Echo by Jack McDevitt is new science fiction in the classic optimistic model (as opposed to the classic dystopic model). This is a novel of space exploration during a time of intergalactic peace. Science and technology have solved most problems except the human kind: hubris, jealousy, greed, and guilt. McDevitt's well-drawn characters demonstrate ample quantities of these qualities and many other of the timeless human foibles.
McDevitt has put together an intricate mystery of first contact - certainly a classic theme. While the characters visit the far reaches of the galaxy, they do it with a minimum of exposition. This is a particularly classic touch, as many of the newer SF writers seems so enamored with their tech that they forget to be storytellers and fall back on stilted textbook exposition.
The mystery is also wrapped up at the end with several clever reveals - making this book a pleasure from beginning to end. If you love SF from the 50s and 60s, you'll love this too.
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