The Gripping Hand (Mote Series #2)

( 20 )

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 ...

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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.

The long-awaited sequel to the landmark novel The Mote in God's Eye. A quarter century after humanity quarantined the aliens known as the Moties within the confines of their own solar system, the wall between them and the galaxy beyond is beginning to crumble. "Worth waiting eighteen years for!"--Tom Clancy.

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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: 1/28/1994
  • Series: Mote Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 423,585
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Larry Niven (left) is the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of such classics as Ringworld, The Integral Trees, and Destiny's Road. He has also collaborated with both Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes on The Legacy of Heorot, Beowulf's Children, and the bestselling Dream Park series. He lives in Chatsworth, California.
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle were the joint winners of the 2005 Robert A. Heinlein Award.

Jerry Pournelle (right), a past winner of the John W. Campbell Award, has collaborated with Niven on numerous bestsellers. He has also written such successful solo novels as Janissaries and Starswarm. He lives in Studio City, California.
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle were the joint winners of the 2005 Robert A. Heinlein Award.

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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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 20 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2006

    Bad Bad Sequel

    I highly unrecommend this book. I love Larry Niven's early works, including the first Mote book, and this is simply an insult to his memory. The characters' behavior is solely dictated by the requirement of pushing them around to different locales without regard for logic. And the plot is simply an insult. And while some of the characters act as if the first book never happened, other characters act in completely different ways that don't even make sense compared with their earlier incarnation. Oh yeah, everyone's an idiot. All the characters are entirely stupid and never do the right thing. Had any of these characters done the right thing, the book would have been dreadfully boring, but it really was pretty boring anyway. I've read this book twice (the second time to convince myself that I wasn't mistaken (I wasn't)) and read the first Mote book many many times. And I would much rather read the first one again than to ever read the second one ever. If you read the first one and would like to know how everything turned out, take my advice and just leave it alone. You don't want to know. Unless, of course, you're an idiot who likes to be pandered to and you don't care what you read, in which case you might really like this one. But if you don't enjoy wasting your time, don't read this book. There are a lot of great Niven books out there, and by the time you finish reading the last one, you'll have already forgotten how great the first one is. And if not, there's always Clarke or Asimov.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 31, 2012

    Fun follow-up to the first book

    A good read, just a little bit below the quality of the first book. Some parts got really hard to follow.

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  • Posted February 25, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Mote in God's Eye II

    I read the first book in this series, "The Mote in God's Eye", about 2 years ago, and until recently, I didn't realize there was a sequel. When I found out, I quickly tracked it down. To be honest, I don't remember the characters all that well from the first book - I wouldn't wait years between them if you don't have to. And while this sequel does take awhile to get going, I don't understand all of the negative reviews about it. It's a good story, and interesting. I like how the aliens here are asymmetrical, mysterious and quietly sinister. Plus the hard science of how they travel between systems is neat (a different take than the usual lightspeed or hyperspace route). Will it take 18 years for another sequel to come out? Who knows, but I remain a fan. Recommended to anyone who loved the first.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2004

    The Moties Are Back

    In this sequel to The Mote in God¿s Eye, humans and the alien ¿Moties¿ once again come into contact with dramatic results. The Empire of Man has a blockade to keep the Moties bottled up in their own system because the Moties are explosively expansive and would quickly overrun the Empire. Horace Bury, an Imperial Trader, and Kevin Renner, his pilot, travel through the Empire helping Naval Intelligence quell rebellion. But Bury and Renner, veterans from the first contact with the Moties, have another goal: to make sure that the Moties stay penned up in their system. When they find possible evidence that the Moties may escape, they pull all the strings they can find in order to visit the blockade. Events unfold quickly and they end up once more in the Mote system, trying to prevent a disaster. They have help of Chris and Glenda Ruth Blain, the two children of the first expedition¿s captain. The Blaine¿s have unique insight into the situation because they grew up around the only Moties allowed into the Empire. The tension is thick at times, and the space battles are well plotted. However, there are large stretches consisting of political intrigue and Motie history lessons that slow down the plot considerably. I think the sections are interspersed well enough to hold the reader¿s interest. Some of the plot twists were hard to follow, especially once the Moties are involved. However, considering the chaos involved during battles and throwing in completely alien thought patters, it¿s probably fair to have some confusion in the plot. The characters are engaging, but I found it a little annoying that some of them just drop out of the story at the end without resolutions. The Gripping Hand is definitely easier to read if you have the background found in The Mote in God¿s Eye. However, like most sequels, it doesn¿t live up to the promise of the first book. It¿s entertaining, but not destined to be a classic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2000

    Tremedous Book

    Though I have not read the previous book, The Mote inGod's Eye's, I really enjoy this one. I like the way it combines history with the future in a unique manner. The whole book was phenominal. I give Niven and Pournelle a standing ovation for thier miraculous achievement.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2000

    A Disappointing Sequel

    For the first time ever I'm disappointed that Niven and Pournelle have produced a work that fails to live up to their previous efforts. 'The Gripping Hand' starts off disappointing and doesn't improve at all. It seems more like a collection of ideas that the authors were exploring and then tried to tie them all together in what seemed like a logical arrangement to produce the sequel. Even the Military aspects of the Empire have been toned down(somewhat like the U.S. Military of the present)to the point where it's all a bit laughable. Even though it takes place twenty-five years after 'The Mote in God's Eye', the characters from that earlier novel are just not as believable as they were. Pournelle's 1981 solo effort, 'King David's Spaceship' was far better than 'The Gripping Hand', but the question must be asked, 'Gentlemen, what went wrong?'

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