A re-read of one of my favorite books of all time. Let’s see how it holds up! Which isn’t much of a suspense since I last read it about 2-3 years ago and still liked it. So it’s not like the Dragonlance books that I remember enjoying a lot when I was 12 and haven’t touched because I doubt they will hold up and I want to keep my good memories of them.
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On to the actual review. This is one of my favorite stories ever. Not to mention I consider it one of the best science fiction books ever written. I have read it probably a half-dozen times by now including this one. Last time was a few years ago, but I’m happy to report that it continues to hold up even today.
Sure, some of the seams are showing. It isn’t as amazingly impressive as it once was, I suspect even someone reading it for the first time today won’t be as mind-blown as I was two decades ago. However, the writing quality of the story is high enough that it avoids dating itself. Most of the tech is spoken of in fairly abstract terms and the alien Moties are developed enough and alien enough that they remain a near perfect example of scifi worldbuilding. I continue to think that the combination of Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle is the best science fiction author published to date.
The pacing is a little weird, but not in a bad way. The start is great, the middle rolls along quite well, then we get a build-up to a satisfying ending. Then I realized we were still at the halfway point of the book. I was reading a build-up to satisfying ending over and over again for about half of the book. It manages to work. It wasn’t just twist endings, and it wasn’t just ending and then ending and so on. It was building up to the ending, and the ending of that happens in a way that we realize that there is more to cover before wrapping up, so we build up to that ending, and so on. Each one was a break point that the story could have ended on, but the story just keeps flowing along smoothly anyway. It happens about three times and I didn’t mind it at all.
I would recommend this to anyone. If you are a fan of science fiction this is a must read. Other than a really in-depth analysis of the story (which would take forever and probably be several novels worth of text itself) there really isn’t much more I can say about it.
You Could Read This Instead: The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle You should be reading this one, of course. Saying bad things about this book is fighting words around me. Well, unless they are intelligently considered and valid points about the weak parts of the story. Then I just grumble and agree with you.