The Gripping Hand (Mote Series #2)

The Gripping Hand (Mote Series #2)

3.6 22
by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle
     
 

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Robert Heinlein called it "possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read." The San Francisco Chronicle declared that "as science fiction, The Mote in God's Eye is one of the most important novels ever published." Now Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, award winning authors of such bestsellers as Footfall and The Legacy of Heorot,<

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Overview

Robert Heinlein called it "possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read." The San Francisco Chronicle declared that "as science fiction, The Mote in God's Eye is one of the most important novels ever published." Now Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, award winning authors of such bestsellers as Footfall and The Legacy of Heorot, return us to the Mote, and to the universe of Kevin Renner and Horace Bury, of Rod Blaine and Sally Fowler. There, 25 years have passed since humanity quarantined the mysterious aliens known as Moties within the confines of their own solar system. They have spent a quarter century analyzing and agonizing over the deadly threat posed by the only aliens mankind has ever encountered— a race divided into distinct biological forms, each serving a different function. Master, Mediator, Engineer. Warrior. Each supremely adapted to its task, yet doomed by millions of years of evolution to an inescapable fate. For the Moties must breed— or die. And now the fragile wall separating them and the galaxy beyond is beginning to crumble.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This adequate but inconsequential sequel to The Mote in God's Eye explores xenophobia and overpopulation in a futuristic world. (Jan.)
Carl Hays
Taking place some 25 years after the events depicted in Niven and Pournelle's now-classic sf adventure, "The Mote in God's Eye" (1974), this long-awaited sequel returns to the thirty-first-century Second Empire (a galaxy-wide domain that is receiving more extensive treatment in Pournelle's coauthored CoDominium series). After being confined to their own planetary system by a heavily enforced naval blockade because of the dangers they represent for mankind, the highly specialized and swiftly breeding aliens known as Moties are finally poised to break free. Imperial trader Horace Bury, a veteran of the original man-Motie confrontation, is first to discover the threat and races with his pilot, Kevin Renner, to the anticipated escape point near a newly forming star. The key difference in this latest encounter, however, is that both men and Moties now have their own unique bargaining chips, a situation that may or may not forestall a species-annihilating war. Although Pournelle and Niven sustain the suspense long enough to please most fans of their other collaborations, disappointment awaits those who enjoyed "The Mote"'s less dialogue-laden, more action-oriented pace. In short supply is the authors' usual fascination for technological extrapolation, for their emphasis has shifted instead to political stratagems. Despite these (for fans) shortcomings, it is a pleasure to return to the company of what is surely one of the most intriguing, endearingly quirky alien races in all of science fiction.
Kirkus Reviews
The much-anticipated sequel to The Mote In God's Eye (1974), which put Niven and Pournelle on the bestseller lists (more recent collaborations: The Legacy of Heorot, with Steven Barnes, 1987; Footfall, 1985). Here, some 25 years after the events of Mote—in which human explorers discovered a remarkably adaptable, and terribly dangerous, alien race, the Moties—two survivors of the expedition, Horace Hussein Bury, now a rich trader, and Kevin Renner, retired from the Imperial Space Navy to work as his pilot, become convinced that the Moties are on the verge of breaking the quarantine around their solar system, an event that would plunge the human race into a war for survival. The search for some way to prevent that disaster leads them eventually to a second visit to the Moties' system. As usual, the authors present a large cast of characters, including a few from Mote; many of the latter have matured engagingly, although the aliens are still more interesting than any of the humans. Meanwhile, there's plenty of action, from single combat to full-scale space battles, but the resolution of the plot depends on the cerebral—from the remarkable alien biology of the Moties to Bury's shrewd political bargaining. And, as always with Niven and Pournelle, this is science fiction with the emphasis on science. It is never easy to top a success on the scale of Mote, but Niven and Pournelle have given it an honest try. The result is sometimes slow-paced and talky, but few readers are likely to be disappointed. A good bet to make the Hugo ballot, as well as the bestseller lists.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671795740
Publisher:
Pocket Books
Publication date:
01/28/1994
Series:
Mote Series, #2
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

A severed head spun across black sky. He had been a Marine: square jaw, close-cropped blonde hair, glittering dead eyes. The slack mouth tried to speak. "Tell them," it said. "Stop them." Vacuum made its skin puffy, and blood made frozen bubbles on the thick neck. "Wake them. Wake them up. Mr. Bury, sir. wake up," it said urgently. The sky swarmed with small six-limbed shapes. They thrashed in the vacuum, found their balance, and swam toward him, past him, toward the battleship Lenin. Vacuum swallowed his scream. "Wake up," they chittered at him. "Please Excellency, you must wake up." His Excellency, Horace Hussein Al-Shamlan Bury, Trader and Magnate, jerked and twitched and was sitting upright. He shook his head and forced his eyes open. The small, dark man was standing a safe distance away. Bury said "Nabil. What time is it?" "It's two in the morning, Excellency. Mr. Renner insisted. He said to tell you. 'The gripping hand.' "

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