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The Legacy of Heorot (Heorot #1)

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,017 Ratings  ·  148 Reviews
The colonists from Earth have spent a century in cold sleep to make the first journey, one way, to settle a planet in another solar system. Avalon seems perfect, a verdant, livable world still in its prehistoric age. The biologists and engineers who busy themselves planting and building scoff at the warnings of professional soldier Cadmann Weyland until a large, unnaturall ...more
Paperback, 383 pages
Published August 1st 1989 by Pocket Books (first published May 1987)
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Most Under-rated Science Fiction
52nd out of 1,162 books — 1,420 voters
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Best Books of Larry Niven
4th out of 31 books — 21 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mike (the Paladin)
Excellent read. There are some good characters, a good plot, balanced story telling very little lag at any point. I can't quite go to 5 stars with it (though I may reconsider over time) but I can highly recommend this one.

This is a space exploration, space colonization novel of people from Earth meeting challenges on an alien world. It hits a lot of "true notes" and you'll see people you know here. The geniuses transplanted to another world who "know" what they "know" and dismiss anything that c
Apr 21, 2014 Amanda rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one, really
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 01, 2008 Paul rated it it was amazing
Larry niven and Jerry Pournelle are great hard science fiction writers and With Steven Barnes they have great combat and martial arts scenes.
grreat stuff "it makes Aliens look like a Disney nature film." The Washington Times said.
Nov 09, 2014 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book many years ago while preparing for my exams, yes there were far too many distractions even then - I decided to read the book again remembering how much I enjoyed it the first time.
Having read the authors individual works I was interested in seeing how they worked as a collaboration (they have in fact collaborated on a number of books all of which I enjoyed to differing degrees and for different reasons) and even though the authors have been criticised in the past - some of which
Jun 15, 2015 Claudia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Take an island on one planet 10 LY from Earth, Avalon, a human colony of 200, some strange alien life forms and you got a movie scenery. At least, this was my impression, that this book was written specifically for this purpose. I don't know if there is a movie based on it, but there are several alike, no doubt.

Still, it's that kind of story that keeps you hooked until the end, although it is predictable. An easy and enjoyable reading, one that does not put your neurons to work :D
Jul 18, 2016 Dmitry rated it it was amazing
Excellent colony novel by a trio of masters. Niven and Pornelle are well known for their worldbuilding in The Mote in God's Eye. The duo is joined by Steven Barnes, a relative unknown at the time, who provides the action and - numerous - sex scenes.

Its a wicked little romp with many false peaks - every time you think the threat is over, you look at the progress on your kindle and what do you know, youve only read thirty percent of the novel. What could possibly happen next? This excellent pace i
Aug 10, 2009 Zachary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is quite an amazing book. The science, sociology, psychology - all of it! - is extremely well-thought out. And the pacing is rather incredible. Niven has quite a knack for moving things along quick enough for most of the book, and then really stepping things up a couple of notches for the huge climax. Great fun!

Humanity has finally decided to reach out to the stars and attempt to colonize a new planet. But being so far away, they've gotta freeze the people so they'll make it there at a dece
Aug 24, 2013 Darth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: niven
In my many years of reading Larry Niven books - I have frequently (almost always) found that the ones in which he is collaborating with another author or authors, are not as good as the ones he does alone. Oath of Fealty comes to mind, and the MOTIES sequel, and the one with the space shuttle - ANANSI I want to say....

As a result, this one, and it sequel have spent YEARS on my shelf, until I had read and in some cases re-read almost all of his other books. Well, I am running out of Niven books t
Feb 19, 2012 Drew rated it liked it
When I was in eighth grade, I watched The Ring at a friend's house. It didn't seem too scary at the time, maybe because I was in a group, but on the way home, we did see a girl walking on the sidewalk in a nightgown in no shoes, face hidden by her hair. Creepy. When I got home, my stepdad did some crude imitation from the movie and further terrified me, putting a good night's sleep pretty far out of the question. I remember eating a bowl of cereal around midnight, sitting at the kitchen table un ...more
Nov 27, 2007 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
This is essential SciFi reading. Combine Beowulf with star travel, strong, good looking men & women, hard science... Also the best example of the law of unintended consequences in action. Not to be missed.
Apr 10, 2011 Ed rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Thriller Sci-Fi Fans
In some ways this book was very imaginative and in some ways just another Heinlen-like hero story.

