discovery of an intelligently conceived signal whose repercussions threaten human civilization. This novel set the tone for many of McDevitt's following novels, which focused on making first contact. Frequently this theme is mixed with both trepidation before the unknown and a sense of wonder at the universe.

With The Engines of God (1994), McDevitt introduced the idea of a universe that was once teeming with intelligent life, but contains only their abandoned artifacts by the time humans arrive on the scene. Although it was initially written as a standalone novel,[citation needed] the main character of The Engines of God, pilot Priscilla Hutchins, has since appeared in six more books, Deepsix (2001), Chindi (2002), Omega (2003), Odyssey (2006), Cauldron (2007) and StarHawk (2013). The mystery surrounding the destructive "Omega Clouds" (which are introduced in The Engines of God) is left unexplored until Omega.[1]

McDevitt's novels frequently raise questions which he does not attempt to answer. He prefers to leave ambiguities to puzzle and intrigue his readers: "Some things are best left to the reader's very able imagination."[1] The SF Site's Steven H Silver has written about this:

McDevitt has a (probably unintentional) tendency to give the impression that his novels will go in one direction and then take them in a different direction. Or possibly his background is so well thought out, that throw away lines, or subplots, or minor characters, have enough information behind them to make the reader want to see their story as much as the main plot of the book. While slightly annoying, this is, I've decided, a strength of McDevitt's writing since it shows the depth of his created worlds.[2]

The novel Seeker won the 2006 Nebula Award for Best Novel, given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He has been nominated for the Nebula Award sixteen times; Seeker is his only win.[3][4]

Biography[edit]

McDevitt went to La Salle University, where a short story of his won the annual Freshman Short Story Contest and was published in the school's literary magazine, Four Quarters. As McDevitt explained in an interview, "I was on my way. Then I read David Copperfield and realized I could never write at that level, and therefore I should find something else to do. I joined the Navy, drove a cab, became an English teacher, took a customs inspector's job on the northern border, and didn't write another word for a quarter-century." McDevitt received a Master's degree in literature from Wesleyan University in 1971.[5] He returned to writing when his wife, Maureen, encouraged him to try his hand at it in 1980. As of 2007, McDevitt lives near Brunswick, Georgia. In 2005, he donated his archive to the department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University.

Bibliography[edit]

Novels, series[edit]

The short stories "Melville on Iapetus" (1983), "Promises to Keep" (1984), "Oculus" (2002), "The Big Downtown" (2005),[6] "Kaminsky at War" (2006), "Maiden Voyage" (2012), and "The Cat's Pajamas" (2012) are also set in the Academy universe.

Novels, stand-alone[edit]

Short stories[edit]

