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The Jupiter Theft

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  177 ratings  ·  17 reviews

Within hours after the Lunar observatory picked up a strange new X-ray source in Cygnus, the disastrous picture was clear. An immense object was hurtling toward the Solar System at nearly the speed of light...and its intense radiation would surely wipe Earth free of all life within six months.

There was nothing anyone could do.

Then, incredibly, the rogue th
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 25th 1979 by Sphere Books (first published January 1st 1977)
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Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary |
The Jupiter Theft is the second book I’ve read by Donald Moffitt. The first, Children of the Comet, I read shortly after his death a few years ago. It was unplanned that I picked up this book, but midway through I realized I had inadvertently given myself a chance to see how the author’s writing had progressed over almost forty years. This is his first science fiction novel.

I hadn’t heard of Donald Moffitt before stumbling upon Children of Men. And I hadn’t heard of The Jupiter Theft until I was
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun science-fiction novel that pulled me in with elements of space opera (risky missions! narrow escapes! freaky aliens!), hard-science sci-fi (plausible artificial gravity limitations! freaky alien biology!) and political maneuvering... in space! Published in the 70's, Moffitt's vision of the future now has odd elements of alternate history as well, for someone reading it in 2016.

I'm always happy when a novel presents an alien race that is, well, genuinely alien, and the ones in this book fit t
Feb 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci fi fans, futurists, scientists
Recommended to Michael by: Wayne Douglas Barlowe
This is a very solid and well-written hard s-f novel from the seventies, which has largely been ignored since, perhaps in part due to the lousy title. The title might cause you to think it was a space opera heist story of some kind, rather than scientifically rigorous sci fi. Moffitt is not a trained scientist, however he managed to make predictions which, by and large, do not seem dated almost forty years later. That’s not to say that he predicted i-phones or goodreads, but within the range of ...more
Dean Burnett

Ok so this is, overall, a good fun sci-fi romp which introduces some genuinely interesting alien life and major-scale science, and it's cool that, even though the plot revolves around the destruction of our solar system's biggest planet, the overall vibe is still upbeat and optimistic.

The book does fall down a bit for me though. Part of it is entirely personal because it was maybe the third book in a row I'd read where Jupiter gets destroyed. N
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Maybe 3.5 stars. Lots of science ficiton elements. Unique central premise. Not so much for character-oriented readers.

Spoilers below

The central concept is an alien society which is using gas giant planets as fuel for interstellar travel. They stop at our solar system to "refill their gas tank" by preparing their process to enlist Jupiter as their fuel for the next leg of their journey. As the aliens approach the solar system, their deceleration from near-light-speed creates an x-ray source noti
Charles Harrison
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Rating this book was harder than I expected. It was hard to weigh up overall: On one hand the dystopian future is rich and interesting on the other this gets completely ignored in the surprise optimistic ending. On one hand the physics is simply beautiful and makes amazing use of relativity on the other this gets really bogged down and over explained. On one hand the alien biology is detailed and original on the other a pair of deus ex machina aliens turn up when needed to speed up the plot. On ...more
Trevor McGuire
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun little book full of lots of hard science (or some real solid attempts at it), traditional SF characters, some backstabbing, a hero and a liberal dose of Red Scare.

The story centers around a human expedition to Jupiter that ends up being rerouted because of surprise visitors from outside our solar system. First Contact ensues and the reader is taken on a journey through their massive interstellar craft, given a detailed exposition of their anatomy, science and language, and then fin
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An astronomer would love this book; too much detail for me.

This book was a little bit too much ; there were a lot of things that didn't make sense, especially when the aliens showed up. About the only thing that did make sense was the fact that there were government agents spying on the scientists aboard the Jupiter spaceship and they were willing to "nuke" whole planets of people including some of their fellow space travelers.
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Science fiction has come a long way since this book was written. I picked it up on Amazon on free book day. It was still pretty fun to read, but I probably wouldn't have paid money for the book today. This book came out right before Star Wars did and it reads with a Heinlein, Asimov flavor.
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a rousing tale of super science with bizarre aliens and deadly intrigue .
Shayla Morgansen
Jan 10, 2016 rated it liked it
The blurb likened this book to the work of a favourite of mine, Arthur C Clarke, and in style, it definitely came close. Honest, hard science formed the solid foundation of this 1977 sci-fi and made for a convincing, interesting series of events. The main character, Jameson, was likeable and his defining ability of perfect pitch was introduced gently enough that I didn't roll my eyes when it became pertinent to the success of the mission.
Unfortunately, this fantastic foundation is not enough to
Very much a hard sci-fi from the 70s, it includes a great deal of information on space travel and the physics of life in space.
The story starts slow, with that peculiarly-70s style of detached writing and is much more "tell" than "show". I almost gave up on it until the Cygnans show up, which is when the narrative becomes interesting.

If you like sci-fi it's worth the read, just don't give up on it.
Eric Simmons
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was an interesting read. It's an interesting take on the basic alien invasion story with the twist being that the aliens aren't at all interested in Earth. Their technology is far more advanced than ours, they find us a bit interesting but then brush us aside and take what they want. They aren't out to destroy us, in fact they really don't give us much thought at all.

Ironically the biggest threat to the human race, even after the invading aliens make their appearance is other humans.
May 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I admit it. This book is guilty of having clunky characterization, and it's not a great soul-rending exploration of the human psyche. But it deserves classic status within the genre. Here is a premise as incredible as the best of Clarke or Niven, and an alien species both strange compelling. I need nothing more
I read this book because it uses the idea of a language that requires absolute pitch. The aliens were somewhat interesting, their technology and history somewhat more so, but the stultifying presence of stupid governments throughout most of the book was almost overwhelming.
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the books I read in the 80s. It somehow made an impression because I still remember even after I've forgotten other, more popular titles.
Alan Clark
Dec 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fast-paced, scientifically literate, hard SF. Much better than the average rating would suggest, imo, with plenty of interesting aliens, facts and ideas.
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Donald Moffitt was born in Boston and now lives in rural Maine with his wife, Ann, a native of Connecticut. A former public relations executive, industrial filmmaker, and ghost­writer, he has been writing fiction on and off for more than twenty years under an assortment of pen names, including his own, chiefly espionage novels and adventure stories in international settings. His first full-length ...more

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