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Oath of Fealty [Paperback]

Larry Niven , Jerry Pournelle
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 9.17 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Dec 31 1981 Orbit Books
In the near future, Los Angeles is an all but uninhabitable war zone, racked by crime, violence, pollution and poverty. But above the blighted city, a Utopia has arisen: Todos Santos, a thousand-foot high single-structured city, designed to used state-of-the-art technology to create a completely human-friendly environment, offering its dwellers everything they could want in exchange for their oath of allegiance and their constant surveillance . But there are those who want to see the utopia destroyed, whose answer to tomorrow's best and brightest hope is mindless violence. And they have just entered Todos Santos. . . .
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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About the Author


Larry Niven
, a multiple award-winning author, is renowned for writing science fiction which is solidly based on authentic science. His Known Space series is possibly the most popular SF series of all time, and includes the novel Ringworld, which is one of the few novels to have won both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards, and is recognized as a milestone in modern science fiction. He and his wife live in Chatsworth, California.
Jerry Pournelle is a reigning master of military science fiction, widely known for his novels of John Christian Falkenberg and his legion of interstellar mercenaries. His other novels include Janissaries, Exiles to Glory, High Justice, King David’s Spaceship and Starswarm. With Larry Niven, he has collaborated on a string of New York Times best-selling novels, including Lucifer’s Hammer, The Mote in God’s Eye, Footfall, and many more. He and his wife live in Los Angeles. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the tradition of Heinlein. June 11 2004
By mec
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The book was introduced by Niven and Pournelle as an explication of the philosophy of Rational Libertarianism. In that role, it is quite successful if the reader has a public school grasp of basic history and political philosophy.
In former times those who prized liberty and order but liberty above all migrated to Coventry or the American West. R.A.H sent his libertarians to the moon and beyond. In the context of this book- absent space flight, an Urban Monad makes sense. One reviewer is reminded of the apartment blocks of the Soviet Steppes or HUD housing enclaves and points up the creative contrast. Another, not meeting the criteria outlined in paragraph one (above) fails to grasp the irony and misses the underlying them of the work all together.
Political polemic takes a back seat to this creative and swashbuckling novel. It stands with the works of Heinlein and bypasses the ponderous pontifications of Ayn Rand.
Highly recommended for the flexible, thinking reader.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  33 reviews
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coming True May 21 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
If you're reading this then I hope you give it a fair consideration in comparison to some of the unflattering comments made by the others reviewers of this fascinating novel.
Niven and Pournelle put together a really good read that puts to test the idea that a free society cannot truly be free without restraint. Look, I'll be honest here - I don't drink, don't carry guns, or play amateur pharmacologist; so in many ways the Arcology crafted by the authors is a dream come true for a prude like myself. And I suspect many other boring centrists who would like to live a socially committed life without dealing with the politically correct demagogues beating their personal drums or the flame spewing radicals that seems to draw the worst from both conservatives and liberals alike. The Arcology is in many way boring - which is the point.
It's worth noting that I agree that the idea of a sustainable, self-enclosed "fort" is likely impractical in the real world. In order for Todos Santos to hold sway over the County of Los Angeles (and the US in general) the authors have proposed an intriguing, but unrealistic, means of control. Specifically a gigantic iceberg. I won't get too much into this, hopefully you'll pick-up your own copy and find out for yourself. But when you get down to it - it's impossible for the managers of Todos Santos to control what is beyond their arcology. And the iceberg is the only real "defense" that it has from the outside affecting what happens in the inside.
BTW, simplistic comparisons of the Arcology to Soviet-era society or 1960's era US public housing is clearly misguided. I could waste time on a point by point deconstruction of that kind of shoot-from-the-hip mentality. However, I choose to forgive the ignorant like I forgive the young, which is often the same group.
