The Mote in God's Eye
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The Mote in God's Eye (Moties #1)

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  37,954 ratings  ·  899 reviews
This is the first Pocket Books printing.
Cover Artist: Ed Soyka

A black hole in space. And piercing through, a beam of ruby light brighter than a hundred moons. Was it the eye on the face of God, or the blood-red sun of our first intergalactic visitors?...The Mote In God's Eye.
The delicate mission of the warship MacArthur - to seek out and confront an extraterrestrial world...more
Mass Market Paperback, 560 pages
Published October 1st 1975 by Pocket (first published January 1st 1974)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Annago
May 22, 2008 Annago rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of hard sci-fi; this is NOT for thrill-seekers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tripp
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle wrote a number of science fiction novels which I fondly remember. The Legacy of Heorot tells the story of colonization and the perils of misunderstanding xenobiology. Footfall is an exciting update on the War of the Worlds. Lucifer's Hammer concerns the collapse of society in the face of a comet impact on Earth. My major issue with Lucifer's Hammer, bloat, is a much bigger issue in highly regarded Mote in God's Eye.

The bloat issue is gigantic here. The first 150 p...more
Penny
This is a fantastic first contact novel! I thoroughly enjoyed it. The Moties were fascinating and much like their fellow human cast, I found my opinion of each of them changing as the story progressed. There were many whom I loved at first and came to dislike, and vice versa. All in all a wonderful set of characters to journey through the difficulties of first contact with.

There are a lot of considerations when two intelligent species meet in space for the first time. How much do you keep back?...more
John
Written in 1972, The Mote in God’s Eye is the premier work by award winning authors Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, who also collaborated on the science fiction classics Footfall and Lucifer’s Hammer. Grand Master Robert A. Heinlein called it "possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read." It easily makes my Top 10 Sci/Fi Book List.

The story is set in the year 3017 A.D. The Second Interstellar Empire of man is in the process of forcefully reuniting many colonies long lost since th...more
Jake
Like so many books I’ve read, The Mote in G-d’s Eye was recommended to me by father, many years ago. And, like many books I’ve read, it’s actually taken me years to read it. I don’t really know why; I know I tried to read it once when I was younger, and it somehow didn’t grab me. Maybe I wasn’t ready for it, or maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood. In any case, I’ve been on more of a sci-fi kick lately, and Starladustess had equally good things to say about this one, so I finally knuckled under...more
Apatt
For some reason I always find Larry Niven much better with Jerry Pournelle than without; Inferno, Lucifer's Hammer and Footfall are all winners (they have collaborated on quite few other titles but I have not read them yet). The Mote in God's Eyeis generally considered to be their partnership’s best book (have a look at Larry Niven’s Goodreads page).

I believe the blurb by Robert A. Heinlein that appears on many editions of the book’s cover* has been around since its first publication in 1974; an...more
David
Apr 25, 2012 David rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Moties, Imperial noblewomen who would never, ever use birth control
Larry and Paul... doesn't that sound like a sitcom couple? I've read a lot of Niven and Pournelle's collaborations over the years, and at the height of my Very White Space Opera phase (i.e., when I was a teenager with no taste and liked anything with spaceships and aliens in it) Niven was one of my favorite authors.

The Mote in God's Eye was their first collaboration, and never having read it before, I was expecting something like Footfall. It kind of is, but of course it was written over twenty...more
James Aguilar
This book gave me a really bad vibe from the outset. Maybe it was the captain's use of the word "rape" as an epithet. Maybe it's the token female aristocrat whose sole job is so predictable from the very outset: (view spoiler). Maybe it's the incessant stupidity and naivety of the big players in the story throughout the course of its run. We'll get into all of that during the course of this revie...more
Jon
Dec 14, 2010 Jon rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: Beyond Reality SF Selection Dec 2010
I should read more space opera, especially when written by Niven and Pournelle. The human Empire (Russian in origin, which seemed odd considering in 1974 when first published, the USSR was Communist not Imperialist) has first contact with aliens from a system referred to as "The Mote." Communication is key, but as expected, truth is the first casualty in diplomacy and war. By the time I reached the end, having had bits of both sides of the story, I kept wishing and hoping ... 'if only' the alien...more
Ryan
Aug 13, 2007 Ryan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi geeks
I caught my friend Ryan reading some cheesy looking sci-fi and thought maybe I should give the genre a try. Outside of HG Wells, I haven't had much exposure since I was a teenager. This story is well written, but ungodly slow. Hell, I have the patience to read, but this one is mostly discussion and very little action. The story hits a climax two-thirds of the way through and then runs out of steam. I give it three stars for being thought provoking.
Stephen
4.0 to 4.5 stars. One of the best first contact SF novels ever and certainly among the best from the duo of Niven and Pournelle. Epic in scope and including one of the best descriptions of an alien society ever put to paper. A true classic. Highly recommended!!

