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Lucifer's Hammer Mass Market Paperback – May 12, 1985


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

I think this is one of the most exciting, inspiring books I've ever read. Humankind, faced with overwhelming cataclysm, regroups to fight its way back to civilization. All the way back; no settling for another uncomfortable, time-wasting Dark Age. It is a story with brain and heart--and a lot of both--and I can't figure how it missed that list of the hundred best books of the century.

--Veronica Chapman, Senior Editor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

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....
"Massively entertaining."
CLEVELAND PLAIN-DEALER
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (May 12, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449208133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449208137
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (599 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Very well developed storyline and characters.
David A. Tucker
I read this book when it first came out and I just finished reading it for the third time.
Koontz Fan
It means you, as the reader, will really care what happens to these people; good, or bad.
Rick O

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

346 of 360 people found the following review helpful By Michael P. Clawson on October 18, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There have been so many reviews accusing this book of being racist that I guess I'll have to address that issue before I can even talk about my opinion of the book. What a lot of people don't seem to realize these days is that there's a differnce between portraying racism (e.g. in a novel) and actually supporting racism. In my opinion Niven and Pournelle weren't trying to stereotype blacks or make any kind of political statement, they were simply depicting something that could likely take place. It's not all that far fetched to believe that an inner city LA gang of African-Americans would band together after an apocalypse and might hook up with a radical fanaticist army promising them power, plenty to eat, and no racial barriers. And they weren't the only ones doing this. As I remember, they weren't even the ones who started the cannibalism. That was an army platoon mainly composed of white guys who did that, and forced everyone else to come on board or else starve or be killed. As I see it Niven and Pournelle gave a fairly accurate depiction of race relations as they stood in 1970. If I thought they were deliberately targeting one group or another and trying to negatively stereotype them, I could just as easily complain that this book is biased against Christians since it displayed the leader of the cannibals as an insane preacher. But I don't complain because I know they weren't trying to take potshots at Christianity, they were merely portraying what could happen, same as they were portraying what could happen to an inner city gang after the end of the world.
That being said. I do think that this book was one of the best end of the world stories I have read yet. It is riveting and you won't be able to put it down after the Hammer actually falls.
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191 of 201 people found the following review helpful By Alan R. Holyoak on January 19, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I just finished "Lucifer's Hammer," and, well, I'm impressed! Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle have done a wonderful job in weaving a tale of excitement, fear, devastation, fear, desperation, and hope. This is 5-star sci-fi all the way!
If all you read is the first 100 pages, however, you probably won't agree with that. You see, the first part of the book is a bit slow in getting moving, but that's because the authors introduce a whole string of characters that interact with one another as the story and the action unfolds. And once the action starts, it doesn't stop. In fact, it makes you want to store some food, some water, some other things...and get ready for what COULD happen.
As I started reading this book I thought to myself, this book has many similarities with the movie "Deep Impact." Was I ever wrong with that assumption! This book goes way beyond "Deep Impact." It goes beyond it in that this book is not so much about events surrounding a comet-earth collision as it is about the aftermath, and how people do or do not cope with that kind of calamity.
Imagine this...world-wide cataclysmic events wipe out the major governments on the planet -- national, state, and local governments collapse, and people are left to fend for themselves. What will they do for food, shelter, personal safety, information, etc.? It's a whole new ballgame out there! The kinds of challenges described in the book bring out the best in some people, the worst in others, and trapped in the middle of everything that's happening are the characters you'll come to know quite well.
The characters are, for the most part, believable, the plot development is rivetting, and the conclusion is satisfying.
Do good guys always finish first? Do they even survive?
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100 of 105 people found the following review helpful By Schtinky VINE VOICE on May 5, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Stephen King's 'The Stand' was virus, Robert R. McCammon's 'Swan Song' was nuclear, Thomas Disch's 'The Genocides' was alien plant growth, Walter J. Williams 'The Rift' was earthquake; and 'Lucifer's Hammer' is annihilation by comet. Each of these books are 'must have's' for fans of Apocalypse Fiction.

The major protagonist is Tim Hamner, a rich-boy with nothing to do but indulge his fascination with the stars. Hamner, along with a young boy named Gavin Brown from Iowa, discover a comet heading towards earth. The comet, Hamner-Brown, soon becomes known as The Hammer, as scientists plot its course closer and closer to Earth's orbit.

Hamner makes acquaintance with Harvey Randall, a news reporter who wants to make a documentary series on the comet. Joining with them is Dr. Charles Sharps from the Jet Propulsion Laboratories, Senator Arthur Jellison and his daughter Maureen, Dr. Dan Forrester, an astronomy Phd and computer programmer, a team of astronauts, and a dedicated postal worker named Harry Newcombe.

The story centers around Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley, after pieces of the "calved" comet hit all across the world, causing first earthquakes and then a massive tidal wave to hit the Los Angeles basin. Senators, rich men, thieves and killers are suddenly made equal in the wake of Mother Nature. Rich and poor take on a whole new meaning in a society that suddenly has different values and different needs.

Senator Jellison owns a ranch in the foothills of the Sierras, and along with his neighbor George Christopher begins to form an aftermath society bent on survival at all costs.
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