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The Mote in God's Eye (The Mote Series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Larry Niven , Jerry Pournelle
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (327 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $8.99
Kindle Price: $6.35
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Book Description

The united 'Second Empire of Man' spans vast distances, due to the Alderson Drive which has enabled humans to travel easily between the stars. After an alien probe is discovered, the Navy dispatches two ships to determine whether the aliens pose a threat… Called by Robert A. Heinlein: "Possibly the greatest science fiction novel ever written," this magnificent exploration of first contact and a truly alien society is a "must read" for science fiction fans.

"As science fiction, one of the most important novels ever published."
- San Francisco Chronicle

"Possibly the greatest science fiction novel I have ever read."
- Robert A. Heinlein

"A superlatively fine novel…no writer has ever come up with a more appealing, intriguing, and workable concept of aliens."
- Columbus Dispatch

"A spellbinder, a swashbuckler…And, best of all, it has a brilliant new approach to that fascinating problem -- first contact with aliens."
- Frank Herbert

"One of the most engrossing tales I've read in year…fascinating."
- Theodore Sturgeon

"Intriguing and suspenseful…the scenes in which the humans and aliens examine one another are unforgettable."
- Minneapolis Tribune

“Nobody does it better than Niven and Pournelle”
- Tom Clancy

“The team of Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven is one of the best in science fiction.”
- The Washington Times

“Few writers have a better pedigree”
- Los Angeles Times


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In the year 3016, the Second Empire of Man spans hundreds of star systems, thanks to the faster-than-light Alderson Drive. No other intelligent beings have ever been encountered, not until a light sail probe enters a human system carrying a dead alien. The probe is traced to the Mote, an isolated star in a thick dust cloud, and an expedition is dispatched.

In the Mote the humans find an ancient civilization--at least one million years old--that has always been bottled up in their cloistered solar system for lack of a star drive. The Moties are welcoming and kind, yet rather evasive about certain aspects of their society. It seems the Moties have a dark problem, one they've been unable to solve in over a million years.

This is the first collaboration between Niven and Pournelle, two masters of hard science fiction, and it combines Pournelle's interest in the military and sociology with Niven's talent for creating interesting, believable aliens. The novel meticulously examines every aspect of First Contact, from the Moties' biology, society, and art, to the effects of the meeting on humanity's economics, politics, and religions. And all the while suspense builds as we watch the humans struggle toward the truth. --Brooks Peck

Review

Robert Heinlein Possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read.

San Francisco Chronicle As science fiction, one of the most important novels ever published.

Columbus Dispatch A superlatively fine novel...no writer has ever come up with a more appealing, intriguing, and workable concept of aliens.

Frank Herbert A spellbinder, a swashbuckler...And, best of all, it has a brilliant new approach to that fascinating problem -- first contact with aliens.

Theodore Sturgeon One of the most engrossing tales I've read in years...fascinating.

Minneapolis Tribune Intriguing and suspenseful...the scenes in which the humans and aliens examine one another are unforgettable.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1237 KB
  • Print Length: 596 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0671741926
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004YDL2CY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,868 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
76 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the greatest SF novel I've ever read... January 26, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Starting on an unusual note; The Mote In God's Eye is the only SF book I have ever bought before reading. This may seem stupid, but I'm very glad I did it. Niven and Pournelle have succeeded in knocking Frank Herbert's Dune off my mental 'Best Books Ever!' list's top spot.
It's a fascinating tale of mankind's first contact with an utterly alien race - and for once, these aliens aren't all-powerful conquerers of worlds with but one weakness. Indeed, in many respects the Moties have problems similar to human difficulties...although that's not to say the Moties are at all similar to human beings. Oh no.
I won't go into depth about the alien society - that might spoil the book for you! The human society, however, is nearly as interesting as the alien.
At this point, I think back to comments I've heard about the book - that the human society is still plagued with today's problems (but of course - human society will not change radically in 1000 years, merely adjust to accept technological changes. And, of course, as the authors mention, an advanced human society will not evolve as natural selection can no longer apply [civilised societies care for the weaker members]). Another comment that sticks in my mind is that planets which belong exclusively to one ancestral faction from Earth are absurd. I beg to differ - those with similar cultural heritages would stick together, and countries would, I believe, launch individual colonisation programs, meaning that all the colonists on one world might indeed share their cultural heritage. And as a final note on the subject, the worlds with a single 'nationality' are few and far between; more than 200 worlds are colonised by mankind.
But back to the book.
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55 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique, and one of the best August 16, 2004
By Sardan
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Some science fiction books are driven more by technology and plot situations, and other are driven more by characters and dialog. The great Isaac Asimov's stories usually were the latter; for example, in his great Foundation series, there's surprisingly little gee-whiz gadgetry.

Niven's stories have always been very strong on brilliant futuristic gizmos and clever alien creations, but weak in terms of fleshed-out characters interacting in a deep way that you'll find in other genres of fiction.

So I can understand some of the negative reviews; it could be that those folks are just not fans of Niven-style sci fi.

