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.
"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)
Movie loving Brit living Down Under. Anything 'end of the world' themed usually gets my attention, but The Stand has yet to be beat.
This is really a book of two halves. The first half, in which our rogue asteroid is treated as a character, given a backstory and such, details the oh-so-slow-and-boring approach of armageddon. It's not tense, it's not sweaty-palm inducing, it's just dull. Mostly uninteresting characters do mostly uninteresting things as scientist endlessly debate how close this big chunk of doom will miss earth by. Now, forgive me for nit-picking, but I really don't see the point of devoting endless pages to characters repeatedly insisting the event the book is written around isn't going to happen. I know it's going to hit; that's why I bought the story. By all means, spend a little time on such things but anything more is flogging a dead horse.
And when the comet does, finally, touch down, the book improves. The mechanics of destruction, the effect of Lucifers Hammer on the Earth are particularly well done and suitably 'wow' in their description, as are the cascade of events that follow such a massive event.
But then the book just becomes a fairly generic post-apocalyptic tale. Looting, pillaging, rape, murder, gangs, some trying to get the world back up and running and some trying to burn the last few bits of civilisation left standing. It all feels very familiar and contains, with few exceptions, very little that strays off the well worn path of post apocalyptic fiction.
The benchmarks in this genre for me are The Stand, Alas Babylon and Swan Song, two of which thread the generic end of the world story with the supernatural and are much better for it and the other, Alas Babylon, is just a better written, more interesting and more immersive tale. Lucifer's Hammer is just a bit too 'The A to Z of The Apocalypse' to warrant much of a recommendation.
The narration is good, though sometimes the narrator lacks the ability to make voices easily distinguishable, but that's a minor gripe. It's just a ho-hum story.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
Wives. Just some wisdom from Larry and Jerry.
As far as Armageddon novels go this is in the upper middle. If you have already listened to Alas Babylon, The Road, The Postman, and One Second After and still want more then buy the book. There is nothing new in this book. This was written in 1977, way before three of the books I mentioned, but that don't mean you should settle. After this then read The Stand or The Mysterious Island.
After I put the book on fast play, I found I liked the book a lot better. More on that later. Harry the Mailman had to be an influence in David Brin's, The Postman. It is dated, pocket calculators are rare and cost $200 to $300 dollars and white men are Honkies. It runs a little long and seems to have a couple of endings. It is all about California, because those of us in fly over country don't count. There are some interesting characters and interesting situations.
With about 18 hours left to go I was dreading listening for that long. As a last resort I put the player on fast forward. That made my opinion of the book go up two stars. I hate to be tough on narrators, but they can make or break a book with there talents or lack there of. During the disaster his narration of the carnage, reads like a To do List.
I never lost interest in the book. Some thought that the book started slow but I didn't. It kept me interested from start to finish. The start of the book was informative and set the stage for a very exiting finish.
This audiobook, written in 1977, is timeless. The characters and events which take place, could easily take place today. Well worth the listen.
You've seen it before -- except this was where you saw it 'before.' An old-fashioned meteor-strikes-Earth novel that I had somehow missed but that is somehow not "dated," although it is decades old (Yes, it is "dated" in terms of the technology, of course...but that would make any novel not set in the present time "dated."). The characters' reactions to total disaster are spot on and timeless. The writing is well done...I was engrossed. Could absolutely not stop listening.
I was intrigued by the title and found out that it was a clever play on a central character's name. I really enjoyed this audiobook and would highly recommend it. Check it out and you will see!!!!!
Niven and Pournelle combine to make a well developed, plausible outcome to a devastating direct strike by a comet. The character development is not overly drawn out and the story moves along well.
The beginning was very boring to me. I kept at it knowing that it had to get better after the comet hit. It did, but then, it ended way too quickly and some of the events were glossed over. Still, not a bad listen, could have been better...
