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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 --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
If you enjoy reading stories with believable characters and interesting relationships, do not read this book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by C. mcalister
This is a classic story by two great authours. I've read it many times over the years and I keep coming back to its' timeless blend of imaginative story lines with a setting that... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Alan
For students of the history of science fiction only.
I read several of the five-star reviews to try to discern what others saw in this bloated tome. Read more
This book was elusive to me for a couple of decades but thanks to Amazon I finally found it. A friend told me about it back in the 80's and praised it as a great read. Read morePublished on Jan. 13 2013 by peterj
I bought this book many years ago, but just read it recently. Perhaps I should have read it when I bought it because I am very disapointed in a book that so many people have raved... Read morePublished on Sept. 25 2010
Unexpectedly one of the best books I have read, Larry Niven creates a world with a mystery. A world where common humanoid biology has been turned on it's ear. Read morePublished on July 10 2004 by Michael
I recently noticed a couple of people online saying how great this book was so I thought I'd try it.
What a waste. Read more