Review: The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

Nominated for a Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards in 1975, The Mote in God’s Eye has not aged particularly well. There are some clever twists and exciting sequences in this far-future first-contact tale, and the alien Motes are, in some ways, truly alien.

However, many characters are similar to each other and hard to differentiate, except for the single female character, who is treated more as a girl than a woman. The story doesn’t really kick into gear until about halfway through, after over 200 pages.

Recommendation: Skip it, unless you’re a big fan of authors Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. There’s better first-contact stuff out there for a modern reader.

3 thoughts on “Review: The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

  1. In my opinion, the Mote in God’s Eye is probably the best first contact story ever written but we are all different. At the moment I am reading the Rama books by Arthur C Clarke which is another first contact story, Rendezvous wasn’t too bad but Rama 2 and Gardens of Rama [where I’m up to] are awful, far too much padding with religious and historical nonsense.

  2. We see the typical sequel problems with both of the above examples. I agree that the first “Motie” story was outstanding, as I would expect from Jerry and Larry.

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