Jake's Reviews > The Mote in God's Eye

The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven
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's review
Jun 21, 2009

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bookshelves: science-fiction
Read in June, 2009

I think every work of fiction bears the stamp of the time it was written, but science fiction books seem particularly afflicted in this regard. Take this novel, written in 1974 long regarded as one of the classics of "hard" science-fiction. In many ways, it lives up to its reputation-- the science behind its story of first contact with aliens is admirably well imagined in its details, from from the size and design of the spaceships to the caste-structure of the alien civilization. But the story definitely feels like it was imagined in the 70s, especially in its preoccupation with seminal 70s ideas like birth control and overpopulation. And the distinctly pulpy voice of much of the story, with all the classic tropes (gallant space captain, plucky girl space anthropologist, etc)-- that doesn't make you feel like you're reading a classic.

Still, worth reading, especially if you're interested in first contact stories-- I'd say this ranks up there with Sagan's Contact and Clark's Rendezvous with Rama in that regard.
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