Friday, 9 October 2015

The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

"The alien's chemistry was subtly different from the human but not wildly so, as anyone might have expected from previous extraterrestrial biology."

Okay, so if, like me, a surprise announcement about Mars from NASA last week was a little disappointing for the lack of little green men, then perhaps this is your kind of book. What would happen if humans were to encounter a developed other life form. The Mote in God's Eye brings some food for thought in an entertaining and engaging manner.
That, for me, is what good sci-fi is all about.

When you consider this was written before I was born, it speaks to the level of excellence of the writing. There is still a sense of the future and potential, that makes the story easy to get lost in.
Prejudices, jealousy and fear are emotions that do not age and as such convey the likely response of humans to such strange circumstances. Together, Niven and Pournelle, craft an intriguing tale that is sure to delight those that dream of the stars and beyond.
Perhaps the only dated aspects of the novel were around the marriage scenario. That being said, I think it is crucial to draw comparisons between the mating and procreative impetus of both humans and aliens alike and the tensions inherent in competitive population growth. I think that's an entirely likely scenario were we to encounter sentient beings out there in space.

Notwithstanding, I really enjoyed this trip back to a a 1974 vision of the future and first contact. I didn't perhaps love it as much as Ringworld  but that is a very minor quibble. Don't be discouraged by the blase cover art.

 5 out of 5 engineers re-build things.

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