1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $21.95

Buy for $21.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

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.

Critic Reviews

“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)

What listeners say about Footfall

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    770
  • 4 Stars
    690
  • 3 Stars
    358
  • 2 Stars
    115
  • 1 Stars
    63
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    734
  • 4 Stars
    478
  • 3 Stars
    211
  • 2 Stars
    30
  • 1 Stars
    41
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    625
  • 4 Stars
    502
  • 3 Stars
    235
  • 2 Stars
    79
  • 1 Stars
    51

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle at Their Best

Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle have written a lot of books together, but for me this is their best! Footfall is a story that takes place in the 1980s when a hostile alien spaceship visits the earth; where dominating U.S. and Russian governments distrust each other. Larry and Jerry give you insight to the inner workings of U.S. and Russian governments as they prepare for this first alien encounter and possible war with each other. They also give you insight to the Aliens plans and politics as they make their approach Earth. I find Footfall to be one of the more believable stories that concerns first Alien contact with earth and how the people of Earth would react. For those Larry Niven fans; Footfall is OLD Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelleat their VERY best.

The narration of Footfall by Macleod Andrews is great. I first listened to Macleod listening to Sandman Slim and later purchased The Lock Artist; just to hear Macleod again. I was happy to hear Macleod on this recording of Footfall.

Footfall is hard science fiction at its best.

43 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Keeper

Based on reviews so far, it looks like this is going to be one of those audios that you either love or hate. I love this book and this audio. In fact, I just finished reading it for the sixth or seventh time earlier this year and still purchased it on audio. I wasn't disappointed. It is classic Niven and Pournelle, and, I think, their best. It has an intelligent, engaging story line populated by believable characters. I don't find it to be a right wing rant. I do hear these two SF writers speaking with frustration over what happened to the space program after Apollo. I disagree with their love for nuclear plants, but none of that detracts from the story line. And, it has one of the best space battle scenes ever written.

As for the narration, I thought it was excellent. I had no trouble understanding it and I'm frankly amazed that they found a reader willing to take it on. The invaders' names are bad enough: Pastempeh-Keph, Fathisteh-tulk, K'turfookrph etc. There are around twenty of those characters. But there is also the invaders' language that is sprinkled liberally through-out the novel which is just as tongue twisting. Then there are at least 30 important human characters, as well as a cast of twenty or so more. In some scenes, the narrator has to try and differentiate conversations among a group of ten or twelve humans, adult and children, men and women, as well as several male and female aliens. I'm willing to give him a pass if he has a problem making each voice in the scene distinctive enough.

I heartily recommend this audio version to those who love the book and to those who have never sampled it before. This is one I know I'll listen to again.

32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

My favorite sci-fi book

Classic Alien Invasion of Earth. It doesn't get much better. It was written 25 years ago, but nonetheless doesn't seem dated. Some reviewers disliked the narrator's performance and pronunciation of alien names and dialog. I can't DISAGREE more! Ok, a few sentences I rewound the recording to listen again, but maybe 2 or 3 times during the entire book. The narrator essentially read the names and dialog exactly the way I'd pictured it when I read the book years ago. I recommend this, I recommend Niven and Pournelle's "The Mote in God's Eye," and I also recommend another great alien invasion/first contact story: Michael Flynn's "Eifelheim." Not sure which is my favorite sci-fi book of all time: Footfall or Eifelheim.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Science Fiction Writers in a TR7 Save the Day

I tried very hard to like this book. I listened to over 10 hours of this day long book (24 and a half hours) After about six hours I went to check the reviews to see if they said things like, well it started slow, but then really pick up. Nobody said that. They either loved it from start to finish or hated it.

I liked the idea of Alien Elephants, although elephants skydiving seem a little stupid, but not as stupid as the government turning to Science Fiction Writers to save the day. That seemed more like a Niven/Pournelle wet dream.

I think N&P tried to hard to build characters and several of them at that. The problem being, that is not there strong suit. I found I could not care about any of the characters. If they would have narrowed it down to a couple of humans and a alien invader it might have been possible, they just bit off more then they could chew.

It was seven hours into the book before we even hear from the aliens. It was about eight hours into the book before they even invaded.

Narrator didn't help much, he was not very good.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Tedious and disorganized

Footfall was one of the most tedious science fiction book I've ever read... or listened to in this case. The book had way too many "main" characters, most of whom had no bearing on the outcome of the book. Some seemed completely pointless. The alien names were unnecessarily complex and having a section of the book describing their language and its construction seemed self indulgent (of the authors) and tedious.

The book suffered from uninteresting characters, a lack of coherent story line, pointless dialogue, and unbelievable events. The premise was interesting (alien invasion), but the execution was poor, with the book jumping from place to place for seemingly no reason... certainly not to advance the plot.

I give it two stars only because the narrator of the audio book (MacLeod Andrews) was simply spectacular. The man deserves a medal for pulling off the bizarre pronunciations and for making the aliens' speech very distinctive from the humans. His narration was the reason I was able to suffer through the book to the (disappointing) ending.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Yet again, great book, pity about the narrator

As with all Niven/Pournelle's collaborations, a great read, but sadly I was unable to finish the audio version because of the irritating reader. Too much acting and silly voices. Not enough punctuation. My star rating refers only to the reading. For the book itself I would give five stars.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

great story but...

