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Lucifer's Hammer | [Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle]

Lucifer's Hammer

The gigantic comet had slammed into Earth, forging earthquakes a thousand times too powerful to measure on the Richter scale, tidal waves thousands of feet high. Cities were turned into oceans; oceans turned into steam. It was the beginning of a new Ice Age and the end of civilization. But for the terrified men and women chance had saved, it was also the dawn of a new struggle for survival--a struggle more dangerous and challenging than any they had ever known....
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Publisher's Summary

The gigantic comet had slammed into Earth, forging earthquakes a thousand times too powerful to measure on the Richter scale, tidal waves thousands of feet high. Cities were turned into oceans; oceans turned into steam. It was the beginning of a new Ice Age and the end of civilization.

But for the terrified men and women chance had saved, it was also the dawn of a new struggle for survival - a struggle more dangerous and challenging than any they had ever known....

©1985 Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Take your earthquakes, waterlogged condominiums, swarms of bugs, colliding airplanes, and flaming what-nots, wrap them up and they wouldn't match one page of Lucifer's Hammer for sweaty-palmed suspense." (Chicago Daily News)
"Massively entertaining." (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (3896 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Matthias Schüssler Winterthur 09-17-12
    Matthias Schüssler Winterthur 09-17-12 Member Since 2012

    Journalist, blogger, radio man. Visit me at clickomania.ch

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting story, but too long"
    Would you try another book from Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle and/or Marc Vietor?

    I already have "Ringworld" in the pipeline.


    What was most disappointing about Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle ’s story?

    I understand the discussion about racism in this title. There are at least some racist undertones, which could be a sign of the time period when the book was written. My biggest complaint is the length. I don't mind long books, but here, less protagonists and locations would not have harmed the book. I wasn't completely happy about the ending either. I'd have appreciated less fighting and a longer outlook into the future of the new civilization and it's building...


    What about Marc Vietor’s performance did you like?

    Marc Vietor has a likable voice I can listen to for hours. Sometimes, the performance could have been a little less solemn, but after all, he's was a good choice for this title.


    Was Lucifer's Hammer worth the listening time?

    Despite the shortcomings – people who love apocalypse stories should listen to this book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike 09-10-12
    Mike 09-10-12

    Mike Young of Osawatomie Ks

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "good book via audio"

    Liked it alot but parts of it seems a bit weak but I'm no expert, just a reader/listener.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kent Karlskrona, Sweden 09-03-12
    Kent Karlskrona, Sweden 09-03-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Quite engaging."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. It is quite engrossing.
    Good characters and a story that is not too predictable.
    Since it is set in the late 70s the characters perspective differs from our in a
    refreshing way.


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

    Nope. Far too long for that.
    Pointless question about an audio book this long.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd Atlanta, GA, United States 08-09-12
    Todd Atlanta, GA, United States 08-09-12 Member Since 2010
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    "most realistic end-of-world scenario I've read..."
    What made the experience of listening to Lucifer's Hammer the most enjoyable?

    My favorite part of this book is when Dan, the diabetic PhD, packs up and preserves his "civilization rebuilding library" and tosses it into his open septic tank. That's pretty surprising and definitely gave me the impression this was a well thought-out book. I'm not a sci-fi newbie, but I'm not an expert, either, so I appreciated the review of classic titles contained in this description, because it gave me a ready-made shopping list. Among those that I hadn't read yet were:
    The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley
    Nova by Samuel R. Delany
    Corridors of Time by Poul Anderson
    Half Past Human by T. J. Bass
    Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin
    Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber
    Silverlock by John Myers Myers
    King Conan by Robert E. Howard
    Future Shock by Alvin Toffler
    Tau Zero by Poul Anderson
    There were other mystery novels in the list that I haven't included here. Many of these were from the 60s and not available on Audible, unfortunately. However, I take this as a personal recommended reading list from Larry Niven himself, and considering his status, it's worth a little extra effort to find them.


    What other book might you compare Lucifer's Hammer to and why?

