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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,233
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Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

Great book, great narrator.

plot: comet hits earth, civilization crumbles.

definitely among niven/pournelle's best, and if you like the genre (end of the world) it is a classic. originally published in 1977, some aspects are understandably dated (cold war still in full swing, 'pocket computers'-i.e. calculators-are the height of technology) but it still feels relevant.

the narration is very good also, well-paced and inflected without being melodramatic and annoying.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ahmed
  • Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
  • 02-11-10

Superb Narrator & an epic story

I cannot say enough good things about the Narrator of this book. He acts every character in the book (and they are plenty) with specific tones that are consistent through out the book leading to the listener knowing who is talking without waiting for the book text to explain who the character is. It felt throughout as a very well acted drama adding depth and meaning to the story.

The story itself is very well written with plenty of science, suspense, and drama.
Highly recommended book. Even if you read the text, listening to Marc Vietor read this book is a completely immersive experience.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Daniel
  • Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 01-06-10

Throughly enjoyable.

Just finished the book and I couldn't wait to write a review. Very enjoyable listen. A bit slow at the beginning as there are a lot of characters to introduce, but man oh man I couldn't stay away after that. The book is a realistic description of how a massive comet strike would affect the planet and an interesting take on how society would react to it. Lucifer's Hammer is well worth your time.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Ian
  • Frankston South, Australia
  • 02-26-12

Half Decent

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.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Bret
  • Baton Rouge, LA, United States
  • 06-03-10

Good Book

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Timeless writing

This audiobook, written in 1977, is timeless. The characters and events which take place, could easily take place today. Well worth the listen.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • cristina
  • Somerville, MA, United States
  • 01-07-13

Good Old Fashioned Armageddon

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

well worth it

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!!!!!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ronald
  • Davenport, IA, United States
  • 07-27-09

A Good Listen

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The Comet takes too long to hit

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...

16 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Marc H
  • 06-08-12

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • rasmus
  • 01-03-18

Very scientific!

Very good story and many yet unique characters. I loved how modern it felt, even though it's supposed to be about the 70s

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  • Steve Hocking
  • 09-13-17

A plausible account of what might happen post an asteroid strike

It's a long book that takes its time getting to anything remotely exciting. It hasn't though aged well, none of the characters are very interesting or likeable. I don't doubt that this was a major work in its day. I don't think it really stacks up to much modern comparisons. It's not time wasted but I wouldn't really recommend it. or read it again

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  • Taylor's
  • 07-15-17

awesome!

took a little while to get going but it's an epic rollercoaster of a story, great story great production great narration.

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  • simon
  • 06-19-17

Best book that I ever listened to

The world can survive If everyone pulls together.the dawning of a new age after a comet strike.

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  • Gerard the dog
  • 11-26-16

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

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  • Paul Ransted
  • 08-14-16

Showing its age

Written in 1977 and showing its age now. However concept is still good and holds true

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  • Erika
  • 03-22-16

Exciting page turner

Would you consider the audio edition of Lucifer's Hammer to be better than the print version?

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.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the excitement of survival following the natural disaster that changed the world. There was a feeling that this could be real.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

My experience of this book was not that of a book that moves you, its more for the excitement of the journey.

Any additional comments?

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.

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  • Pod55
  • 11-05-15

Excellent.

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.

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  • Stella OMara
  • 03-19-14

Excellent

What made the experience of listening to Lucifer's Hammer the most enjoyable?

This is the ultimate 'end of the world as we know it' novel. A great story.