Writing separately, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle are responsible for a number of science fiction classics, such as the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Ringworld, Debt of Honor, and The Integral Trees. Together they have written the critically acclaimed best-sellers Inferno, Footfall, and The Legacy of Heorot, among others. 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.
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All-Time Best Science Fiction Novels (Locus Magazine)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Simon on 25-11-14

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.

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35 of 36 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Karen on 04-02-16

Narrator killing this great book

Any additional comments?

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.

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17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By J. Rhoderick on 12-02-10

A great read!

The Mote in God's Eye, set far in the future, tells the tale of humanity's first contact with an alien species. Despite being first published in 1974, the science holds up fairly well. There are a few funny oddities that show the story's age, such as the mention of "microwave ovens" and "pocket computers" as if we would be shocked by their ubiquity, but these are rare. However, in this tale, the science isn't the star of the show. Rather, it's the nature of humanity and how that nature compares to the Moties who represent a unqiue threat.

The characters, while not of any great depth, are passable for sci-fi. Some reviewers may complain about this but, as an avid sci-fi reader, I have seen much worse. I never really developed any strong attachment to the characters, but I did get to know them well enough to keep the story engaging.

This is a moderately paced story with some parts moving rather quickly and others trudging along. There are a handful of dull portions, mostly involving Empire politics or background exposition, but just when I started feeling bored, the story picked up. The plot, while sometimes predictable, still leaves enough mystery to keep you reading. The story is long, perhaps a bit longer than it needs to be. For example, I think Horace Bury's character added nothing to the story and could have been cut entirely.

I don't understand why some reviewers disliked the narrator. Personally, I think LJ Ganser does a superb job. Ganser can handle a room full of similar characters while giving each one a unique voice. His narration of Admiral Kutuzov deserves a freakin' medal. His reading never once interfered with my ability to absorb the story.

Overall, I'd say this is a great read. It isn't the best first contact story, and it isn't the best sci-fi novel ever written, but it's fun, engaging, and memorable.

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92 of 94 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Michael on 21-08-09

Oldie but goldie

I read this book in paper format more than 30 years ago, but I had forgotten how good it really is. When I saw it available in audible format I jumped at the chance to listen to a previous good read.

Some of the reviews I have read are very hard on the book, but I believe that the are looking in the wrong place. What makes this book so interesting and unique, at least to me, was the idea that humans could encounter aliens so different that all of our assumptions would be wrong. How do two species interact when one is general and adaptive in nature and the other is differiented. That is at the core of this story; at least for me.

The process of meeting, all of the mistaken assumptions and the final realization as to just how different the species are is, I believe, a very interesting story with, for new readers, an unknown conclusion.

But listeners should know that this story is from 1974 and hence some of the story line is 35 years out of date. I believe that to be the cause of some of the bad reviews. Perhaps those listeners did not know the copyright date and might have been more charitable to the male-centered character of the story.

All in all I think this is a nearly great book with more than adequate reading.

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86 of 90 people found this review helpful

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