Nominee: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1975)
Nominee: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1975)
Nominee: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1975)
Jim
An excellent read & raises a lot of interesting thoughts for me. It's about contact with an alien civilization in a more interesting setting than most. Makes me think a lot about some of our civilizations. Well worth reading & a classic of science fiction.
Harv Griffin
This is my favorite Science Fiction novel. Number One. It starts with a bang. The level of writing is excellent. When I re-read it, I read almost everything. If God's Eye doesn't hook you in the first few pages, you may be unhookable. It has it all. Space battles. A central love story. A surprising depth to the characters. The prose is unusually nuanced for hard Science Fiction, and a joy to read.

Larry and Jerry raised the bar for the "First Contact" SciFi novel, and as far as I can tell, no oth...more
Felicia
Well, this was a fascinating book. I can't imagine the thoroughness of invention in creating the Moties, and making sure the science of this book was as believable as could be with known science, especially at the time. It's truly astonishing.

I WILL say that I wasn't caught up in the book in a way that I couldn't stop turning pages: I found it a bit hard to get through, the characters were not particularly engrossing PERSONALLY, but the plot and particularly world-building were so deep and fasci...more
Porter
This was a fun, old-school first contact story. It's got a good, interesting plot, with interesting aliens and problems. Good use of both mystery and literary irony. I especially like the ambiguous way it ended.

The characterization didn't fully work for me -- there were several characters that I never managed to differentiate. This might be an artifact of having read the audiobook version (which sounds like it's read by Zapp Brannigan, which is hilarious).
Tamahome
(Sffaudio is recording a discussion of this book on 10/1 with Julie.)

Got the audio. Hey, this could be exciting. :)

13% - Sounds more 'vintage' and cool through the iPhone speaker. Very Star Trek, even with Scottish and Russian crewmen. But what is the fascination with royalty in sff?

18% - Wow there's a lot of characters. Moties kind of sound like Immotiles (Peter Hamilton - Pandora's Star). Hmm.

list of characters
http://www.adherents.com/lit/bk_Niven...

Commander Jock (Sandy) Sinclair - Scottish e...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Fairly interesting contact novel. A yellow star in front of a red giant star in the Coal Sack Nebula resembles a hooded man with one eye, the star being the "mote" and the resemblance to a hooded head suggests God , thus the name.

The race of beings from this system, the "Moties" represent a kind of threat humans haven't faced before.
I read this some time (read years) ago and still remember the idea striking me as a mixture of original bits that turn an idea that has been touched on before into...more
Tom
What could have been a decent fist-contact story is completely undercut by poor character writing, lazy sexism, lack of actual critical thinking about human society, and a science fiction plot twist that itself undercuts the book's lazy sexism.

The book has the pieces for what should be a decent science fiction story. First contact with a reasonably interesting alien civilization. Misunderstandings and realizations of the aliens along the way at a satisfying pace. Some decent humor. Some decent...more
James
Jan 09, 2011 James rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of SF, military fiction, and the differences between cultures
A brilliant and gripping book. One of the best jobs of creating a truly alien life form, culture and civilization, rather than the usual "aliens" who act just like human beings who happen to look different - and then going on to let the human reader see events through those alien eyes, from their perspective. The human characters are also well developed and the plot serves as a gripping mystery as well as an adventure story, and left me with a strong sense of empathy for the individuals of both...more
Tim Mayer
Every now and then I find an older book which slipped past me when it was first issued. Not being a herd animal, I have a tendency to avoid all the “popular stuff”. Which is to bad because sometimes I miss something important.

The Mote In God’s Eye is a fine example of a “first contact” novel. It has everything: human galactic civilization, space battles, heroic spacemen, counter-plots, and very alien aliens. There are plenty of characters and much of the action is told through multiple points of...more
Kathi
This book really flowed along for me--the beginning grabs you and the story doesn't let go. I found all the characters to be interesting, even some who were almost caricatures, but I especially liked Renner and Hardy. The Moties were painted quite sympathetically, but always with some doubt as to their intentions. Interesting how each race (human and Motie) had trouble really grasping how alien the other race was. I'm looking forward to the sequel.

