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.
“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)
This story is a good summer read. Published in 1985, it is dated story of humankind's first encounter with aliens. (It is so dated that in the story a 70 year old human is too aged to drive his own car!) The basic plot involves the American government, a group of survivalists, some hippies (of course), and some non-existent country called the Soviet Union. Written in a flat, expository style, the story at points has a cartoonish character. (The "Star Wars" portion has a lot of "wham, wham" in it.) The tale is basically about the "elephants" from space encountering the "monkeys" from earth; herd mentality vs. troop mentality. If you are interested in a better, more "hard" sci-fi-based imagining of what aliens might be like, then listen to Peter F. Hamilton's wonderful "Pandora's Star" and its sequel "Judas Unchained" or Robert K. Morgan's brilliant "Altered Carbon" and its sequel "Broken Angels", both available from Audible.
This book is rather dated, not only in plot content (cold war tension with soviets, etc.) but in the ideas and attitudes - it seems very 80s to me. The aliens were interesting as were many of the subplots with humans but many of the characters were more like caricatures, and some of the political subtext was pretty heavy-handed. The end of the book was abrupt and left quite a few plot threads dangling. The narration was also less than stellar, I agree with many of the other reviewers that the narrator's efforts at alien speech were needlessly difficult to understand.
I really liked "The Mote in God's Eye"; but I didn't like this book. In fact, it's like the authors are continuing a theme that, "no matter how capable, aliens just aint got no common sense". Also, there are sub-themes that seem to come rigt out of the RNC: 1) if left to it own devices, the liberal press would kill us all; and 2) the military industrial complex will save us all if we can just keep the environmentalist out of the way.
These two writers make a good team, but maybe they need to elvate their message.
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