If you're new to Niven, I strongly suggest you read his "Known Space" series before this book. In fact, start with his short story collections before you move on to the classic Ringworld. The stories get higher- and higher-tech. He even admits it, in the preface to his short story "Safe at Any Speed." For a writer, it's basically a tough challenge to create an interesting plot when he has pretty much painted himself into a corner with so much incredible technology, not to mention a human race that has been successfully bred for luck!

That's what makes this book such a kick. I love that, in contrast to his Known Space books, this book is pretty low tech. It's retro, in the way that Star Trek: Enterprise is to its TV predecessors. I also really dig the Moties. I love that the central dilemma they're facing, the thing that regularly imperils their entire civilization and makes them such a threat to us, is something that we dealt with almost trivially years ago. To me, the concept that it never even occurred to them to deal with it as we had, reinforces their alien-ness.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Science Fiction First Contact Tale May 25, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"The Mote in God's Eye" is one of the finest collaborations I've ever read, only surpassed in literary quality and detail by Gibson's and Sterling's "The Difference Engine". Part of Pournelle's "Co-Dominion" future history series, the "Mote in God's Eye", is a fascinating, mesmerizing look at man's first contact with an alien civilization. Niven and Pournelle have created an alien civilization, "The Moties", that is among the most unique in science fiction. How the "Moties" interact with humanity's "Empire of Man" is both original and compelling to read. Although some may criticize Niven and Pournelle for creating a male-dominated, imperialist future for mankind, their female characters are a lot more credible than those I've read in recently published works such as Caleb Carr's "Killing Time". And I must commend how they've created many interesting personalities in their large cast of characters. You will find yourself rooting for them - both humans and Moties - as this gripping tale unfolds. Without a doubt, "The Mote in God's Eye" is one of the finest, most thoughtful, works of space opera, with an original twist on a time-worn premise. If you've grown tired of "Star Trek" or "Star Wars" or wish to delve further into science fiction, then this fine novel is a good place to start.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best December 14, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Mote in God's Eye is, quite simply, one of the best science fiction novels you will ever read. It is easily one of my top five books of all time. In the cannon of sci-fi, I would place it on the shelf next to Dune, Foundation and Stranger in a Strange Land. What do these books have in common? Very little. That's the point. The Mote in God's Eye, like all great books, stands on its own. If it the first sci-fi book or the millionth, you will still love it.
Written by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (and quietly improved by the advice given them by Robert Heinlein) it is breathtaking in its depiction of mankind's first contact with an alien civilization. The story takes place in a human star empire that spans thousands of systems but has yet to contact alien intelligence. This changes suddenly when a spacecraft arrives at a human planet with a dead alien inside it. The craft was apparently launched from a nearby unexplored star system -- called the Mote in God's Eye (or Murcheson's Eye). The humans send out an expedition of two ships -- one Russian, one American -- to investigate. What they find is an ancient civilization of three-armed "Moties" who have a terrible secret.
As noted by other reviewers, this is the best first contact book out there. There are no Vulcans or Ewoks here. The book is one of the few that presents a truly alien civilization. The alien culture is, although similar to ours in some ways, fundamentally different from our own due to differences biology and circumstances. I won't elaborate as I don't want to ruin the surprises.
Although there is clearly some cannon of mythology at work in setting up the "Co-Dominion" of human society at that time, I was not confused at all.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprised how good it is
I could not put the book down. This is by far the best sci-fi book I have ever read.
Published 2 days ago by D. Coulter
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
interesting stuff.
Published 8 days ago by Meow
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best!
I read this book the first time, when originally published, because of the blurb by Heinlein calling it the best SF novel he'd ever read. I agree and I reread it every few years.
Published 16 days ago by P. Mccall
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the better Science Fiction novels ever
One of the better Science Fiction novels ever. Relatively science-heavy, and the story is excellent. When finished, be sure to read the sequel. "The Gripping Hand". Read more
Published 21 days ago by SigShooter
4.0 out of 5 stars Anachronistic and a bit dated, this book wasn't a waste, but didn't...
Most older sci-fi suffers from the massive evolution of technology we have had. Tape recorders, massive yet slow computers, and paper printouts stand out awkwardly. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Daniel J. Henk
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Science Fiction Book Ever?
Well, I'm not sure I'd go that far, but it's what Robert Heinlein said about it. It's the story of mankind's first contact with intelligent aliens, and being set over 1,000 years... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Novamike
5.0 out of 5 stars Living Up To The Hype
I read "Lucifer's Hammer" when I was a kid. I grew up the youngest in a household of avid readers and so was a pretty precocious reader, picking up whatever books my parents and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by wyldwoman
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Really enjoyed the development of an alien species very different from us. Some of the story reading in first person of the aliens was a cool touch. I'll read this again. Read more
Published 1 month ago by stephen r. oliver
5.0 out of 5 stars No Dragons, No Teenage Girls, No Adolescent Angst
You've got to look hard these days to find what use to be called science fiction. Even the Hugo and Nebula Awards seem to have turned their collective noses up at it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Polarity Reversal
4.0 out of 5 stars good entertainment
A great read, fast pace that kept me wanting to read one more chapter. Can't wait to read sequal. Fun
Published 1 month ago by Charles Wyman
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