This is a great story. I read the book at least three times when I was younger. The story is still wonderful, it's the reader that made me not finish the audio version. The main problem is his voicing of the aliens. I assume the reader attempts to sound like what a talking elephant would sound like. The problem is you can't understand everything the characters are saying. More importantly, the readers pronunciations of the alien names are unintelligible. It was impossible for me to keep up with which alien was talking or which one was being referenced. I was very much looking forward. to an audible release of one of my favorite books and now that it's here it is un-listenable. Very sad. At least Lucifer's Hammer lived up to all my expectations.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Fantastic work. Must listen, and about Andrews...

... Most of the complaints about this reading seem to focus on Andrews' reading of the books. Personally, I found the reading very well done. I like to get a sense of the different characters, and I found Andrews did a fantastic job of this. Some complained about the accents of the Aliens or the Russians, but I really found it well done, if only a bit over the top. It helped me keep the relatively long cast separate. On to the book.

I really enjoyed two of Niven/Pournelle's other famous works - Ringworld and the Mote in God's Eye. Particularly in the case of Mote, I enjoyed having some real *alien* aliens. The guys do a great job again in the case of Footfall. The aliens feel pretty fleshed out, and have a reasonably detailed culture.

The humans are a bit more one dimensional, but still interesting. Again, the cast is pretty large, and in the beginnings of the book it's a bit difficult to keep them straight, but they all end up meshing well, and serving to add interest and richness to the story.

Anyway, interesting book, and worth a shot. If you really like the performance aspect of the reading, than likely the reader won't bug you. If you prefer a more straight reading, then I'd probably check out something else.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Narration limits enjoyment of the story

I'd have to agree with the other reviewers. The voice acting is over-the-top. Please don't make all the Russian voices sound like Pavel Chekov from the original Star Trek. I really wish narrators would just stop it with the ethnic voices. The alien voices are just terrible. I realize that narrator had his hands tied when it came to pronouncing the alien names, but simpering, lisping alien voices are distracting. Just read the damn story.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

classic Sci Fi

Larry and Jerry built a believable alien race and a believable human reaction to them. Well written and well read

6 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for John
  • John
  • 07-01-11

An effort to understand!

I was recommended this book to read but decided to get it from Audible, as I was doing some long road journeys and it would be most convenient to listen to it on my iPhone, however the narrator has used a very heavy accent, which makes listening in a car very hard work - I frequently had to rewind to understand the story.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-26-21

Not their best, by a long way.

Having written both individually and together, some of the best books and stories I have ever read, I was expecting the usual great things from this. Sadly though, it was difficult to believe Niven and Pournelle were actually responsible for this.
The stereotypical USA is amazing and the Russians can't be trusted was so overplayed it was nauseating. Could also have been half the length as so much of it served no purpose whatsoever. The main characters were all one dimensional or never developed at all and I would not have cared had they all been killed off in short order. I kept listening in the hope that as it was written by Niven & Pournelle it would get better. It turned out to be a wait in vain. Doesn't put me off either author though as I know whatever I haven't yet read from either of them is going to be excellent as they got all the bad stuff out in one go with this.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David, Derbyshire
  • David, Derbyshire
  • 09-13-17

Amazing Narration

The story was good, some characterisation was a little dated but the narration was amazing!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for S. J. ATTWOOD
  • S. J. ATTWOOD
  • 06-10-16

One of the better First Contact novels

Had the book, lost it. . found this. . Great story by these guys together with The Mote in God's eye they nailed it.
Apart from some dodgy Russian accents and the women all sounding a bit. . weak. . Its a great listen. .

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bruce
  • Bruce
  • 08-06-21

very good

enjoyed it, wished there was a follow up. would recommend it to sci-fi fans

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Peter Comninos
  • Peter Comninos
  • 07-18-21

A Classic SF masterwork

One of the best first contact stories with a very realistic depiction of an alien society. The female characters are a bit wimpy (which is sexist by today's standards), but was fairly common at the time the original book was written - at about the time when women's lib was beginning to take off. I am old enough to remember the bad old times. Excellent narration.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for EPS
  • EPS
  • 05-21-21

Poor quality narration

The great storyline was let down by the narrators terrible accents. Consequently I only managed to listen to half of the book before I could stand the accents no mor!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Andy
  • Andy
  • 12-31-20

always loved this

read it years ago and always found it memorable. the performance was good, the listing was a bit irritating, but that's aliens for you.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for A J MCGARRY
  • A J MCGARRY
  • 12-05-18

Great book great narration

always liked this book, now listened to it as an audio story, still really engaging where characters matter and the story of desperate plight of human kind is brilliant.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bill
  • Bill
  • 06-05-18

Footfall - invasion

This is one of the best alien invasion stories I have ever read or listened to.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bruce
  • Bruce
  • 08-18-18

Footfall

Brilliant ScFi at its best .Nobody write about Aliens like Niven and Pournelle the best .

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 04-13-21

Better every time

I never tire of reading or listening to footfall this is the 4 th time
A great story

.