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The Gripping Hand

(Moties #2)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  10,941 ratings  ·  270 reviews
For the safety of mankind, the aliens called Moties have been quarantined for 25 years (see THE MOTE IN GOD'S EYE) and are now poised to break out of their solar system and spread rapidly into humanity's space. Kevin Renner, Horace Bury, Rod Blaine and other characters introduced in THE MOTE IN GOD'S EYE must now find new ways to cope with the inevitable Motie expansion wh ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 413 pages
Published January 1st 1994 by Pocket Books (first published January 1st 1993)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  10,941 ratings  ·  270 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
This sequel to The Mote in God's Eye is a two-time DNF for me. I like the first book so much and I kept thinking, even if the sequel's not as good, it has to be worth reading, and I really want to find out what happened with the Moties. And both times--several years apart--I got about half-way through, bogged down and quit. The storyline just got too slow and confusing and I completely lost interest.

I was reasonably engaged with the first half of the story, which involves a mystery with a Mormon
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
This is the sequel to The Mote in God's Eye, and everything that made the original book remarkable is missing, while everything that bothered me about it is back with a force. What made the original so compelling was the central mystery around the true nature of the aliens with whom the protagonists make first contact -- I can't talk about that without spoiling the first book to readers unfamiliar with it. There's very little of that sort of driving enigma present in The Gripping Hand. The novel ...more
J.M. Hushour
Feb 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
This is one of those rare novels that I just can't finish. If I'm halfway through and I still have found not an iota to like, I'll pack it in. When I was younger, I toughed out everything. "I never put a book down, no matter how bad!" Whatever, Young & Stupid Me. Life is too short to slog through terrible shit.
Now, I loved "The Mote in God's Eye". That was a four-star sci-fi space opera epic. This...I don't even know what to say. A lot of people found fault with the shallow characterization of t
Al Maki
May 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: story
I first read this in 1994 and had low opinion of it. Re-reading it now I think there's more to it than I understood. It has two large problems. It's sequel to one of the most highly regarded science fiction novels ever so it would have to be of the stature of the Divine Comedy to not seem a let-down. I think it also suffers from too many ideas in too few pages (412). This causes the development to seem sketchy. It probably needed about a thousand to fully develop its burden. But then it would ha ...more
Sep 28, 2007 rated it liked it
Long-awaited sequel to The Mote in God's Eye. It doesn't live up to its predecessor, but Mote is perhaps the best first contact s.f. novel ever, so it's understandable why Hand fails to hit the mark.

Roughly the first half of the novel, before Kevin Renner and company return to the Mote system, is slow-going, but I appreciated the opportunity to see a bit more of the Empire itself, especially the capital world of Sparta. The character of Horace Hussein Bury is also fleshed out much more here than
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars rounded up. I first read this story many years ago when it was first published.
Now having gone through it again, this time as an audio book, I have to say the story has held up very well. In fact I think I enjoyed it more the second time. Niven and Pournelle gave us a gripping story with lots of space action and interesting aliens.
This book can be read alone but to get the most from it, it would be best to read The Mote in God's Eye first.
May 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Sequel to The Mote in God's Eye.

After a quarter of a century, the Moties are poised to return, and humanity has to try to deal with it.

Just didn't hit me at all.
Daniel Burton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: science fiction readers
Recommended to MattR by: my father
25 years have passed since the Moties were locked into their solar system by the human blockade.In the plot of The Gripping Hand by Larry Niven Horace Bury, the man given thje job of keeping the alien moties under control, and his assistant Renner find out that a new jump point to the motie system may open up allowing the moties to escape. Mean while a worm is invented to allow moties to live without reproducing.If moties don't reproduce they die. Burry and Renner discover the jump point just in ...more
Tim Hicks
Jan 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of intelligent hard SF
Shelves: science-fiction
THis is the sequel to A Mote In God's Eye (Murchison's Eye in the UK I think). Pournelle and Niven have worked together brilliantly to bring this complex story to completion. It's a great examination of the need to understand the other person's motivation before committing to major action. ...more
Feb 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Very slow first half book, it got better but off it goes to listia. =)
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
WARNING! Minor spoilers of the prequel to The Gripping Hand, The Mote in God's Eye, are contained in this review.

The Gripping Hand is the sequel to one of my favorite science fiction novels, The Mote in God's Eye. I had no idea there was a sequel until I stumbled upon a copy a while back. I was surprised to see that though I distinctly recall reading Mote it was not on my list of books read. (I have since corrected this electronically.) I started to keep a list of books I read circa June 1979. C
Storyline: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing Style: 2/5
World: 3/5

I've looked forward to The Gripping Hand. In fact, I've thought better of the series' first, The Mote in God's Eye since I first read and enjoyed it. It captured politics really well, particularly the politics in limited information scenarios. Thus what resulted was a space opera full of diplomatic brinkmanship, thoughtfully written. Niven and Pournelle do something similar in The Gripping Hand except they don't devote nearly as much time
Jeff Miller
Jun 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Really quite a good SF book with one major fault, being that it is a sequel to The Mote in God's Eye one of the best SF books ever written. This sequel has much to like as far a military sf and in-depth social-political plotting in regards to both the humans and the aliens the Moties. The understanding of the Motie civilization via the lens of Arah history was also quit interesting. Some of the characters from the first novel are there with a concentration on the former Navy navigator and the Ga ...more
Jun 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Eighteen years after publishing The Mote in Gods Eye, Niven and Pournelle have written a sequel that, while not as novel, is more thrilling than the first tale of alien savants.

