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.
Awesome story though. I wish there was a sequel. I even tried to find one. Even with the anoint narration of alien and female voices, this is well worth a listen.
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I have read lots of the reviews here and other places that have this book and people seem to have a problem with the elephants caring guns and the whole elephant thing, but I don't really find that to be a problem its a new idea I have never read before.
This is a "First Contact" book and if you like those type of books then you should like this one, there are some strange things in here and it seems dated as it was written in 1986 but really its not that bad I have read worse.
I do have a problem with how the Aliens act like they don't understand the human ways and couldn't have predicted what happens but I assume that could be the case if these Aliens were just a small off shoot from a much larger clan as it sorta seems like it must be but not mentioned, however I would assume that they should have some concept of how other Aliens act or could act, I don't know maybe that's the "dated" part but for the most part the book was great.
The narrator does a great job but the Aliens sound stupid and there name sounds like the narrator was trying to say something but couldn't figure t out so just made a noise, and the Aliens don't have to sound like that in the beginning you here them first and I was worried I wouldn't be able to handle that but it turned out not to be a problem other than the names they use being strange.
This was a great book and if you like "First Contact" books you will like this one
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.