    I don't know, maybe John Haldeman's Forever War. Mostly because I read them close to each other, but also because they present a stark view of the consequences of humanity's violent streak. I didn't take this book to be quite as negative, tho, since it portrays two sides of it.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The point where I got most teary-eyed was when they discussed the importance of "controlling the lightning". As an engineer, I believe that sentiment was dead on. Since then, I've gotten a kick out of using the phrase "go control the lightning" instead of "break a leg" as a way to say "good luck".


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justin OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, United States 08-07-12
    Justin OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, United States 08-07-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyable"

    As a fan of apocalyptic fiction, this was a credit well spent. The basis of the story has a refreshing root in actual science (it is Niven, after all), so it comes off as believable in that regard. Some of the characters never felt entirely fleshed out, however, and there are a couple of relatively jarring jumps in timeline.

    The premise of any worldwide apocalypse story begs for a multitude of settings around the world. Writing them all would create a never ending story, but Lucifer's Hammer goes the other direction, detailing effectively nothing but one section of California. I'm sure some people appreciate this book for not being The Stand, but I miss seeing something of the world at large.

    Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the listen, and it was fun to go back to some Cold War era fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna Fountain Valley, CA, United States 08-06-12
    Donna Fountain Valley, CA, United States 08-06-12 Member Since 2015

    eclectic reader

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    "Long and mostly boring"

    Definitely a good vs evil. There were too many characters with little character development. I had trouble keeping them all straight. SK did it so much better in The Stand.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie J. Hacker North Carolina, USA 08-06-12
    Bonnie J. Hacker North Carolina, USA 08-06-12 Member Since 2015

    Bookkat

    ratings
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    11
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    Story
    "Absorbing and Thought-provoking"

    This is a long book (24 1/2 hours on audio), which I think could have been trimmed a little. I found it hard to keep all the characters straight. That said it was an engaging book, leaving many pictures and ideas lingering in my mind. The first third is about the approach of the comet, the middle about the hit and immediate aftermath, and the last third covers time a little further out and who people deal with everything being changed and the loss of most modern conveniences and government.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    miles rose lake, fl, United States 08-06-12
    miles rose lake, fl, United States 08-06-12 Member Since 2013

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "awesome book"
    Would you listen to Lucifer's Hammer again? Why?

    yes, its that good


    Any additional comments?

    I red this book 20 yrs ago, it made my day to see it was on audible. Great story

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. A. Jacques Michigan USA 06-11-12
    E. A. Jacques Michigan USA 06-11-12 Member Since 2008
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    "One of the Best in the Genre"

    I ran across this book after doing an internet search for books about world ending or apocalyptic events and I'm glad I did. There are not many books that deal with the details of what happens after such an event versus leading up to it or preventing the event all together. Even though this book was written in the 70s before cell phones and the internet, or personal computers in general for that matter, it still works. In fact it might work even better because of the time period.

    Either way the author does a great job developing the many characters in the book giving their individual account or perspectives of how the events impact their lives. There are those who do nothing and those who heed the warnings and prepare and just the right amount of detail is provided to setup the various stories and make them plausible. As the focus narrows to a smaller playing field it just feels right. The narration is on par with some of the best as well.

    I hated to see this one end. I put this at the top of my personal list of books in this genre and can recommend it highly to anyone who finds this subject as fascinating as I do.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    karen Christchurch, New Zealand 06-06-12
    karen Christchurch, New Zealand 06-06-12

    Hot romance/Sci Fi we're so lucky to have Audible to feed our book addictions. I love walking my precious dog Sydney & listening to my books

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Awesome story, kept me on my toes and wanting more"

    A fabulous book and story line. Loved it and wish there was more of it. Great stuff !!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 131-140 of 194 results PREVIOUS113141520NEXT
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  • J. K. Hardin
    London, UK
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Flawless"

    Disaster fiction at its best. Lucifer's hammer spends exactly the right amount of time building toward the cataclysm, and then continues to grip the reader all the way through. A page turner, so to speak, which I find rare for a book of this length.

    (Also, personally, this satisfies my itch for post apocalyptic fiction, too, with the added fun of seeing how the 'apocalypse' happens.)

