Optimism's Reviews > Footfall

Footfall by Larry Niven
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's review
Jan 26, 2009

liked it
Read in May, 2010

Another story of first contact from Niven and Pournelle.

Here's the problem: It's decidedly similar to Lucifer's Hammer. Asteroid impacts, married people who cheat the second they get the chance, and a fat biker who's out of long-term work plays his guitar for drinks.

I wish I were joking about that. The FBWOOLTWAPHGFD is not an archetype, guys. Okay? Okay.

The good: as with The Mote in God's Eye, the aliens are decidedly alien. Niven/Pournelle do a fantastic job of creating a psychology that is nothing like our own, and making it believable. The ability to make that happen is rare--look at Star Trek, where each race has its own basis: Klingons are Space Vikings, Romulans are Space Romans, Bajorans are Space Jews and the Cardassians are Space Nazis. Yes, the species are easier to understand, but the occasions of truly alien psychology are rare.

If anyone else has suggestions for more books like this--the ones that'll help xenopsychologists when we DO first make contact--let me know!
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