Finally, I would like to address the comment made by the reader in England. He correctly points out that there are already signs of the Todos Santos Arcology appearing in the real world. We've all seen the gated communities where the wealthy have set up their ideal environment. And the technology parks where industries have set up shop for themselves. Lastly look at one of today's marvels: The Mall Of America. In many ways we're seeing elements of Todos Santos being brought to life. Again, I doubt that the Arcology can actually exist as it's described in Oath Of Fealty, but it showcases insights into our evolving society that both authors foresaw nearly twenty years ago.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worlds collide, in L.A. July 6 2002
By Gary M. Greenbaum - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Todos Santos is a gigantic self-governing building, or arcology, built near L.A. Needless to say, the arcology, which is quite successful and productive, is the target of protesters. When three protesters sneak into the works of the arcology, and make it appear that they are going to blow up crucial equipment, two of them get killed for their trouble. L.A. insists on the arrest of the Todos Santos manager who ordered them killed. Todos Santos (the point of the Oath of Fealty of the title is that responsibilities and loyalties run both up and down)seek to get him out by whatever means necessary.
While it is an interesting concept, there is a problem--this is very much a one-note melody. Niven makes the point that people living in such a structure would be different from what we are used to, and he makes it, and makes it until you're tired. And while the Todos Santos people are clearly all saints, fighting the good fight, you're left wondering what would happen if they were using the many resources at their disposal in a less worthy cause . . .
Still, a good read, with interesting characters, and it leaves you thinking, which is always a Good Thing.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Adequete sci-fi,sociology unconvincingphutch May 9 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A fairly involving story, though not terribly exciting. Set perhaps thirty years after 1984, it centers around a wonderful self-contained superskyscraper with the benefits of benevolent Big Brother's cameras everywhere. What is striking is not the plot, but rather the facility with which the authors dismiss what would seem to be the obvious danger of a kind of techno-fascism. The sociology of Niven/Pournelle collaborations is always striking, as with Heinlein's work, and this story is set in a believable near-future with immediately relevant issues; London, I am told, is now blanketed by security cameras. Nomads, we are told, lived drastically different lives from Roman citizens, who lived differently from americans in the 20th century (I am drastically paraphrasing as my copy is not at hand). Each of these peoples would have been shocked at how the others lived, so of course we may be shocked at the idea of having cameras in our apartments, but that is just a sort of evolutionary step in civilization. We can combine Right-libertarian laws and social mores with "If I'm not doing anything Wrong, why should I mind being watched?". Of course the fictional guards and administrators are rational with regard to what's Wrong, so the system works great. Those vigorously opposed to the superskyscraper are portrayed as ignorant illogical fools. I am reminded of the writings of Ayn Rand, or for that matter the writings of various communists; A view of society that is entirely too certain of itself. The protagonists are so wise that they would never condemn anything that didn't need to be condemned- though if they did they would do so for 250000 people in .004 seconds. Not as much fun as most Niven+Pournelle stuff, but interesting as a picture of near-present-day technology and social ideas.
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Libertarian SF Nov. 30 2005
By Harcohen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Again, Larry and Jerry take a high concept and pull it off. Anyone who has ever lived in or operated a business in Los Angeles, or any big city, and dealt with inefficient, stifling bureaucracy, will find Todos Santos a breath of fresh air. The inhabitants of this archology CHOOSE to live there. This is in no way fascism. It is not the government that runs Todos Santos, but a very efficient corporation. The reason things work there is because everyone feels they have a stake in it. Jerry used to work for Sam Yorty, and knows a thing or two (or three!) about how city governments works, or in the case of Los Angeles, DOESNT! The reactions of Angelinos and terrorists hostile to the archology in their midst only serve to reinforce Todos Santos'raison d'tre. Think of it as evolution in action.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic Feb. 5 2013
By Griffin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One of my top five favorite books of all time. I've been wanting to live in a arcology like Todos Santos in the book since I first read it years ago. This is one of the books I've bought again for my kindle even though I've got two paperback copies of it.
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