Jack McDevitt is an American Science Fiction
writer, known for mixing future-archeology in with his SF.
He has two extended series of novels: the Alex Benedict
series about the titular antiquities dealer/investigator and his pilot and business partner, Chase Kolpath, and the Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins
series about a pilot who works for a xeno-archeology Academy (they investigate alien ruins). He also has about a half-dozen standalone novels covering subjects ranging from First Contact
to After the End
Works by Jack McDevitt
- The Alex Benedict series: A Talent for War, Polaris, Seeker, The Devil's Eye, Echo, Firebird, Coming Home
- Ancient Shores
- The Cassandra Project (with Mike Resnick)
- Eternity Road
- The Hercules Text
- Infinity Beach
- The Priscilla Hutchins series (aka The Academy Novels): The Engines of God, Deepsix, Chindi, Omega, Odyssey, Cauldron, Starhawk
- Time Travelers Never Die
Tropes in his works:
- Detonation Moon: In the novel Moonfall, the moon is smashed into itty-bitty bits by a mysterious giant comet just days after a commercial moonbase has been built there.
- First Contact: The Hercules Text, published almost simultaneously with Carl Sagan's Contact, has a very similar premise to that novel: signals are received by Earth via a radio telescope which contain mathematical information that turn out to be the key to a later transmission containing a great deal of scientific information. The effect of all this on the peoples of Earth is dramatic.
- Foreshadowing: He really likes to do this before killing off any vaguely important characters. When he starts talking about how one character will think back to this moment, later, it's often because it's the last time they'll see another character alive. He's deliberately not very subtle about it.
- Future Imperfect: In Eternity Road, a future civilization studies the religious monuments of the past. Highways. They must have been of great spiritual significance, because the ancestors built them everywhere. They even call our civilization the "Roadmakers".
- Never Found the Body: Eternity Road initially looks like it's heading for an Everybody Lives ending, so this trope is used after the first sudden death during a lighthearted section. The second such death—not so much.
- Retroactive Preparation: Time Travelers Never Die makes extensive use of this principle.
- Ruins of the Modern Age: Eternity Road has this in its title—we're remembered as the "Roadmakers," because our highways are just about the only things we left behind.
- San Dimas Time: Averted almost to the point of subversion in Time Travelers Never Die. The protagonists realize early on that the clock is not always running in San Dimas, and use that fact to prepare for time trips or to bail themselves out of dicey situations.