The Mote In God's Eye is their acknowledged masterpiece, an epic novel of mankind's first encounter with alien life that transcends the genre. No lesser an authority than Robert A. Heinlein called it "possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read".
©1991 Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
It was a good story and a reasonable premise for making contact and how it might happen. It could easily be a 'Star Trek' movie script.
It was a good story, but I tried for some time to find how to download 'Part 2'. The ending, as I eventually discovered, was left hanging. I had a similar feeling of having the story abruptly end without 'finishing' with S King's the Dark Tower series. All those hours and never to learn what the Dark Tower was - Anoying. At least the Mote did not cost 2 arms and a leg.
Emphasis and pace are what any good reader brings to an Audio book. The Kindle Fire allows me to speed up the Audio if I want a faster pace, but emphasis can change the story significantly. Ganser did a nice job of reading.
I listen mostly when I go to bed at night. Generally I listen in increments ranging from 10 minutes to an hour - then the next night I figure out what I last remember. so I know where to start. Only one book recently kept me up much of the night, Killing Lincoln. Takes a little while to get through a book, but the 'many good nights sleep' is well worth it.
I remember reading the 'Mote' paperback 'many' years ago so an Audio book was a great way to go through the book again. I will be doing the Foundation Series shortly. Azimov also uses an 'unfinished' ending technique. I always wonder if the authors know what is next or simply decided to quit writing.
No I think it was very well written.
Niven uses a lot of real tech and real science in the story. It makes the story much more interesting.
A little more destinction between characters would have made it easier to follow in a few of the more complex passages.
There are sequal to this book. I have not read/listened to them yet but I plan to in the future.
Not sure why I decided on some heavy sci-fi lately. At least Mote in God's Eye has a good story to follow. I find the idea of exploring life in other systems very interesting and this does not disappoint. Unfortunately, it's glacial pacing made getting through it difficult at times. It finally hit an interesting climax about 2/3 through and then slows a bit again. Still a good a read. I'm glad Larry Niven teamed with Jerry Pournelle on this or I don't think I could have finished it.
Yes. Niven and Pournelle are unbeatable at writing dialogue and science that is both believable and understandable, yet Hard and accurate.Ganser is a talented vocartist who brings the characters to life.
The terrifying scene on planet where the midshipmen face the Moties.
He has a way of inflecting the words that carry the same subtonal meanings one finds when talking to someone- the difference between hearing someone leave you a message and reading it in an email.
No, the science makes the mind wander away as you contemplate the ramifications of the physics explained to you, so I find I need to stop and think about how my mind was just opened to new ideas. This is a GOOD thing... :)
Niven is one of my alltime favorite authors and I especially recommend any story he has done with Pournelle. Lucifers Hammer and Footfall are great examples besides this.
There was way too much detail in the story. I kept wanting to move on and see if it got any better, but I was still stuck listening to dates and times in the future that meant absolutely nothing to me. Everything was described in such detail that the story moved at a snails pace. After forcing myself to listen for several hours and skipping ahead a few times to see if it got any better, I just gave up. I could not finish it.
NO, I don't like the style of writing that offers so much detail, which adds nothing to the story. The story was like reading a sci-fi comic book, the size of a James Michener Novel.
The story was so boring, it never caught my interest. Even after listening to it for several hours, it was easy for me to walk away from it. I didn't really care what happened next.
Don't waste your money.
Good characters and story
It took me to possible places and events not of our time and place.
The story kept me interested througout most of the book.
No but I was interested throuhout most of the book up to where it ended non-difinitively (as many books do when authors want to leave a thread for the future.
For me it was well worth listening to.
Disappointed. It seemed to fall flat.
He did a fabulous job differentiating between the aliens and the humans.
No. Too long.
I thought it was a good story, but all the reviews I had read made it sound like it was the best first alien encounter ever. I did not agree.
This book was recommended to me by several friends who's opinions I respect so i gave it a shot. It turned out to be one of the most compelling scifi books I've read.
I prefer stories driven by deep, intriguing characters. Stories where you get inside their heads and understand their motivations, plots, dreams, and flaws. That isn't this book.
So why was it so good? Simply put, the grand scale, epic setting of a far flung future and thought provoking first contact between humans and aliens make this book impossible to ignore. I found myself thinking of the fundamental dilemas at the heart of the story well after I was finished reading it. The alien race is very convincing in it's detailed non-humanness. This is really the star of the book. L J Ganser does a good job in verbalizing this alienness and narrating in general.
I feel like the end was frustrating but on reflection I found it believable- we tend do solve our problems today in ways that don't really solve them... I can't say much more without spoiling things. :)
Keeping in mind that "Mote" was written in the 1970's may help those who can't accept the technological and cultural oddities that date it but I treated those elements as part of a human civilizations set so far in the future that it would have very little in common with ours that it kind of worked.
Science Geeks Only!
I loved how all the physics in this book added up. Perhaps this wouldn't appeal or mater to most, or even confuse others. I loved the science and thought put into the story, but I know that same science will push others away.
To me, he read the book in to much of a 'super hero' way. He tried to make even the simple things sound epic in his narration and it often took away from what really mattered in the story. The accents he gave the characters were wonderful, though the voices themselves could have been more distinguished.
No, nor would it have been possible to do so. As much as I enjoyed this book some times I needed a break from it.
the story is just dated - narrator is a ham
it doesnt hold up - had high hopes, but feels like a story from the 70s
he's a ham - artificial delivery
"Listen before you buy!"
This might be a good book.........I wouldn?t know.
My own fault, I should have listened to an excerpt.
The narrator reads it as if every fourth word comes as a complete surprise to him. The intonation of his sentences gives the distinct impression that he hasn?t prepared in any way for the job of telling this story. Reading the book quietly to himself in advance might be a good start!
His attempts at differentiating between the voices of different characters takes the form of speaking more loudly or attempting an impersonation of a Scotsman (I recommend him not to try it in Sauchiehall Street on a Saturday night).
I was bitterly disappointed that I had wasted my money on this pathetic attempt and would ask Audible to consider instituting a satisfaction guarantee. I am afraid I was unprepared for such a bad attempt at reading a book after the excellent narration I have experienced in the 20 or so other books I have bought. Quite frankly I have heard better narration in the free public access books produced by amateur volunteers for organisations like LibraVox.
"A classic showing its age"
This is a very decent book but for me it shows its age in some respects. It tackles one of the classic Sci Fi themes of humanity's first contact with intelligent alien life forms. I think the authors deserve enormous credit for how they attempted to deal with both sides of the story representing the points of view of the human and Mote races as the plot unfolds. Possibly the real strength in the story is that most of us would sympathise with both sides as they try to navigate their way through the intricacies of contact. This is no simple humans versus nasty aliens tale!
That said, I found some of the characters a bit shallow, more caricature than character. Compared to more recent fiction I felt the human characters lacked an edge and were a bit one-dimensional and predictable in their reactions to the situations they faced.
The book isn't fast moving as you'd expect given the dual approach it has to what is a very complex subject. It is though a satisfying book despite its length and I felt well narrated. There is a certain quaintness about how the English traditions of aristocracy and naval terminology survived into an Inter-stellar Empire and its armed forces. Even so, it adds to the charm of what has been a much-loved book for four decades.
"Very glad I went back to this"
This book is well known in SF circles as a classic. A must read for any SF fan. Well I did try to read it as a teenager and failed to get into it. I have now read it as an audiobook because I listen to Leo Laporte's TWiT podcasts and he had Jerry Pournelle on one of his shows. They mentioned the book and I felt I should revisit it.
Very glad I did. It is a masterpiece. The success of the book hinges on the nature of the aliens (Moties), their biology, history, the way they consist of a collection of specialised sub-species, their planetary circumstances, the consequences of all those taken together and the dilemma it creates for the humans.
The specialised castes are particularly frightening. Sub sentient engineers who can't talk but could get hold of your car, fiddle around with it for 5 minutes and hand back to you something that would win the next Monaco GP. Then there are the mediators who can observe humans, quickly learn their language and mimic and understand them so well they appear to read minds.
Humans are presented as clumsy jacks of all trades. Put them up against any of the specialised Moties in in their specialist area and the humans are in trouble. Fancy trying to negotiate the future relationship between humans and Moties against a Motie mediator who knows you better than you know yourself?
The book does show its age. There is a rationale for the human political system, the pre-eminence of the aristocracy, religion, military service values (the human spaceship navy runs exactly like the US Navy) but you'd still expect things to be further removed from today given the setting 1,000 years into our future.
And the narrator is utterly clueless about Scottish accents to the point of cringe-making embarrassment. That is no exaggeration. And his portrayal of the only female character is painfully stereotyped.
"Classic story, appaling narration"
The reader attempts a Scottish accent which is slightly less accurate (and vastly more annoying) than Dick Van Dyck's notorious faux-cockney.
"Worst Scottish accent, ever."
apparently writing a review is optional, but the app won't let me submit my headline without 40 words, so that's what this is. Really, it's a terrible accent.
"Narrator killing this great book"
I read this book many years ago and loved it. I was really looking forward to hearing it but the narrator is just killing it. I suffered it thinking I would get used to his strange cadence but about 30 minutes in he started on a Scottish accent which was like nails on a chalkboard. I just canny take it captain! I'm going to have to hunt down the paperback.
A better narrator
No, I absolutely love sci fi.
Peter Kenny absolutely, he would have been fantastic.
A lot of it. I listened to this as it is on a lot of the 'greatest sci fi' lists but I found the story uncompelling, dated, and disappointing.
I would suggest that if anyone wants to do this book that they read it, the narrator is aweful.
"The best 'First Contact' novel ever"
I first read this book 20 years ago and was totally engrossed. It mixes a great mix of characters in a struggling future Empire of Man with the effects of the sudden discovery - at last - of a totally alien race.
It combines great entertainment with thought provoking situations. The background to it is a really logical and believable science.
I think it's the best thing that Niven has written or co-written and that's a big claim.
The reading is OK - a strong American accent but then that represents the racial background of the lead character Roderick Blaine. The pace is good and him pronunciation is right too.
This is a long, engrossing listen that will draw you into the sequels.
"Best First Contact sci-fi out there."
The Mote in God's Eye is an exquisite tour de force novel that tries, within limits, to present the most likely outcome that may result on that day, far in the future, when the human race finally encounters another intelligent species. With homour and homage to earlier science fiction work(like a ship's engineer with a thick Scotttish accent!), the authors tackle the deep fears, positive and negative prejudice, that such a discovery can present. Unlike most modern sci-fi which nowadays tend to be about fantastical situations and technolgies, this book is that genuine expression of rarefied science speculation that one can try and rationally explain, to a certain extent, without it all becoming gibberish or nonsensical. Well written piece of hard science fiction. Recommended to all serious sci-fi fans.
"Not what I expected, but good."
I would have given 4 stars for the enjoyment I got from the book, as it is good - but I found that the description did not quite match up to the experience so only gave 3 - possibly 35 years when published it would have been fair to describe as "....transcends the genre" - it really doesn't nowadays, though if you see past the fact it is a little dated it is a very enjoyable book. I think a fairer description is necessary though.
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