Jack McDevitt’s Chindi is a return to hard science fiction, firmly based on scientific principles and a sense of wonder about the vastness of space and the phenomena happening there.
The backdrop is that humanity has discovered a means for faster-than-light travel and has explored a significant portion of our galactic neighborhood, but hasn’t found any intelligent alien species, only the remains of now-extinct civilizations. However, a mysterious signal is found, and a space ship is sent out to investigate where the signal may lead.
Chindi starts out very well as the Galactic Society heads out to discover the source and destination of the mysterious signal, and is populated with interesting people, but completely loses steam toward the end, with the story ending in a huge yawn with the great build-up in the end going nowhere.
The main problem with Chindi is that McDevitt creates a tantalizing riddle with the chindi itself, but then leaves the reader completely hanging as to its purpose and creators, making the mystery little more than a tease.
Chindi earns a 2 out of 5.
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