I think that the opening mystery tale involving “New Utah,” and the possibility that the Moties have at last escaped into the Empire of Man is an unnecessary set up. Even so, it is more interesting than much of the slow build up that follows. But the patient reader is finally rewarded with another amazing look a Motie ci
Dec 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: hardcore Niven/Pournelle fans
Shelves: fiction
Have you ever watched a sequel to a movie that you really liked, and partway into it realized that the whole purpose of the movie was for the stars to have a paid summer vacation? (Yes Ocean's Twelve, I'm looking at you.) The plot is thin, marginal characters from the original show up, there are a lot of exotic locales and gratuitous makeouts between characters (onscreen or off), and basically everyone in the production, if not the audience, is having fun.

The Gripping Hand is that concept applie
Kat  Hooper
Jun 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobook
The Gripping Hand (1993) is Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s sequel to their popular 1974 novel The Mote in God’s Eye, which you probably want to read first. This review will have a couple of spoilers for The Mote in God’s Eye.

Recall that by the year 3017 AD, humans had designed the Alderson Drive — an interstellar transporter which allowed them to jump out of our galaxy to colonize different star systems. Then they discovered the first alien species — the Moties — who were excellent engineers
Apr 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I enjoyed this probably more than my 3 star rating would indicate. Non-planetary Moties, some returning characters from The Mote in God's Eye and some new, space battles and political strategy--all pluses. But the big minus for me was that most of the book seemed to be build-up and all the action was really crammed into the second half of the book. ...more
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
love a good sequel :)
Turok Tucker
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's no easy task to write a sequel to a masterwork, let alone with a couple decades in between, but "The Gripping Hand" manages to the task. The Empire's blockade is collapsing, whilst the Empire is more powerful and consolidated than ever before thanks to the work of Kevin Renner and Horace Bury working as Imperial Spy with enough license to do the deal as they see it. Lord and Lady Blaine are relegated to Sparta at their institute with a break-through technology in dealing with the Moties. Th ...more
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi, fiction
This book was just OK. It was nice to revisit the Moties universe, but the story was simply not sufficiently coherent. Despite the fact that there was a very clear overarching plot, the story still somehow gave the impression that it was cobbled together out of a few mostly meandering novellas.

In the first section, Renner and Bury are visiting a somewhat fringe world to try to investigate some anomalies, and they fear the Moties may have secretly escaped the Mote system. This was a decent standa
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Considering the rating, I find the book to be utterly disappointing. It probably assumes the reader to be familiar with the previous book in the series, and for readers like me, it is confusing and after a while, I lost interest and a kind of forced myself to finish it.
John G
Aug 17, 2018 rated it liked it
A good book, but not as good as The Mote in God's Eye. ...more
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Strictly okay compared to The Mote in God's Eye. ...more
Mick Bordet
Lacking in much of the charm of the first book in the series and spending large percentage of time flying from here to there and back again, but there was still enough to make it enjoyable. There's a more satisfying conclusion to the story than in the first book and it was good to revisit some favourite characters. In particular, it would have been interesting to see more of the Bury/Renner antics from the years between the books. ...more
Ron Arden
I didn't even know there was a sequel to "The Mote in God's Eye", but here it is. The story picks up from its predecessor 25 years later. Rod Blaine is now a Lord and his wife Sally Fowler are big shots in the Empire. They have 2 children, Chris and Glenda Ruth, who among other things have been raised by the Motie ambassadors from the previous book.

Kevin Renner, who was the sailing master on MacArthur, the ship that visited the Mote in the first book, has been the pilot of Horace Bury these pas
Michael Burnam-Fink
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2017
I read The Mote In Gods Eye back in 2011, and didn't bother to write a review, but I remembered it as a slow investigation of the very strange alien culture of the Moties, and the fear of war to the knife between humanity and desperately poor, but fast-breeding aliens with technology just a hair more efficient than the humans. Out of fear, humanity imposed a quarantine on the Mote system, enforced by imperial blockade.

The Gripping Hand picks up 25 years after Mote, with Renner and Bury secret ag
Nov 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Finished this a while ago, just catching up.

I have really mixed feelings about this. In the first book, the lead-up to the Mote system and the denouement afterward weren't fantastic, and the time spent in the Mote system was really fun, suspenseful, etc. In this book, the time leading up to the Mote system was *fantastic* ... the time in the Mote system was, um, boring. And the ending felt rushed and sloppy. I think they were trying to write in a way that mirrored the character's feelings of bei
Jun 03, 2014 rated it liked it
This is the sequel to The Mote in God's Eye where humans and 'Moties' once again have contact. The Gripping Hand is easier to understand if you have read The Mote in God's Eye.

Man has blockaded the Alderson Point to keep the Moties (Moties bred exponentially and would quickly overrun Man's Empire) bottled up in their own system.

Bury and Renner (from The Mote in God's Eye) believe the Moties may have escaped; they pull strings so that they can visit the blockade. The tension builds through the no
Jan 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
For a sequel, the book starts off a little slow and gradually builds to become more interesting, more exciting, and more engaging. The developments in the Motie system after many years of blockade are the interesting points of note here and the focus on Horace Bury as the lead human representative was also a different approach to my expectations for the novel.

The novel almost entirely focuses on events in and around the Motie system, space battles are to a degree, shortened and lacking detail, w
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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

Other books in the series

Moties (4 books)
  • Future History (Moties, #0.5)
  • The Mote in God's Eye (Moties, #1)
  • Outies (Moties, #3)

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