As with all Niven/Pournelle's collaborations, a great read, but sadly I was unable to finish the audio version because of the irritating reader. Too much acting and silly voices. Not enough punctuation. My star rating refers only to the reading. For the book itself I would give five stars.
This is a great story. I read the book at least three times when I was younger. The story is still wonderful, it's the reader that made me not finish the audio version. The main problem is his voicing of the aliens. I assume the reader attempts to sound like what a talking elephant would sound like. The problem is you can't understand everything the characters are saying. More importantly, the readers pronunciations of the alien names are unintelligible. It was impossible for me to keep up with which alien was talking or which one was being referenced. I was very much looking forward. to an audible release of one of my favorite books and now that it's here it is un-listenable. Very sad. At least Lucifer's Hammer lived up to all my expectations.
A piece of SF history, Footfall has an interesting description of a project Orion ship. The old-school gender stereotyping made it hard to finish, especially the first five hours. A slow, painful start with an unspectacular and predictable finish. American exceptionalism at its finest.
Now that I've taken time to reflect, I'm taking off another star.
A page turner and ear burner. A fast paced look at an alien invasion of Earth through the eyes of both aliens and Earthmen and a plausible alien culture the reader can live with.
This pair of collaborating authors writes long stories, driven by realistic and well-written dialog, and filled cheek to jowl with characters. Following the viewpoint and exploits of the "common man" is one of their hallmarks. Andrews is amazing, juggling narration and dozens of speaking, thinking characters with consistent voices and pronunciation, often flipping between a score of them in a chapter. Exemplary work.
Stylistically, the novel is well written. Some writers can write dialog and some can't, and these guys can do dialog. They are also fair with description, although they usually leave out the sense of place in favor of the reader's own imagination. Narratively, there are more than a few troubling areas, with odd decisions and unrealistic coincidences, but these are overall easy to overlook. The things left unsaid and unresolved will bother some readers, as well as sections of extraneous information and scenes that you expect to build to something and don't.
This is good, hard sci fi, with a Cold War backdrop. If you liked Lucifer's Hammer, you will love this.
Still tops. Read this years ago, still great. I thought the narrator was excellent and did a fantastic job handling multiple characters to include a number of aliens and a variety of accents. How he kept them all straight is a wonderful.
Narration of alien accent was believable but difficult to understand sometimes because of pronunciation.
Most memorable moment was the reporter's indecision and quest for glory.