Niven has given us some really good sci-fi stories, but for me, this was not one of them. A little too "juvenile" and superficial, not at all "believable" plot. The "starring" characters are unbelievably inept and dense. I was really disappointed. I felt like I was in the 60's again.
Not at all.
I prefer books read by the author to any professional reader. No matter how bad the author is as a reader.
All of them.
I know the book was nominated for all the awards ,and I've read all the reviews about how great it is. But I just didn't see it.
Some of my favorite science fiction is pretty dated, but I think the problem with this book is the stereotypes --- male (the bread winner) versus female (only interested in marriage and family), military (totally distrusting) versus scientist (totally distrusting), nobility (so worthy and responsible) versus not (jealous of/intimidated by the nobility), even engineers being Scottish (I kid you not!), etc. And some of the character motivations were really hard to understand (more below, but contains spoilers).
It would be fun to explore the alien culture described in this book. I don't feel that it was well explained, and I think the story focused too much on one aspect which was not as well justified as I would have liked.
The narration sometimes used accents and voices, but I still had a lot of trouble telling the characters apart. Part was the story itself, but I think some narrators do a better job of giving the characters more distinction.
I considered stopping time and time again. I listened until the bitter end, but it really wasn't worth it.
--- Spoilers Follow ---
(Mild Spoiler) Early in the book, the single female character is rescued from a prison camp. She initially quite withdrawn but eventually recovers (we're not entirely sure why) and it's never referred to again that I can recall. It's not cited as motivation for later actions.
(Big Spoiler) And don't even get me started on the way that everyone seems to implicitly trust the aliens. Argh. Why???
(Small Spoiler) And how can non-intelligent aliens do more than the smartest humans? Makes no sense to me!
(Ironic Spoiler) It's funny that the book was so sexist and yet simultaneously paid homage to birth control (though proper ladies don't resort to that, of course).
Since I read mostly modern novels, this one was quite a throwback to the classic "interstellar mankind empire" type with heroic leaders that you find a lot in this timeframe of SF. Still a good read though.
One of my all time favourites from my youth - sadly dated. Has very little plausability in the modern world of technology, Why did all these writers from 50 years ago, never cotton on to computers of the future? A dated story of limited interest, read by a squeaky voice - maybe a good narrator would have made an interesting story out of this but the narration failed worse than the story.
Great story...very difficult to stay focused with the reader. Reminds me of a boring college professor trying to read War of the Worlds to the class.
The climax of the novel is about in the middle: the rest of it reads like a downward spiral of loose ends. The romance between the two semi-protagonists is hackneyed and stilted. The alien secret is boring. Niven forgets, as he so often does, simple but crucial bits of reality that poke holes in his flimsy plot.
Give it a pass.
I read/listened to this one as a long time fan of Larry Niven, and because it is considered by many to be one of the iconic works of Sci-Fi.
Perhaps my expectations were too high, perhaps it is just too dated considering how much technology has changed in the last 30 some years since this was originally written. I came away feeling like the whole "secret" to the story was just weak, and thus the ending, which was far too long in coming, was also very weak.
I also find Ganser's voice somewhat grating, so overall I was disappointed with this purchase.
I hesitated to order this and no longer remember why I did. While not a big fan of science fiction I still have found some both plausible and entertaining. Not this. Well into the second part and I finally gave it up. Just couldn't do one more line. Nothing about the book intrigued me. The characters were shallow and one dimensional. The interaction lacked all action.
I read the Mote in God's Eye years ago and looked forward to listening to it. However, the experience several decades later has proven to be awful. It's pretty much written like a soap opera.
There's much in the way of structure and character development and then... nothing. The story ends abruptly with little payoff, it just fizzles out.