Ancient Shores

by Jack McDevitt
Reviewed date: 2003 Nov 10
Rating: 3
371 pages
cover art

Synopsis: a North Dakota farmer discovers an ancient alien artifact buried in his wheat field. Researchers excavate the ruins while the world contemplates the ramifications of such a find.

The Good: Ancient Shores is a competently written book. Jack McDevitt expertly shows us the effects the discovery of the alien artifact have on the world and the economy.

The Bad: It starts out slow--the really interesting parts don't come until halfway through the book. Also, the author spends too much time spewing out propaganda against the evil white man instead of focusing on the interesting bits of the story. I don't mind a little social commentary, and setting the alien discovery on Sioux land makes for an interesting twist, but the latter chapters in the book are little more than blatant propaganda, and I don't appreciate it. Finally, I found the ending improbable and amateurish.

However, overall the book is good. There is nothing too objectionable in it, and it would make a great movie. It's the kind of science fiction that is grounded in reality and would appeal to the masses. It is not, as the back of the book claims, "the most ambition and exciting SF triumph of the decade", and while McDevitt seems to pull back from tackling any of the big issues he raises, it is nevertheless an engaging and exciting book.

It's a good book.

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