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    Wirral, United Kingdom
    12/9/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Comet one Earth none"

    The film they should have made instead of Armageddon.
    The story follows the struggle for survival against nature and barbarism to retain civilization, after a comet hits the Earth.
    Niven and Pournelle at their best.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Tara
    Dun Laoghaire, Ireland
    12/24/12
    Overall
    "Best-of genre"

    I keep coming back to this book again and again. It's brilliantly written and a pleasure to read. The story is told from several different viewpoints and the characters all feel real and believable. The disintegration of society and way people's lives change after the hammer are well done. A little 1970s-ish in places, but not in a bad way. I expect I'll be reading this again (and again).

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Gareth
    Beaumaris, United Kingdom
    9/4/12
    Overall
    "Pretty good for a pre-silicon novel."

    Science fiction does not usually age well, and this epic written before mobile phones, internet and laptops is strange and hard to get used to initially. But read in the same way as H.G.Wells or other historic science fiction it does pretty well. The introduction of the characters is somewhat long winded, but once the action starts it's a rip roaring listen. I liked the ideas behind the post apacalypse survival stuff suggesting how quickly humanity could return to the laws of the jungle. It has a few holes in the plot, but not enough to affect it in any great sense. Recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    Skelmersdale, Lancashire, United Kingdom
    11/2/10
    Overall
    "Better 2012 than the film"

    I enjoyed this book very much, I liked the way it plays out in the end, it wasn?t a happy end or sad but I could imagine it happing this way, worth getting.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    England
    12/14/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Post-apocalyptic entertainment at its best!"
    What did you like most about Lucifer's Hammer?

    The story kept moving and the various threads set up at the start of the story were woven into a believable whole towards the end.


    What did you like best about this story?

    A solid and reasonably detailed look at how the earth and humanity would be impacted by a comet strike. A fascinating topic to me and very well written by the authors.


    Have you listened to any of Marc Vietor’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    No, but his performance was good compared to other readers.


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

    Yes, but that was pretty unrealistic given the 24.5 hours required for that!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Francisco J. Elenes
    Lake Oswego, OR USA
    9/9/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A 1970’s take on the End of the World"

    Before Deep Impact, before Armageddon there was Lucifer’s Hammer.

    The novel is Crichton-nesque in its foundation in real science and level of detail; they carefully build the story and it teaches you a lot about comets/meteors and the havoc they can cause.

    It was told from a 1970’s perspective; but good story telling doesn’t go out of fashion and it actually it’s a bit interesting looking back it after 40 years it ages well, almost a period sci-fi piece.

    The Authors Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle are very well read and they disperse at the beginning of chapter insightful quotes from various other authors throughout the book. It helps make for very interesting reading, and I think I’ve added several new books on my to-read list.

    It does start slow, but you need to have little patience while he builds the characters for you.

    After the strike the second story begins, and it is as riveting as the telling of the strike and preparation for it are. It held my attention to the end.
    An Interesting and satisfying read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    United Kingdom
    7/24/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Timeless classic"
    Where does Lucifer's Hammer rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    one of my favourite listens.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Harvey - trying to do the best he can in difficult circumstances


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Batlle scence at the end


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    how quickly life can change


    Any additional comments?

    really good book, not dated and tackles the real issues faced by humanity after such a catastrophic event. Good characterisation and I would love to see a sequel or movie!
    Book went along at good pace.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • MAVIS
    Bideford, United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "Is this the end?"

    I saw this book and the narrater and knew it must be good. The many strands are woven together in unexpected ways. It is not until the last page that it all comes together and it leaves you wanting more. My kind of book. Not the armeggedon you are expecting.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Darryl
    Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, United Kingdom
    4/16/11
    Overall
    "An Older Story with Current Themes"

    This a story of the time! Tsunamis and earthquakes, whilst triggered this time by a meteor shower, gives a powerful image of what would happen. It's scary stuff, because it is based on scientific facts and we can all see just how devastating such an event would be. Scary also is how soon people revert to looting, violence and the law of physical might. It is survival of the fittest all over again. You cannot help thinking that we really have not moved very far forward in our evolution. It will make you think about much we rely on technology that is fragile and useless when fuel is not available. How good would any of us be in building from scratch? Where would the raw materials come from? What would you do with the raw materials anyway?
    I certainly want to read more books from this legendary duo and luckily Audible has them available.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
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