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The Mote in God's Eye, set far in the future, tells the tale of humanity's first contact with an alien species. Despite being first published in 1974, the science holds up fairly well. There are a few funny oddities that show the story's age, such as the mention of "microwave ovens" and "pocket computers" as if we would be shocked by their ubiquity, but these are rare. However, in this tale, the science isn't the star of the show. Rather, it's the nature of humanity and how that nature compares to the Moties who represent a unqiue threat.
The characters, while not of any great depth, are passable for sci-fi. Some reviewers may complain about this but, as an avid sci-fi reader, I have seen much worse. I never really developed any strong attachment to the characters, but I did get to know them well enough to keep the story engaging.
This is a moderately paced story with some parts moving rather quickly and others trudging along. There are a handful of dull portions, mostly involving Empire politics or background exposition, but just when I started feeling bored, the story picked up. The plot, while sometimes predictable, still leaves enough mystery to keep you reading. The story is long, perhaps a bit longer than it needs to be. For example, I think Horace Bury's character added nothing to the story and could have been cut entirely.
I don't understand why some reviewers disliked the narrator. Personally, I think LJ Ganser does a superb job. Ganser can handle a room full of similar characters while giving each one a unique voice. His narration of Admiral Kutuzov deserves a freakin' medal. His reading never once interfered with my ability to absorb the story.
Overall, I'd say this is a great read. It isn't the best first contact story, and it isn't the best sci-fi novel ever written, but it's fun, engaging, and memorable.
92 of 94 people found this review helpful
I read this book in paper format more than 30 years ago, but I had forgotten how good it really is. When I saw it available in audible format I jumped at the chance to listen to a previous good read.
Some of the reviews I have read are very hard on the book, but I believe that the are looking in the wrong place. What makes this book so interesting and unique, at least to me, was the idea that humans could encounter aliens so different that all of our assumptions would be wrong. How do two species interact when one is general and adaptive in nature and the other is differiented. That is at the core of this story; at least for me.
The process of meeting, all of the mistaken assumptions and the final realization as to just how different the species are is, I believe, a very interesting story with, for new readers, an unknown conclusion.
But listeners should know that this story is from 1974 and hence some of the story line is 35 years out of date. I believe that to be the cause of some of the bad reviews. Perhaps those listeners did not know the copyright date and might have been more charitable to the male-centered character of the story.
All in all I think this is a nearly great book with more than adequate reading.
86 of 90 people found this review helpful
This is a very decent book but for me it shows its age in some respects. It tackles one of the classic Sci Fi themes of humanity's first contact with intelligent alien life forms. I think the authors deserve enormous credit for how they attempted to deal with both sides of the story representing the points of view of the human and Mote races as the plot unfolds. Possibly the real strength in the story is that most of us would sympathise with both sides as they try to navigate their way through the intricacies of contact. This is no simple humans versus nasty aliens tale!
That said, I found some of the characters a bit shallow, more caricature than character. Compared to more recent fiction I felt the human characters lacked an edge and were a bit one-dimensional and predictable in their reactions to the situations they faced.
The book isn't fast moving as you'd expect given the dual approach it has to what is a very complex subject. It is though a satisfying book despite its length and I felt well narrated. There is a certain quaintness about how the English traditions of aristocracy and naval terminology survived into an Inter-stellar Empire and its armed forces. Even so, it adds to the charm of what has been a much-loved book for four decades.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
This might be a good book.........I wouldn?t know.
My own fault, I should have listened to an excerpt.
The narrator reads it as if every fourth word comes as a complete surprise to him. The intonation of his sentences gives the distinct impression that he hasn?t prepared in any way for the job of telling this story. Reading the book quietly to himself in advance might be a good start!
His attempts at differentiating between the voices of different characters takes the form of speaking more loudly or attempting an impersonation of a Scotsman (I recommend him not to try it in Sauchiehall Street on a Saturday night).
I was bitterly disappointed that I had wasted my money on this pathetic attempt and would ask Audible to consider instituting a satisfaction guarantee. I am afraid I was unprepared for such a bad attempt at reading a book after the excellent narration I have experienced in the 20 or so other books I have bought. Quite frankly I have heard better narration in the free public access books produced by amateur volunteers for organisations like LibraVox.
33 of 37 people found this review helpful
took awhile to build up but once it had it got amazing. had some great concepts!
Slightly sexist but given the time it was written it was probably quite progressive at the time. Very well written, and spoken
0 of 1 people found this review helpful