  • "The Emerson Effect" (1981)
  • "The Far Shore" (1982)
  • "Black to Move" (1982)
  • "Crossing Over" (1983)
  • "The Jersey Rifle" (1983)
  • "Cryptic" (1983)
  • "Melville on Iapetus" (1983) - set in the Academy universe
  • "Translations from the Colosian" (1984)
  • "Promises to Keep" (1984) - set in the Academy universe
  • "Tidal Effects" (1985)
  • "Voice in the Dark" (1986)
  • "Combinations" (1986)
  • "Dutchman" (1987) - later re-worked as the full-length novel A Talent for War
  • "In the Tower" (1987) - takes place in the same universe as the Alex Benedict novels
  • "To Hell with the Stars" (1987)
  • "Sunrise" (1988) - a modified version of Chapter 15 of the full-length novel A Talent for War
  • "Last Contact" (1988)
  • "The Fort Moxie Branch" (1988)
  • "Whistle" (1989)
  • "Leap of Faith" (1989)
  • "Time's Arrow" (1989) - originally published as "Hard Landings"
  • "Tracks" (1989)
  • "It's a Long Way to Alpha Centauri" (1990)
  • "Happy Birthday" (1990) - with Mark L. Van Name, a prose story in The Further Adventures of The Joker
  • "Tyger" (1991)
  • "Date with Destiny" (1991)
  • "Lake Agassiz" (1991)
  • "Gus" (1991)
  • "Valkyrie" (1991)
  • "The Tomb" (1991)
  • "Auld Lang Boom" (1992)
  • "Ships in the Night" (1993)
  • "Midnight Clear" (1993)
  • "Talk Radio" (1993)
  • "Standard Candles" (1994)
  • "Blinker" (1994)
  • "Windrider" (1994)
  • "Glory Days" (1994)
  • "Ellie" (1995)
  • "Cruising through Deuteronomy" (1995)
  • "Deus Tex" (1996)
  • "Time Travelers Never Die" (1996) - later re-worked as a full-length novel with the same name
  • "Holding Pattern" (1996)
  • "Never Despair" (1997)
  • "Variables" (1997)
  • "Report from the Rear" (1998)
  • "Good Intentions" (1998) (with Stanley Schmidt)
  • "Dead in the Water" (1999)
  • "Nothing Ever Happens in Rock City" (2001)
  • "Oculus" (2002) - set in the Academy universe
  • "The Law of Gravity Isn't Working on Rainbow Bridge" (2003)
  • "Act of God" (2004)
  • "Windows" (2004)
  • "The Mission" (2004)
  • "Henry James, This One's for You" (2005)
  • "The Big Downtown" (2005) - set in the Academy universe
  • "Ignition" (2005)
  • "The Candidate" (2006)
  • "Lighthouse" (2006) - with Michael Shaara, a Kristi Land and Greg Cooper story
  • "Kaminsky at War" (2006) - set in the Academy universe
  • "Cool Neighbour" (2007) - with Michael Shaara, a Kristi Land and Greg Cooper story
  • "Fifth Day" (2007)
  • "Friends in High Places" (2007)
  • "Tweak" (2007)
  • "Indomitable" (2008)
  • "The Adventure of the Southsea Trunk" (2008)
  • "Molly's Kids" (2008)
  • "Welcome to Valhalla" (2008) (with Kathryn Lance)
  • "The Cassandra Project" (2010) - expanded into a novel with Mike Resnick
  • "Dig Site" (2011)
  • "Maiden Voyage" (2012) - set in the Academy universe
  • "Listen Up, Nitwits" (2012)
  • "The Cat's Pajamas" (2012)
  • "Lucy" (2012)
  • "Waiting at the Altar" (2012)
  • "A Voice in the Night" (2013) - features a sixteen year-old Alex Benedict
  • "Cathedral" (2013)
  • "Glitch" (2013) - a "Probability Zero" story
  • "Searching for Oz" (2013)
  • "The Eagle Project" (2013)
  • "Enjoy the Moment" (2014)

Collections[edit]

Introductions[edit]

  • Pellucidar (Bison Frontiers of Imagination) (2002)

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • Nebula Best Short Story nominee (1983) : Cryptic
  • Philip K. Dick Award (special citation) (1986) : The Hercules Text [1]
  • Nebula Best Short Story nominee (1988) : "The Fort Moxie Branch"
  • Hugo Best Short Story nominee (1989) : "The Fort Moxie Branch"
  • International UPC Science Fiction Award winner (1993) : "Ships in the Night" (first English language winner) [2]
  • Nebula Best Novella nominee (1996) : "Time Travelers Never Die"
  • Arthur C. Clarke Best Novel nominee (1997) : Engines of God [3]
  • Hugo Best Novella nominee (1997) : "Time Travelers Never Die"
  • Nebula Best Novel nominee (1997) : Ancient Shores [4]
  • Nebula Best Novel nominee (1998) : Moonfall [5]
  • Nebula Best Novelette nominee (1999) : "Good Intentions" (co-writer Stanley Schmidt)
  • Nebula Best Novel nominee (2000) : Infinity Beach [6]
  • John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel nominee (2001) : Infinity Beach [7]
  • John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel nominee (2002) : Deepsix [8]
  • Nebula Best Short Story nominee (2002) : "Nothing Ever Happens in Rock City"
  • Nebula Best Novel nominee (2003) : Chindi [9]
  • Campbell Award winner (2004) : Omega [10]
  • Nebula Best Novel nominee (2004) : Omega [11]
  • Nebula Best Novel nominee (2005) : Polaris [12]
  • Nebula Best Novel winner (2006) : Seeker [13]
  • John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel nominee (2006) : Seeker [14]
  • John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel nominee (2007) : Odyssey [15]
  • Nebula Best Novel nominee (2007) : Odyssey [16]
  • Nebula Best Novel nominee (2008) : Cauldron [17]
  • Nebula Best Novel nominee (2010) : Echo [8]
  • Nebula Best Novel nominee (2011) : Firebird [18]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]