Good read, dated material, but still a great story. There's plenty of character development and the story moves nicely. A cannibal army always makes for some fun times!
I don't think I could do this book more than once. It's just too dated, and felt long and drawn out at times. In spite of it being a decent book.
Easily Harry the mail man. He provided some much needed humor and is a breath of fresh air in contrast to the dreary ambiance of the book.
Probably the best part of this audio book was the reader.
The book is very dreary and mellencholy once you get past the first 4 hrs prior to the Comet striking. You are pretty much looking at a post apocolyptic landscape filled with murder and cannibalism with the stark reality of even good people doing what they must to survive not just on a personal level but as a species. Having to turn away whole families at the front gate of a stronghold just because they know they don;t have enough resources to support them is pretty much condemning the family to die. But some great points are raised about the neccessity of certain occupations and skills sets and how valueable they become to the greater good and the commune itself.
Again, Solid book, the only issue i take with it is it really dated itself by incorporating the cold war mentality of anti-communism sentiment. They also had a bunch of hippies in their own commune, and made several refrences to the vietnam war and what amounts to the Black Panther movement of the sixties. Who were also conveniently the "Bad Guys". All that just made this feel very dated and it was hard to get past that for me.
"A book of three parts - boring, ok and good"
The first third of this book is pretty boring. Once things start to happen then the next third starts to become interesting as they realise what's going to happen and deal with the initial impact.
It's the final third which gets good.
"proper sci fi"
Well paced plausible human sci fi well narrated and believable. quaint for its more simple outlook on society and highlights the changes if the last fourth years
"Showing its age"
Written in 1977 and showing its age now. However concept is still good and holds true
"Exciting page turner"
I have not read the printed version of this book so can't compare that with the audible version, but obviously the audible version has the advantage of being able to listen whilst I do housework and gardening etc.
I loved the excitement of survival following the natural disaster that changed the world. There was a feeling that this could be real.
My experience of this book was not that of a book that moves you, its more for the excitement of the journey.
I liked the writing style of the author, with a good use of vocabulary and a fast enough pace to keep the reader or listener anxious to know more and reluctant to put the book down. Fortunately as this is the audible version household chores don't all get neglected! I recommend this book to anyone who likes post apocalyptic survival films and disaster films. You finish the book with a sense of satisfaction that the struggles of the survivors... well I won't give it away, try it and see, really great stuff.
An old favourite story, which I hadn't read for decades. The narration was excellent, and brought out the characterisation really well.
I really enjoyed.
This is the ultimate 'end of the world as we know it' novel. A great story.
"Was totall engrossed"
Epic, memorable, brilliant
The length - I love a long story and this is a real epic.
I agree with other reviews though - the lead up to the event doesn't need to be as long. Also some battles were missed out, I would've liked to have experienced those.
Accents. Very good accents.
Loved it. Just wish it had gone on longer. Have read a few in this genre and it's up there with Earth Abides as my favourite but this has more action. Earth Abides being more philosophical
"Dated and slow"
The advantage of a lot of sci-fi and fantasy is that, as it is set outside of it's own time, it usually dates well. This book however feels very much like a product of the early seventies and this is really apparent in the attitudes of the characters and the roles that women play. The pace is slow and the characters are not particularly interesting. After five hours of listening I decided that I didn't care if any of these people got squished by a comet and hit delete.
Arguably the best apocalyptic novel ever written. Set in the 70s but that only really affected a couple of scenes.
"Much better than those that came after"
It seems a storyline that was killed by Hollywood with some pretty poor movies. But this book is much more entertaining than those well known dodgy movies with similar storylines, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. It has been emulated many times since published in one way or another, but in the disaster survival setting this book follows, it is a very good entertaining story. - Was interested to see that Arthur C Clarke published a book 20 years later called "Gods Hammer" about a comet strike on earth - wonder if they are similar in other ways - would like to get that on Audible... Recommend if you like "end of civilisation" stories with bad guys and heroes.
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