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The Mote in God's Eye cover art

The Mote in God's Eye

By: Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle
Narrated by: L J Ganser
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Summary

Writing separately, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle are responsible for a number of science fiction classics, such as the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Ringworld, Debt of Honor, and The Integral Trees. Together they have written the critically acclaimed best-sellers Inferno, Footfall, and The Legacy of Heorot, among others.

The Mote In God's Eye is their acknowledged masterpiece, an epic novel of mankind's first encounter with alien life that transcends the genre. No lesser an authority than Robert A. Heinlein called it "possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read".

©1991 Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

  • All-Time Best Science Fiction Novels (Locus Magazine)

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What listeners say about The Mote in God's Eye

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story spoiled by poor accents

This has been one of my favourites for years. While some of the social setting now seems hideously dated - delicate women who must be protected at all costs and mankind existing as an empire??? - there's still no finer story about First Contact. It's such a unique take, too: almost every other story has humans meeting aliens who are roughly one the same power level as they are, and in similar situations. This one... well I won't spoil it for you if you haven't read or listened to it, but it's very different.

There are some great characters, from hard military types to overly focused scientists and everything in between, but my favourite is the wonderfully disrespectful and free-thinking Kevin Renner.

The trouble is that a fair chunk of the story is set on a planet called New Scotland, which means a lot of characters have Scottish accents. And L J Ganser can't do a Scottish accent to save his life. I'd read several other reviews that mentioned the same thing before buying and wondered "Just how bad can it be?" Answer? This bad. It's so bad it really does detract from the whole story.

But I still enjoyed it.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Well thought out SciFi

A well thought out story of first contact with an alien species and what that would mean to humankind. An easy listen.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good book!

I really enjoyed this space saga; very intricate story, I didn't get what the Mote problem was until they virtually spelled it to me. Well written and very well read, and very entertaining. This reminded me a lot of good old classics like Bradbury. I can absolutely reccommend this title to sci-fi lovers.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Great Story

I must admit I found the first hour difficult and nearly stopped listening. However I’m so glad I didn’t. The story picks up momentum and kept me interested all the way to the end. Very well narrated, I found it easy to pick each character from the voices. I would definitely recommend this book

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A classic showing its age

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.

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56 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • pw
  • 23-03-23

enjoyable space / alien encounter sci fi

my kinda sci fi, space travel, milatary and corporate angles and first contact with an alien race.

some memourable charaters and action sequences.

recommended.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Such an amazing book. Wanted it not to end.

Story is top class. A masterpiece in scifi. Supprised there isn't a movie. Performance was great. Always knew who was talking.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A classic tale of 'First Contact'.

Would you listen to The Mote in God's Eye again? Why?

This is a really enjoyable, well told tale of first contact. Although some of its background (the Empire in which it is set) has dated a little, that can largely be ignored in the face of the excellent story-telling.

What about L J Ganser’s performance did you like?

It is genuinely involving; the use of accents helps to differentiate the characters.

Any additional comments?

This book is recommended for any fan of classic science-fiction.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very nice story, well presented.

I liked this book very much. The story is not heavy and pessimistic. Despite this it has a very good line and flow. Similar to others before me, I would go further to see the outcome. It has a kind of open end. It also shows a nice mirror to humanity, but one has to dive to see it.
The presentation is brilliant. I really enjoyed the different accents, it gave a nice and enjoyable frame to the picture.
Well done!

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great story poor narrator

ok first off, I loved the story , it's been over 25 years since I've read it and it holds up remarkably well, my only gripe is with the narrator, who thought it was a good idea to get a narrator who clearly has never heard a Scottish accent in his life narrate a story mostly based around a planet named "new Scotland" utterly abysmal attempts that never got better ruined what would otherwise been an excellent book.

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3 people found this helpful