Footfall Mass Market Paperback – Apr 12 1986
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From the Inside Flap
"NOBODY DOES IT BETTER THAN NIVEN AND POURNELLE. --Tom Clancy
They first appear as a series of dots on astronomical plates, heading from Saturn directly toward Earth. Since the ringed planet carries no life, scientists deduce the mysterious ship to be a visitor from another star.
The world's frantic efforts to signal the aliens go unanswered. The first contact is hostile: the invaders blast a Soviet space station, seize the survivors, and then destroy every dam and installation on Earth with a hail of asteriods.
Now the conquerors are descending on the American heartland, demanding servile surrender--or death for all humans.
"ROUSING . . . THE BEST OF THE GENRE."
--The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Larry Niven is the award-winning author of the Ringworld series, along with many other science fiction masterpieces and fantasy including the Magic Goes Away series. His "Beowulf's Children", co-authored with Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes, was a New York Times bestseller. He has received the Nebula Award, five Hugos, four Locus Awards, two Ditmars, the Prometheus, and the Robert A. Heinlein Award, among other honors. He lives in Chatsworth, California.
JERRY POURNELLE is an essayist, journalist, and science fiction author. He has advanced degrees in psychology, statistics, engineering, and political science.
Top Customer Reviews
I still think this is the best alien-invasion story I've ever
read. Granted, it's hard to write a sensible invasion story, given that
a) it's hard to think of a reason for rational aliens to invade, and
b) if they did, they should win overwhelmingly. See rifles vs. spears.
But it makes a great *story*, and N&P have given probably as
reasonable a backstory as anyone could. As an example of high-level
page-turner storytelling, Footfall still rings my chimes. I've read it
three times, plus the last time I picked it up a couple of years ago, to
jog my memory to reply to a post, I got sucked in again and spent the
afternoon rereading the good parts. "Orion will Rise" -- all right!
Footfall is dragged down a bit by dated political background: the
USSR is alive and well here, and is portrayed as considerably
stronger and healthier than it actually was in 1985. I'd skim over the
Russian scenes; in fact the book is pretty slow-moving until the
aliens arrive, so a quick skim of most of this early scene-setting
material is all you need.
And make no mistake, once the action starts, you'll have no futher
complaints. Good stuff, guys.
Anyway, the point of my review is to refute those who dismiss the concept of the SF writer team in the book. What, exactly, do you suppose is the difference between this and the "think-tanks" that exist as unofficial (or official, in some cases)advisors to our government officials in real life? Nothing. In real life, there are groups of people who spend their time thinking and planning, and that's no different in the book. The fact that this think-tank dwells on an unusual subject shouldn't be considered outlandish, given the premise of the book.
The only difference between the Pentagon planning teams (I'd be absolutely astonished if there aren't existing plans for catastrophic meteor impact or even alien invasion) and this fictional sci-fi think-tank is that the Pentagon boys have shinier shoes and nice uniforms. But when you get down to it, both groups were doing nothing but guessing, so who's to say which is going to come up with better solutions? Remember, in the book, the SF writers provided the imagination and the military worked on making it practical. Seems perfectly reasonable to me.
(Although if it happened today, it seems equally likely that the team would be made up of priests rather than SF writers, given the political climate. It would have been interesting to have a General Boykin type in this book.)
Two minor dings on the book...I thought there would be an explanation for the elephant-like appearance of the invaders, like maybe a plot element of them actually decending from the elephants of Earth, this was never done. The other thing was I thought it was about 100 pages too long.
A good book and recommended.
I'm not sure I would argue that it suffers from the too many characters know each other syndrome. The story is plausible as to how the known characters keep popping into each other.
One thing to note - this book is not an alternate history of what would have happened if the Soviet Union hadn't collapsed. Originally, the book was published in the early/mid 1980s, I believe before Gorbachev came to power. I.e. back in the heyday of the evil empire years.
Most recent customer reviews
I found this book at a local used book store, and the owner said that if I liked Scifi I had to read this one. I have to say that he was right. Read morePublished on July 15 2004 by Dennis Duncan
This book is astonishingly bad. Thinking about why, several answers come to mind: first, it was clearly written in hopes of selling movie rights as it resembles nothing more than... Read morePublished on April 17 2004 by Chris O'Malley
Footfall is a novel about alien invasion by sci-fi vets Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. The begining of the book is rather slow and concerns itself with introducing most of the... Read morePublished on March 18 2004 by CeeTee
A good book overall, Footfall is one of the most realistic (if such a word applies) books about alien invasion that I've ever read. Read morePublished on April 2 2003 by Brad Wheeler
This book probably spawned the idea for Independence Day. Aliens resembling elephants and with interesting rules of fair play, invade the Earth. Read morePublished on Oct. 8 2002 by Michael A. Newman
i thought this book did a good job of presenting non-friendly but also multi-dimensional aliens. the book struck me as similar to the "uplift" series by david brin. Read morePublished on Sept. 3 2002 by J. Blattman
I read this a few months ago, and needless to say, it still is a wonderful sceince fiction novel. The alien culture is absolutely incredible. Read morePublished on July 11 2002 by Beowulf