My rating is 3 1/2 stars. Why not more? The sexi...more
Sandra
3.5 stars

I listened to this book, and although the narrator, L.J. Ganser, barked it out like a sports announcer, it was engaging, suspenseful, and quite funny at times. The narrator was not a distraction once I got used to his style.

The human space explorers seemed incredibly naive and stupid at times in their trust of an alien species, to whom they gave human attributes without questioning their own assumptions. This was a little distracting from the suspense, as I knew something bad was coming...more
Rion
The first half was fun with a comedic pulp feel that I seem to enjoy. Characters were larger than life and generally interesting. Everything in the beginning was logical and entertaining. (view spoiler)...more
Amy
I'm happy to have finally dislodged the mote in God's eye from my reading list. This book had a great premise. Humanity encounters an alien culture for the first time. However, the alien culture manages to keep a big secret until it's almost too late for humanity to prevent disaster. Too bad I figured out their secret so early in the book as to not really be surprised at the big reveal. Oh well.

While the premise of the book was interesting, I think it suffered being written by 2 authors. There...more
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
I am new to adult science fiction. I've read Fahrenheit 451 and a number of short stories through the years, a few young adult novels recently as well as a bunch as a pre-teen. Quite a while ago I decided that I would like to read more of the genre.
The Mote in God's Eye captured my attention when I was putting my husband's ancient paperback science fiction collection on the shelf in the spare room. I think it was when I first read the title that I was hooked. What a cool title and its been calli...more
Angus Mcfarlane
'Judge not lest ye be judged'.
After alien intelligence is discovered in 'the mote in God's eye' (a star group), an expedition of military and scientific personnel is sent to make contact, with a mix of both optimism and caution. What they were not prepared for are the unknown unknowns, the fact that the society they met with had aspects that were altogether strange, confuses both the hawks and the doves. However, it is not just judging others to be like themselves, but not recognizing their own...more
Kat  Hooper
The Mote in God’s Eye, co-written by frequent collaborators Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, is a classic First Contact science fiction story which Robert A. Heinlein called “possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read.” The story takes place in 3017 AD in the future of Jerry Pournelle’s CODOMINION universe (though it’s not necessary to have read any of those books to enjoy The Mote in God’s Eye). Humans have developed the Alderson Drive which allows them to immediately jump to ce...more
Lyn
This is a very entertaining book, very entertaining, interesting, intriguing, though provoking, etc. Good science fiction. Robert A. Heinlein himself is quoted as saying something to the effect that this was the best science fiction novel he had ever read. I don’t know that I’d go that far, but this was very good. David Allen Coe claimed to have written the perfect country and western song, and in that same regard, Niven and Pournellle may have collaborated to create the perfect science fiction...more
G.R. Reader
Larry Niven, why oh why did you start working with Jerry Pournelle? My nine year old self will never forgive you.
Ty Wilson
This was a terrific book. A story of the first contact between humans and alien space travelers. The Moties are in some ways similar to us, and in others so completely foreign that it leaves humans with serious debate about their intentions. What results is a poker game of sorts between ourselves and the Moties, where both sides try to learn about the other without revealing too much of themselves. It's a well-written and thought-provoking premise that Niven and Pournelle offer up, and one that...more
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12534
Laurence van Cott Niven's best known work is Ringworld (Ringworld, #1) (1970), which received the Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics. The creation of thoroughly worked-out alien species, which are very different from humans both physically and mentally, is recognized as one of Niven's main strengths...more
More about Larry Niven...
Ringworld (Ringworld, #1) Lucifer's Hammer The Ringworld Engineers (Ringworld, #2) Footfall Neutron Star (Known Space)

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“We juggle priceless eggs in variable gravity. I am afraid. I will taste fear until I die.” 4 likes
“They used to teach us that evolution of intelligent beings wasn't possible," she said. "Societies protect their weaker members. Civilizations tend to make wheel chairs and spectacles and hearing aids as soon as they have the tools for them. When a society makes war, the men generally have to pass a fitness test before they're allowed, to risk their lives. I suppose it helps win the war." She smiled. "But it leaves precious little room for the survival of the fittest.” 2 likes
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