The Mote in God's Eye
Copyright 1974 by
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
I first read this in 1976 and most recently in May 2001
Rod Blaine, 28th in line to the throne of the Second Empire is serving
time in the Navy. He's just recovering from putting down a rebellion on
one of the colony planets and he's hit with handling the long-awaited
the initial contact with an alien probe. Then to cap it all, he gets
sent to the alien home world. Nice as these "Moties" appear, there's a
lot more to them than is initially apparent. For one thing, they're
potentially smarter than humans, for another they've been around
a much longer, and finally they may be hiding some very unpleasant
Still, it will Rod's job, along wih Sally Fowler, Admiral Kutuzov, Renner, Staley,
Potter and Whitbread and many others to decide whether to welcome the
Motie civilisation into the Empire, or to obliterate it.
This is classic hard space opera with a dash of starship troopers, it's not
what you would call a mature and introspective novel - the sequel
"The Gripping Hand" is more accomplished. However, it rocks, and along
with that, it has the best aliens of any space opera book.
Now a word on the continuing problem of astoundingly bad book bindings.
My original copy of "Mote" is safely stored in Wing 1, Silo 7, so out
here, in Wing 3, I've had to rely on a quick Amazon order to get a copy
to re-read. Well it arrived fast and it gave up the ghost up just as
quickly. Over thirty pages fell out as I read the book. It's a "Pocket Book" from Simon and Shuster and
it's obviously intended as a read-once disposable book. You may ask what percentage
of these "Pocket Books" fall apart on initial reading. I assume it's less
than 10% for one would expect sales to suffer if too high a percentage
fell apart. Perhaps publishers use some carefully balanced function of
number of refunds against the cost of glue. Alternatively, perhaps one is
meant to remove a few pages at a time and stuff them in your pocket,
returning them to the book once they're read.
Loaded on the 24th May 2001.