Thursday, May 9, 2019

"Octavia Gone"

Jack McDevitt is an American science fiction author. He has won multiple awards including the International UPC Science Fiction award for Ships in the Night, a Nebula for Seeker, a Campbell Award for Omega, and the Robert Heinlein Lifetime Achievement Award. He has over 20 novels available in print, ebook and audio. He resides in Georgia with his lovely wife, Maureen.

McDevitt applied the Page 69 Test to Octavia Gone, the latest Alex Benedict novel, and reported the following:
A space station doing research at a black hole vanishes with its four-person crew. It seemed obvious that it had been drawn into the black hole, but the people in charge of the project maintained that simply hadn’t been possible. Even had it happened, there was no explanation for their failure, when things were going wrong, to send out a plea for help.

Alex Benedict is a dealer in antiquities. Eleven years after the station has gone, he discovers that he’d had a chess set belonging to Charlotte Hill, a physicist who’d been one of the four people on the station. It was no big deal, but eventually it will draw Alex and Chase into the hunt for an explanation. Meantime, the chess set has also gone missing. Chase, the narrator, is speaking:
“I don’t recall our ever having access to it. Did we sell it, or something?” I asked. “The chess set?”

“No. It disappeared after her death. Charlotte’s mother, Olivia Hill, contacted me a year or so ago to find out if we might have any idea what happened to it, whether we might have seen it on the auction listings. She was hoping to get it back.”

“So you’ve been looking into it.”

“Yes,” He was smiling. “I got a response while I was on the road. From Paul Holton.” Holton was a long-time client. He put the message on-screen. “Alex, Kimberley Morris has it. She tells me she got it from one of Charlotte’s friends. She lives in Traymont. Link attached. She does not seem anxious about selling. Let me know if I can do anything more to help.”

Traymont was a time zone away.

Outside, a mollok was hanging from a tree limb gazing in at us. He was miling at something, and when Alex waved at him, he waved back. I couldn’t resist going into the kitchen for a banana. Alex was frowning when I returned with it. “You do that,” he said, “and it’ll be out there every morning.”

“Special credit at salvation.” I opened the window and tossed the banana.

The mollok caught it on the fly, chittered happily and began peeling and eating it.

Alex rolled his eyes. “Jacob,” he said, “connect us with Kimberley.”
Learn more about the book and author at Jack McDevitt's website.

My Book, The Movie: Octavia Gone.

--Marshal Zeringue