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Polaris (2004)

de Jack McDevitt

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: Alex Benedict (2)

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1,0373014,612 (3.68)54
Sixty years after the disappearance of the passengers and crew of the luxury space yacht Polaris, found empty and adrift in space, Alex Benedict sets out to uncover the truth about the Polaris and to reveal the fate of its passengers.

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This is the second book about Alex Benedict, the antiquity dealer some 9000 years into the future. Humanity is spread out across the galaxy and but the interest for useless old objects remain. Alex Benedict is more than a dealer though. He also researches stories to find new objects and this book starts when objects from the space ship Polaris is exhibited.

The space ship Polaris is the center for a mystery, where 60 years years earlier the whole crew just disappeared while watching two stars collide.

While the first story in the series was told by Alex Benedict, this one is told by Chase Kolpath, his assistant. I would actually say Alex Benedict plays a secondary role, but it doesn't matter because they are similar enough that they are somewhat interchangeable. Not that they are identical but they sound and feel the same.

There are some things that I don't agree with in the future. Things that feel somewhat old already, but who knows what paths the development will take. ( )
  bratell | Dec 25, 2020 |
The third book in a loose series featuring Mr. McDevitt's character Alex Benedict, Polaris is told from the viewpoint of Chase Kolpath, Alex's pilot and assistant. Chase doesn't quite Rainbow, Alex's two-person operation that sells archaeological finds, but she is certainly a well-known face to their wealthy clients, and very skilled at cutting through bureaucracy.

The setup behind this vaguely noir/mystery book involves the mysterious ship Polaris whose passengers and crew vanished mysteriously 60 years ago. The ship has captivated the public for years. While the Polaris was hardly the only ship to disappear, the way it's crew of celebrity scientists-- and young, pretty captain Madeline English-- vanished in impossible circumstances is an inexplicable, glittering mystery for the ages.

When Chase cuts a deal for Rainbow with Survey (a government exploration and artifact recovery agency) to have first crack at buying Polaris artifacts, the building is bombed by parties unknown, taking out most of the artifacts. The mystery behind the bombing-- and what did happen on the Polaris all those years ago, by the way-- is delightful reading, and difficult to put down. (I read most of the book on a plane, and managed to stay focused despite the bad movie and noisy passengers.)

The books seems to be headed towards a pretty pork-barreled nine-eleven analogy for the first few chapters, but it thankfully drops that quickly. The sense of a complete world is not as great as it could be, but the author does a very good job of painting a universe where human colonies are all-- almost all-- united. (The history of this world is much richer in A Talent for War, the first of the Alex Benedict books. yes, I'm reading them out of order.)

A fun book, with an unexpected ending. This is the first of Jack McDevitt's books that I've read, and I intend to keep reading them as long as they stay good. ( )
  neilneil | Dec 7, 2020 |
I had mixed feelings reading this book, even though on the whole I enjoyed it and would mostly recommend it.

On the plus side, it was I think a better done adventure story in the present than its predecessor, A Talent for War, which derived its interest almost entirely from the mystery about the past (for me, at least; the adventures there in the present did not seem as compelling). In Polaris, Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath go investigating another historical anomaly, and *someone* is trying to stop them.

This time the story is told from Chase's point of view. Some reviewers suggested this was an improvement; I did not find that it mattered much. Neither of them, unfortunately, is incredibly interesting as a character. The interest of the story does not lie so much with the character but with the mystery, and the adventures. And the adventures were, I thought, more compelling in this story than in the last.

On the minus side, this is basically the *same* story, point by point--even down to the detail to the detail of having a lunatic convention devoted to Polaris, instead of a lunatic convention devoted to the Sims. The author found a winning formula, and basically changed the names and a few details. But because of that, probably, it wasn't too hard for me to see where this was going well before the end. (I sure didn't see where A Talent for War was going until the end.)

Also, a side rant: I have a certain skepticism about any story that relies on some scientific discovery years and years ago that somehow got irretrievably lost, because (at least the way we do science now) that's not going to happen. If one researcher doesn't discover it, another lab is hot on their heels, and at worst there will be only a few years' delay, not centuries. Science is done by a community, not by isolated one-of-a-kind geniuses, and nobody is that far behind anybody else. So that part (in both this story and the last) was hard to stomach.

That's all the bad stuff. But the good part was that even though I was pretty sure what the solution to the mystery was going to be, it was a good read watching it unfold. Though it was following the same formula, it's a pretty good formula. Chase and Alex have to get out of a number of sticky situations, and I thought that was better done in this novel than in the last. ( )
  garyrholt | Nov 5, 2020 |
The main problem with SF/Mystery crossovers is that you kinda rather need to be a fan of both genres.

Fortunately, I am, and so this book fit like a pretty comfortable glove. And it's not even a traditional mystery, either. Imagine a modern mystery that included a missing crew on an ocean liner from a hundred years in the past. You've got a lot of weird questions and archeology and a lot of research ahead of you, but wait! What if some really weird events keep happening around you, your artifacts, and your friends? What if there's a conspiracy to keep a Big Secret?

Ahhh, so then, keep the smart premise, interesting plot, and weave it in a fully-realized and deep future society with spacecraft, AI's, and lots of settled planets, aliens, and a few other layers of mystery. Still sound interesting? Yeah! That's because it is!

These books are all about managing your expectations. Know what you're getting into and then you won't be disappointed if what you really wanted was a bunch of corporals issuing orders and pew-pewing across the spaceways. :)

I think I liked this book more than the previous. You don't have to read them in order, thankfully, but what I liked most was the female narrator. She's cool, or at least she's a lot cooler than Alex Benedict, himself. The guy is relegated to a supporting role. I thought that was funny as hell. :)

The best part of this series is the deeply thoughtful construction of the plot, the worlds, and the explored implications. It's smart and the author's voice is quite strong. I can't say that these are my absolute favorite SF books of all time, but I do appreciate everything they accomplish and how they build a strong foundation for a beautiful change in the genre. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Started; didn't like narrator's voice (but enjoyed tone of prologue). Try other books by this author.
  ca.bookwyrm | May 18, 2020 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Jack McDevittautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Harris, JohnAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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Sixty years after the disappearance of the passengers and crew of the luxury space yacht Polaris, found empty and adrift in space, Alex Benedict sets out to uncover the truth about the Polaris and to reveal the fate of its passengers.

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