The protagonist, Cadmann Whelan, is in charge of security in a situation where there seems to be little need for it. Homo Sapiens has dispatched a space ship to colonize a new planet. To get there while still young, the travelers must be put into deep freeze. Some of the colonists come out of the freeze with their intelligence negatively influenced. Avalon, which is what they've named the colony see
Apr 02, 2013 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi, thriller, gritty
This book was sensational. Beowulf meets Aliens. Characters and story were wonderful - which I expect from any book that Larry Niven is involved with. More especially, the team of Niven/Pournelle/Barnes (Creators of Dream Park).
It was a retelling of Beowulf in the setting of an interstellar colony. The science was brilliant and handled in such a way as not to overwhelm the reader or bore them to death - incorporated into the story and revealed in baby steps to allow the reader a full understand
Nov 22, 2008 Marc rated it really liked it
I liked this and its sequel a lot, Niven and Pournelle produce readable, engaging and interesting sci-fi without weirding me out. They're ultimately not that earth shattering but good comfort reading. These books follow the story of a group of humans sent off to start a new life on a remote planet. There's no return, and not even any communication from Earth after the first few years. Once there they find they have problems, big problems, because some of the wildlife on the planet is quite hosti ...more
Jan 17, 2016 Martina rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf
Okay. So I took the advice of someone whose opinion I trust in many matters, and picked up The legacy of Heorot. Judging by the recommendation, it was bound to be a great hard SF read about colonizing a new planet, with lots of action.

Aaaaand... then I read the book. As y'all can tell, I wasn't impressed. While I have nothing against the basic premise (as I've said before, not-so-original premises can yield good and entertaining stories), I have trouble with other elements. For example, the cha
Jun 12, 2015 Henry rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
A nostalgic read for me, my teenage reading was interspersed by a few from these authors, they were always big schlocky sci fi reads in my eyes trying to write the ultimate in each sub genre. I read the alien invasion one "Footfall", the natural disaster/comet strike one "Lucifer's Hammer" and LOVED them. I mean, LOVED THEM.

This is the alien predator one, where earth's first colony lands on the new planet and has to confront nasties on their own territory in a fight for survival.

The law of unint
May 05, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A recent skim through this — I first read and reviewed it in 2001 — confirms what a rich novel this was, from its maps by Alexis Walser to the apt literary quotes as chapter headings, and from its scientific premises to its broader and occasionally more dubious environmental messages. As always there is so much one could say, but a short review will have to focus on a few points that particularly intrigued me.

At twelve light years from our solar system Tau Ceti (or τ Ceti) has long been of astro
Some thots:
Enjoy the throw-out to Tunnel in the Sky with the Dopey Joe reference (view spoiler) and how Cadmann thought he was better at square dancing then everybody else on the dance floor.

And the nod to Red Planet! Love it! (view spoiler) Took me a moment to realize what they were discussing, there.

