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Footfall Hardcover – May 12, 1985
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The book originally came out in 1986, so of course there are some things we take for granted nowadays that simply don’t appear – cell phones and the Internet, to name two – and the Soviet Union has an important part in the plot as well. But none of that detracts from the sheer, carry-you-along readability of the story. Is the book high art? Will it cause you to lie awake at night and ponder the ultimate meaning of life? No, and no. It’s a science fiction thriller novel. That’s “thriller”, as in a thrill ride, and Niven and Pournelle’s mastery of the military tech – “rods from God”, X-ray lasers, the Orion program, all of that futurewar stuff made convincingly real (along with, as I say, the psychology of the two warring species) – makes for a first-class ride. There’s even a special group of experts advising the President on what the aliens are likely to do next and how to counter their next move – yep, a group of science fiction writers (I can think of another part of the book that also must have been a hoot to write, but telling about that one would give too much away).
Suffice it to say, the authors didn’t hold anything back. They wrote a novel that let them flesh out some ideas you just KNOW they’ve always wanted to do, and at the same time they’ve told a crackling good story that’ll have you mentally cheering on team Homo Sapiens. I have my theories as to why this book’s never been turned into a movie and probably never will be. Regardless, it’s a classic and should be appreciated, not only by science fiction fans, but by anybody who enjoys a ripping good yarn.
(I’m about to post this review, and I see that some reviewers – not a lot, but some – have given this book two stars or even one star. Sweet holy bananacakes, what is WRONG with some people?)
Highly recommended. This book is just the kind to whet your appetite and will cause you to search out other gems by these authors.
I read it every few years-- I havent read it since I went to ebooks maybe 4 years ago and really enjoyed it.
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