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  • Writer's pictureJack McDevitt

Blog #62

Cryptic and A Voice in the Night, the two Subterranean short fiction collections, still draw comments. A few readers have asked whether the title of the latter volume has a connection with Jean Shepherd who, at the height of his career, was referred to as “The Voice in the Night.” The answer of course is yes. The story that gave its title to the collection paid homage to a future radio commentator. Anyone who’d been familiar with Shep, as he was known back in the fifties and sixties, would have recognized him immediately.

The hard cover editions of the two books sold out quickly, but Amazon still has both on Kindle. Readers seem to have enjoyed them, and I suspect a large part of that is simply that the short story is the natural form for science fiction.

Rob Sawyer wrote the introduction for Cryptic, which included the following:

Once you read the 200,000 words collected here, the

reasons for Jack’s popularity will be obvious. In a field that

often contains clunky prose, Jack’s writing is exemplary:

not just smooth and clean, but charming. In a field that often

gives short shrift to the human in its pursuit of the grandly

cosmic, Jack’s writing is warm and intimate; it appeals as

much to the heart as to the head. It’s that charm, that warmth,

that sticks with you.


Rob could have been talking about his own work. His fiction is captivating. The reader is drawn in, becomes part of the experience, lives and dies with his characters. I started with Calculating God and never really escaped. He’s won numerous awards, and inspired a TV series. For more, stop by –

And in this dark time, let’s all be grateful we have science fiction.

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