By Jack McDevitt
Thunderbird is a sequel to Jack McDevitt’s Ancient Shores, and it returns us to a Sioux reservation in North Dakota where a functioning star gate (dubbed the Roundhouse) has been discovered. Nobody’s quite sure what the point of the Roundhouse is, but it serves as a portal to other far-flung locations in space and time that can be accessed, quite helpfully, by a simple menu of icons.
Complications arise, however, when politicians get involved and a ghostly presence exits the Roundhouse and begins floating about North Dakota, its purposes unknown.
In effect, the Roundhouse operates a bit like the Internet, with branching paths opening up like new web pages in a browser, accessed through links from different portals. This gives the novel the flavour of a Choose Your Own Adventure book, being somewhat unfocused but pressing the reader forward, always wondering what’s behind the next door.