Octavia Gone – Jack McDevitt

Octavia Gone


Artifact handler Alex Benedict's archaeologist uncle Gabe is back from a time warp, and they now share pilot Chase Kolpath's services as they look for clues to the disappearance of a black hole research station.


I’m nothing if not tenacious with regard to authors whose work I like. At the same time, I’ve been saying for a while (half the series) that the Alex Benedict series is pretty much played out, and this 8th book puts the definitive cap on that. I’ve no idea whether McDevitt intends more of these books, but I don’t plan on reading them.

As has become usual, the book is a slow-paced affair in which Chase and Alex (and now Alex’s returned uncle, Gabe) pursue leads that mostly lead nowhere, talk to the media, and Chase has a half-hearted romance with someone. None of it, frankly, is very intriguing. Even one event that should be a blockbuster gets downplayed. The ending is annoying, because they all agree that there’s only one way to resolve the final dilemma, and that’s very clearly not true. In fact, they choose one of the worst possible options.

The science, unusually for McDevitt, but on target for this series, is no more than some vague handwaving and a number of unlikely settings (with FTL, the galaxy is full of Goldilocks planets, apparently). Archaeology gets even less attention, with uncle Gabe acting more like Schliemann or even Indiana Jones than a serious researcher.

I’ve suggested before that McDevitt was losing interest in the whole series. I think that’s true, but if it isn’t, I certainly have. There may be more to extract from the setting and characters, but McDevitt shows no signs of doing so. This is only for the true completionist. Casual readers should stick with the first 3-4 books of the series and go no further.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *