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.
The book got me thinking about how social values evolved; as well as the capacity of humans to grow and evolve. Liked the story. A lot of folks thought the social norms were dated but .... I thought it was an interesting twisted to have a society that had advance technologically but "regressed" socially. Made it more interesting to think about how technology influenced our social norms.
I find often find it hard to follow all the supporting charters in audio books. (Think I'm more visual), but after a few chapters I had the team of character down. While I found the "out date social norms of many of the characters "cheesy"... I liked how it worked together and was able to believe that people would respond in such a manner.
The Russian Admiral was my favorite because he was honest and complex. And even if you didn't agree with his perspective you could respect that he was playing his role.
I liked the narration. Think it hard for men to do female characters but he did a good job with the variety of men. Thought he established different rhythms and patterns for each.
not an interesting story...too much detail
He didn't have much to work with
don't remember any of them
There was always something new going on.
The subject line had good continuity
There was good character interpretation.
Be careful of alien sentients.
Solid political storyline.
I'm always impressed by Sci-Fi writers who can both accurately write about the political landscape of their time and who can predict the type of technology we will use in the future.
No I haven't.
I enjoyed both
I loved the Moties.
I enjoyed the narration.
I loved this story when I first read it years ago and still do. Wish the story line had continued through more stories Available on Audible.
It was hard to get into at first because the narrator seemed noisy. Maybe it was because the last book I listened to had a really good narrator, but this narrator took a lot of getting used to. The story was good, though, and I can recommend this audiobook.
This is one of the sci-fi classics. Space battle, politics, and ethical questions are all over this book. If you enjoy those types of stories, then this should be a very enjoyable listen.
Yes, the story proved to be exciting and kept my attention throughout. I found the main characters to be well developed and their interactions realistic.
The ship's captain who was put in an imposible position seemed to use great logic in finding solutions where none seemed possible
No, this was the first. I found the reader to be clear and deliberate.
The book made me think much about how we would handle a situation of first contact with an alien world. I woul hope we would do better.
A long book, but worth the time.
This was an easy story for listening, comprehension and was enjoyable. I would enjoy reading the next installment whenever it comes along.
"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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