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The Gripping Hand Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1994

3.4 out of 5 stars 154 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Mote Series

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Pandemic by Sonia Shah
"Beacon 23"
A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This adequate but inconsequential sequel to The Mote in God's Eye explores xenophobia and overpopulation in a futuristic world.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Publisher

Robert Heinlein called it "possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read." The San Francisco Chronicle declared that "as science fiction, The Mote in God's Eye is one of the most important novels ever published." Now Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, award winning authors of such bestsellers as Footfall and The Legacy of Heorot, return us to the Mote, and to the universe of Kevin Renner and Horace Bury, of Rod Blaine and Sally Fowler. There, 25 years have passed since humanity quarantined the mysterious aliens known as Moties within the confines of their own solar system. They have spent a quarter century analyzing and agonizing over the deadly threat posed by the only aliens mankind has ever encountered-- a race divided into distinct biological forms, each serving a different function. Master, Mediator, Engineer. Warrior. Each supremely adapted to its task, yet doomed by millions of years of evolution to an inescapable fate. For the Moties must breed-- or die. And now the fragile wall separating them and the galaxy beyond is beginning to crumble.END

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (January 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671795740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671795740
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #692,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was very disappointed with "The Gripping Hand". I read "The Mote in God's Eye" over 20 years ago and just re-read it in preparation for reading the sequel. "The Mote" was as good as I remembered even though it got a bit "sappy" with the Blaine/Fowler relationship towards the end. I expected the Blaines to be the central characters in "The Gripping Hand". To my dismay, one of my least favorite characters from "The Mote", Horace Bury, is the central character! I didn't buy the "evolution" of the Moties. It didn't seem like a natural evolution from "The Mote". Why were these space fairing Moties so strong? Why didn't they conquer Mote Prime for its land and where did they get their material since they appeared to have raped every asteroid, comet, etc in the Mote system? Why did they like Bury so much? That was never a point in "The Mote". As for the humans, the only likable character is Kevin Renner. The other characters are bland and annoying. I expected more from the Blaine children. The son is just another navy officer and the daughter is a precocious teenager. And what ever happened to Terry and Jennifer? Where was the blockade fleet at the Alderson point? What happened to Rod and Sally? They were summoned to New Cal and then that story line was dropped! There is so much "filler" in the book -- filler that neither helped move the story nor developled the characters. I had to struggle to complete this novel. "The Gripping Hand" is a disappointing, slow moving novel that limped along towards an uneventful ending.
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By A Customer on December 6, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A very disappointing sequel. Like many others who have commented, I am a big fan of "The Mote in God's Eye", and although sequels often fall short of the original, this one fell shorter than most. It has flaws that would discredit a first novel by an unknown author, quite frankly: characters are introduced and developed, made interesting, and then dropped without explanation and never referred to again. Same for subplots. The dialogue is confusing, and the protagonists make leaps of logic that I found impossible to follow.
Perhaps worst of all, I did not recognize the "Empire" of this story as being the same "Empire" from TMIGE. Certainly, 30 years had passed, but too many things had been stood on their heads, and none of the characters seemed to have noticed. It was as if the authors decided that the social and political background of the first book was no longer commercial, and so they performed major surgery on it -- unfortunately doing a sloppy job and killing the patient in the process.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
What a tremendous disappointment! I have read "The Mote in God's Eye" perhaps a dozen times over the years. When I recently discovered an old copy of this sequel I was delighted. Until about the fifth page. After that, it just kept going downhill. Gone from this is any concern for character development which so enlivened the first book. Gone are intuitive and creative insights into the minds of the moties (remember how the first novel gave us large sections of their thinking in italics?). Gone is any sense of a coherent plot (whatever happened to Jennifer and her colleague trapped aboard the Khanate mother ships?). Perhaps most sadly, gone is any sense of the danger and mystery of these strange creatures. There is nothing surprising or interesting or frightening about them any more. They are more like a plague of ants than a fearsome race that actually could destroy mankind. It reminded me of the difference between the creature in the movie Alien who was impossible to kill, compared to the way the sequel, Aliens, showed them dying left and right as though they were mere bugs.

What has replaced these wonders from the first book are: more of the authors' juvenile sexual fantasies (yes, again, we see young girls being forced to strip in front of moties, a promiscuous Kevin Renner moving from one meaningless lustful relationship to another, even poor Horace Bury has a concubine/MD/amazon guardian who actually lays on top of him in the final scene!); a boring and really bad "chase sequence" (really dull); incoherent dialogue; tedious allusions to a "gripping hand;" broken plot lines and dropped characters (why introduce Sarah if she's going to just disappear halfway through the novel for no reason?); and endlessly boring Nivenesque discussions of space travel and starship warfare and the mechanics and mathematics thereof.

I actually threw the book across the room when finished. So disappointing.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Mote in God's Eye was one of the best sci-fi stories of the last 30-odd years. In order to stand up to it, Niven and Pournelle had to produce something really good. They didn't make it.
First of all, the story of "The Gripping Hand" makes very little sense unless you have read "The Mote.." Even then, the story of the sequel doesn't hang together very well. For one thing, the first part where the threat of Moties breaking out turns out to be a false alarm doesn't seem like it goes with the rest of the book. It's as if the authors wrote two different stories about the same people and pasted them together. Most of the characters introduced in that first part except for Renner, Bury, and Bury's companion Cynthia disappear.
I think that the authors have taken too many of the interesting sharp edges off of both Renner and Bury. In particular, Bury was much more convincing as the man out to increase his power no matter what (in "The Mote..") rather than the Arab patriot he became in the sequel. As for Rod and Sally Blaine, the walk-on part they have is dull and so are they. A reviewer complained that the authors don't get inside the mind of an 18-year old girl, Glenda Ruth Blaine, very well. Maybe not, but anyone who has ever dealt with teenagers will immediately recognize the "I'm 18, I know absolutely everything, and you're morons" mindset. They may not have a very accurate view from the inside, but their portrait from the outside is dead on. I did think that the motivation for her going to the Mote system with the birth control bug worked.
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