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.
I've already read the book a couple times, and enjoy the story, especially the now-quaint US-Soviet interactions. There are some slow parts and non-essential characters.
I don't care who is cast as the narrator, but I was not satisfied with the production process that allowed MacLeod Andrews' mistakes to exist in the final version. His word mispronunciations indicate imperfect familiarity with the English language. "Bas-relief" (meaning "low relief"), has a silent "s" in the first syllable, but it becomes "bass relief" when he reads it. "Posthumous" (meaning "after death"), which is meant to be read as "post-humous," becomes "poss-thumous" in his reading. These are part of a pattern of incorrect pronunciations, misplaced accents, emphases on the wrong words of sentences, all of which distract from the story. This shoddy work speaks poorly for his ability and indicates that the producers neglected to assign a competent editor to "proof-listen" and catch these mistakes.On the other hand, I was pleased with his efforts in creating distinctive voices for the aliens and humans from different nations.
The narrator's mistakes were so annoying that it inspired me to write the first Audible review I've ever done. The length of the book inspired me to figure out the "2x forward" setting on the player, so it would be completed in less than 24 hours.
Author's mistake: Ukraine was not part of Russia, it was part of the USSR.
I have to say that I thought the story was excellent in both plot and pace with the anticipation and final resolution leaving you guessing until the end. The only problem I had while listening was the names of some of the alien characters were harder to keep straight because of the alien names.
Some of the references are a bit dated but it has good twists and turns though out. The narrator did an excellent job of voicing many different characters without sounding like he was just repeating a couple of voicings. Overall it was a fun book.
Even while following conventions of the type there is something a little different about this alien invasion yarn and the tone belies a deep undertow of satire. If that's not enough, brilliantly sharing some of the story line from the point of view of the invading species only sets the human condition in high relief. Fun adventure and thought provoking drama mixed with a little hard Sci-fi give Footfall an original approach to well warn pathways.