H.A.'s Reviews > Lucifer's Hammer

Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven
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Mar 07, 2009

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bookshelves: apocalyptic, disaster, thriller
Read in March, 2009

All the cliches about a good thrill apply here: gripping, a page-turner. I was completely engrossed in the story. A cool thing about it was the science involved in the beginning (although I have no way to know if it's *correct* science).

The story isn't without some major problems. A lot of the solutions to problems seem pat -- a lot of "OMG WHAT LUCK!" involved. There are also some serious issues with race and gender. For example. The Big Bads (besides the comet, of course) were an army led by a black street thug/thief, and a black, cannibalistic army sergeant. The only black characters who weren't on the "bad side" were one of the last astronauts, who was never much developed beyond, "he had an ex wife and kids in Texas who died," and a woman in the valley who was, conveniently, black also.

As for women, they immediately fell into "helpmeet" roles, and the only thing said about that was "things had changed back into old roles by necessity." The main female character was considered chattel, with whomever married her becoming the leader of the Stronghold after her father died.

These things were uncomfortable, but... one has to remember that the first printing of this book was 1977, so it really is a product of the times. It wasn't as terrifying as I thought it would be, but it was an interesting departure from my usual fare.
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