Mari's Reviews > Lucifer's Hammer

Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven
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Jan 25, 09

Recommended to Mari by: Mom
Recommended for: disaster fiction fans
Read in June, 2000, read count: 3

** spoiler alert ** One of the best pieces of apocalyptic fiction ever written.

There's a part early in the book where a couple of astronomers are trying to explain the sort of impact and resulting disaster that we should expect - but their explanation seems to only confuse the people present. So they search for an analogy to make it more clear:

"Hot fudge sundae," said Forrester?
"Hah?"
Forrester's grin was wide through his beard. "A cubic mile of hot fudge sundae. Cometary speeds."
Sharp's eyes lit up, "I like it! Let's hit the earth with a cubic mile of hot fudge sundae."
Lord God, they've gone bonkers, Harvey though. The two men raced each other to the blackboard. Sharps began to draw. "Okay. Hot fudge sundae. Let's see: We'll put the vanilla ice cream in the center with a layer of fudge over it..."
He ignored the strangled sound behind him. Tim Hamner hadn't said a word during the whole interview. Now he was doubled over, holding himself, trying to hold in the laughter. He looked up, choked, got his face straight, said "I can't stand it!" and brayed like a jackass "My comet! A cubic mile of hot . . . fudge . . . sun . . .dae!"
"With the fudge as the outer shell, "Forrester amplified, "so the fudge will heat up with hit the Hammer rounds the Sun."


What's not to love about a comet disaster book that includes a hot fudge sundae analogy? Of course it gets much much worse with post-apocalyptic battles, religious cults, cannibals, lots and lots of rain and flooding, that sort of thing. But really, this is Niven and Pournelle at their finest. My only complaint is that it takes awhile to get started in the excitement, and the end seems to grind to a halt rather than building up to the excitement of the previous chapters - but still an excellent read.
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