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Footfall | [Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle]

Footfall

They first appear as a series of dots on astronomical plates, heading from Saturn directly toward Earth. Since the ringed planet carries no life, scientists deduce the mysterious ship to be a visitor from another star. The world's frantic efforts to signal the aliens go unanswered. The first contact is hostile: the invaders blast a Soviet space station, seize the survivors, and then destroy every dam and installation on Earth with a hail of asteriods.
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Publisher's Summary

They first appear as a series of dots on astronomical plates, heading from Saturn directly toward Earth. Since the ringed planet carries no life, scientists deduce the mysterious ship to be a visitor from another star. The world's frantic efforts to signal the aliens go unanswered. The first contact is hostile: the invaders blast a Soviet space station, seize the survivors, and then destroy every dam and installation on Earth with a hail of asteriods. Now the conquerors are descending on the American heartland, demanding servile surrender - or death for all humans.

©1986 Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“Nobody does it better than Niven and Pournelle. I loved it!” (Tom Clancy)

"Rousing – the best of the genre.” (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (1014 )
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3.9 (626 )
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4.0 (630 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Euge Danbury, CT 02-04-13
    Euge Danbury, CT 02-04-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    "Not very plausible and light on description."

    This book lacked descriptive depth. It didn't paint a picture so much as a rough diagram with labels like "Insert alien space ship here". The giant cast of characters was reminiscent of Greg Bear's books, and similarly bogged the story down way more than it added a sense of a broader universe. I found the aliens to be novel but entirely implausible, I don't see how a clumsy race that's incapable of fine motor control can develop any kind of technology.

    And the final space battle that some of the other reviewers seem to be so fond of is mostly conveyed verbally, without any objective description, through the intercom and goes something like this: "Fire cannons. Accelerate. Boom! oh no we're hit. We need more steam!" Very underwhelming.

    Oh and I found the pivotal roll that a group science fiction authors play in the story to be incredibly masturbatory.

    Overall the book has several interesting ideas that are introduced, but overall, it's not really worth the credit unless you have nothing better to listen to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. House Sr. Sherborn, MA, United States 11-25-12
    G. House Sr. Sherborn, MA, United States 11-25-12 Member Since 2012

    I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Classic SF- Politics, Politics, Politics"

    Classic science fiction was often a narrative on politics set in a future world or circumstance. In this work, Niven and Pournelle offer such a narrative. True, it involves the Russians and Americans which I can connect with because I lived through the cold war era. However, the authors also advance the internal politics of the Fithp (the invading race). As with most novels from these artists, there are so many parallels to the human condition that it is still relevant today. You can find commentary on ecology, self-interest, prejudice, and treachery. A key take-away is how one culture creates devastation because if refuses to understand the other’s and only learns through defeat.

    I like the narration of MacLeod Andrews. He did a very nice job on the characters and especially the alien’s dialect.

    There are many characters in this story, so listening can be challenging because keeping them all straight is no easy task. Also, there is more emphasis on politics than science fiction. The weapons of the invaders are not significantly superior to the humans. So the question of how space travel technology can be so advanced, but the actual invading weaponry are only marginally better goes unanswered. Also the use of paratroopers is an elephant in the room (pun intended). All these little nitpicks aside, the story holds together very well even after almost 30 years.

    Today’s SF has a lot more blood, guts, sex and in your face action. This work returns to an era of more cerebral Science fiction; SF of that era was designed as a narrative for current events that provoked thinking about thorny issues – issues more easily broached outside of the actual named groups. Listen to this novel, it is worth the 21 hours.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Jamaica 10-08-12
    Amazon Customer Jamaica 10-08-12 Member Since 2010

    Listening is not the same as reading, but it is still fun

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    "Characters are sometimes unrealistic"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes, its good for a weekend's mindless entertainment.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    After droning on through the last two thirds of the story, the ending finally gave me a reason to sit up and listen though.


    Any additional comments?

    I found the resignation of the world to the idea that we were deliberately struck by asteroids to be a little difficult to accept.

    No way I could imagine any human making a deal with these elephants after that.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis CRYSTAL RIVER, FL, US 10-02-12
    Dennis CRYSTAL RIVER, FL, US 10-02-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "ANOTHER GREAT BOOK!"

    Footfall is another Great book by Larry Niven. It is well written and very well narrated!
    You will not go wrong with one. It is differant then what you would think. Try It!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Holly 09-15-12
    Holly 09-15-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Solid Niven and Pournelle"

    I fell in love with Niven and Pournelle in Mote in God's Eye, and thought I'd give this one a try. So glad I did. While it was a little outdated with the Soviet Union in the play, it read more like alternate history, and the social issues of an invasion were tackled from every angle, including the point of view and politics of the aliens. The payoff at the end was amazing, and the characters were fully-formed people I could route for.

    There is some amazingly difficult pronunciation in this book (which gave a bit of a listening learning curve, too, but you'll get used to it quick enough), and honestly, I applaud the narrator for tackling it head-on and doing a good job throughout.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Vancouver, BC, Canada 12-15-11
    Greg Vancouver, BC, Canada 12-15-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Classic Fiction at its best"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this audiobook to a friend and I have I enjoyed the characters, the plot and just dated feel of it. I know that's strange but I like being taken back to a different time period by reading old sci-fi like this, you can almost taste the polyester and hairspray. I also enjoyed the structure and the background of the aliens with their culture.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Footfall?

    The falling of the foot.


    What about MacLeod Andrews’s performance did you like?

    it was good and easy to understand


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes.


    Any additional comments?

    Good sci-fi, Also loved Lucifers Hammer

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George United States 06-11-12
    George United States 06-11-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A wonderful performance to an amazing story"

    Many might quickly dismiss this story because of the hokey premise of alien invading elephants. That would be short sighted; robbing one selves of an amazing delve into a “what if” in a realistic understanding of human nature. The science is realistic as well. The plot intertwines a variety of characters where Niven and Pournelle bring you inside their heads, including the aliens. To do it more so it would have to be written in first-person. Andrews’ gifted performance, true to the story, does an amazing job of bringing the characters to life. No spoiler here, the ending is captivating and leaving me wanting more.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pnar 04-03-12
    Pnar 04-03-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "*disappointing*"

    poor story,.. unnecessary dialogues and characters, i really don't get the good reviews? better get larry niven's 'mote in god's eye'.. save this one. waste of credit.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Lancaster, PA, United States 09-17-10
    Steve Lancaster, PA, United States 09-17-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Good overall, but narration a bit strange"

    The story was pretty much straight-up scifi. I kind of wish the details of the alien species was fleshed out a little more, but you learn enough about them to create a good mental image.
    I think they should have taken another strategy when trying to emulate the alien voices. There's a multitude of digital voice changers that the narrator could of used, but instead he opted to slur his speech as if he just had all of his wisdom teeth pulled out. You got used to it, but it was still distracting.
    Also, the ending was definitely sequel bait. It's been almost 26 years and no sequel.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan Geraldton, Australia 03-28-11
    Alan Geraldton, Australia 03-28-11 Member Since 2009

    I drive 55 metre roadtrains in Western Australia, a kiwi working in Australia. Love my Harley and my saxophone...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "no good"

    this is probably the worst book i have listened to while being with audible. I don't even know where to start in criticising it, it was just bad.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
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