I never before realized how much the attack on the 'camp' in this story is to the att
Oct 11, 2014 David rated it really liked it
So, I read the second book in the series a while ago, but it was wonderful to come back and get the earlier perspective. The combination of talents of the authors are very enjoyable, I like the characterizations, and the ecology of the alien world. The details of the grendels are awesome, and the particular horror of them towards the end of the book really got me, even after having read the second book in the series, it was a revelation as to how the ecology worked. Not that this book is a horro ...more
Dec 19, 2011 Ronschae4 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
These are the ROCK STARS of modern SF! This is one (of a bushel-ful) of their finest work. A tremendous retelling of Beowulf vs. Grendel with great science behind the plot. Set in a far off world, a human settlement is besieged by a faster-than-the-eye beast - which will be your heart rate, too, as this captivating story unfolds. Brilliant! Classic literature meets contemporary masters - could it get any better? I say NO!
Sep 11, 2014 Will rated it liked it
As bug-hunt science fiction goes, this is entertaining enough. It reads a lot like the novelization for a summer blockbuster movie, with all the good and bad that that implies. It is also written by three authors, and feels like it...there are moments when this reads like a "novel by committee". The characterizations are pretty one-dimensional, especially the attempts at a love triangle (*snort* it's pretty bad) and there is one particular plot device that seems almost comically contrived (no sp ...more
Charles JunkChuck
Jun 24, 2016 Charles JunkChuck rated it really liked it
Niven and Pournelle are polished vets and that shows in this brisk, action-oriented tale of isolated colonists confronted by the serpents inhabiting what they thought was their own private Eden. Ths tale is strong on plot and surges forward, focusing on military veteran Weyland, whose dire warnings about lax security measures are ridiculed by the arrogant intellectuals who comprise the majority of his fellow settlers. Given that set-up, it is all but inevitable that things will go awry, and they ...more
Dec 23, 2007 Alan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I think this is one of the best Sci-Fi books i have ever read!
Bad and sexist? A little sexism is amusing but this is rubbish.
May 06, 2015 Balkron rated it it was ok
Shelves: space, reviewed, phone
My Rating Scale:
1 Star - Horrible book, It was so bad I stopped reading it. I have not read the whole book and wont
2 Star - Bad book, I forced myself to finish it and do NOT recommend. I can't believe I read it once
3 Star - Average book, Was entertaining but nothing special. No plans to ever re-read
4 Star - Good Book, Was a really good book and I would recommend. I am Likely to re-read this book
5 Star - GREAT book, A great story and well written. I can't wait for the next book. I Will Re-Read th
When Earth (the National Geographic Society, more precisely) sends away our first colonists to another planet, will we choose amongst the best and brightest? Yes, we will. Will they screw up royally? Oh, yeah, they will.

About 200 hundred colonists, picked up from the most intellectually and physically fit, take the 100-year trip to Tau Ceti and settle on an island in the fourth planet, Avalon. Although they suffer from hibernation instability, a condition that has mildly affected the mental capa
Invadozer Misothorax Circular-thallus Popewaffensquat

I have been putting off reading forever because way
back when I read a review of it and said it wasn't as
Niven and Pournelle wrote together. I loved the book
they did INFERNO also, no one else seems to like that
great book.... but that's not what I'm plugging. This
book I consumed in a day. It held me with it's writing
style and flow after the first few chapters when you're
saying to yourself, what a horrible boring planet
grrrrr. This Avalon planet is
Jan 06, 2013 Alfred rated it did not like it
Shelves: scifi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 30, 2007 Talkswithwind rated it liked it
Shelves: pre-2000, sf, hardsf
This is a book in the, Earth sends Colonies to the stars, and runs into major problems, genre. It is interesting as I read this book just after a Nancy Kress novel in the same genre. This particular book was published twenty years ago, so the science assumptions are subtly different than more recent books.

I first picked this book up while I was on my Larry Niven kick. It was very different than other Niven books because this is a colaboration with two other authors. This adds to the book in my j
Jana Richard
Aug 05, 2015 Jana Richard rated it really liked it
I don't read a lot of sci fi, but when I do, I like it to be a struggle against the environment and not just about a good guy with superior technology and intellect. This fits the bill. The characters are flawed and evolve through out the story as they struggle in an unknown world. The science behind the expedition is also plausible, well researched and interesting. Nothing too "far out", making the story seem believable.
Holly Ollivander
Aug 09, 2015 Holly Ollivander rated it it was amazing
The Legacy of Heorot (1985) and its companion Beowulf’s Children (1987)—You don’t read them for elevated literary pyrotechnics, you read them for one of the most thrilling adventures ever put to paper. Why these have not been made into Hollywood blockbusters is beyond me—the suspense is unbearable, the action is edge-of-your-seat… don’t read these before bed, guaranteed you won’t sleep easily.
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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
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Other Books in the Series

Heorot (2 books)
  • Beowulf's Children (Heorot, #2)

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