@Ebook ï The Mote in God's Eye ⚣ eBook or E-pub free

Written in 1972, The Mote in God s Eye is the premier work by award winning authors Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, who also collaborated on the science fiction classics Footfall and Lucifer s Hammer Grand Master Robert A Heinlein called it possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read It easily makes my Top 10 Sci Fi Book List.The story is set in the year 3017 A.D The Second Interstellar Empire of man is in the process of forcefully reuniting many colonies long lost since the collapse of the 1st Empire, when an alien slower than light space craft enters the New Caledonia system coming from the direction of the Coalsack Nebula From the nearby colonies, this black nebula looks like a hooded man with a large red giant star positioned as a single eye with a small yellow star embedded The image is so powerful that a cultic religion claimed that the Coalsack visage was in reality the image of God Our story is about mankind s first contact with an intelligent alien species, and a subsequent expedition to the barely visible yellow star system or mote in the middle of God s Eye This book is probably the finest contemplation of a human alien first contact that I have ever read And itdoes one of the best jobs of creating a truly alien life form, a richly textured alien culture and an array of carefully drawn characters placed in complex situations with no easy solutions The difficult task of the fantasy writer is always whether to make aliens that are really alien and thus difficult to understand, or to make them human like, so the reader can easily relate to them In this case, the Moties are not only biologically and culturally peculiar, they also have well thought out alien motivations that drive them in ways that mark them as distinctly un human.The many human characters are generally stereotypical and predictable as individuals, though together they form a diverse group, each character with a different perspective which the novel explores thoroughly This careful diversity serves to advance the action and explore the many complexities of the plot The result is a gripping mystery as well as an adventure story, which left me with a strong sense of empathy for the individuals of both civilizations and how they were affected by these most unusual circumstances The Mote in God s Eye presents the classic problem of first contact Are the aliens a terrible danger or a unique opportunity Should they be welcomed into the Empire, or should they be obliterated The military is charged with the responsibility of determining whether the Moties are a threat to humanity, and with preventing their discovery of human technologies which might increase such a threat On the other hand, the expedition s scientists become champions of open communication, scientific and commercial exchange In most tales of first contact with an alien species, they come to us, and they aren t here to make friends Niven and Pournelle encourage us to reverse the tables, and ask What if we traveled to an alien home world, and our intentions were not entirely benevolent This tale makes clear that an alien species concerns about contacting us for the first time would probably be the same as our concerns about contacting them One of the things that make this such a great book is that the parallels just keep coming After a while we have a hard time knowing who has the mote and who has the beam in his eye Upon arriving in the Mote system the human expedition discovers a technologically advanced race of beings genetically engineered for high efficiency and speciated into various casts such as engineers, mediators, and rulers each with it s own extraordinary innate genius The culture resulting from these biological distinctives is an utterly alien type of industrial feudalism This vast dissimilarity is accentuated by glimpsing first contact from the Motie point of view They are as absolutely amazed and bewildered as are the humans This provides another wonderful parallel hearkening back to the theme of seeing others differently than we see ourselves.As the humans surmised from the slower than light vessel encountered in New Caledonia, despite their amazing technological advancement, the Moties have not fully mastered the art of hyperspace jumps between stars, as humans have, and consequently have been bottled up in their own system for countless years It is determined to prevent the Moties from learning that technology at all costs, at least until they prove not to be a threat.The humans and Moties play the game of diplomacy, each trying to learn what they need to know while trying to keep the other side from learning dangerous secrets There is also tension between the scientific and military sides of the expedition, and their conflicting goals The scientists become convinced the Moties are benign, while the military sinks into paranoia The truth is believably complex, and lies somewhere in between This book is far from allegory, though it was written in 1972, and raises several cold war issues, such as the rational reasons both races have to distrust the other and energetically act for self preservation regardless of the cost to others Niven and Pournelle explore every issue from multiple perspectives, leaving no room for good vs evil simplifications And in the end we learn that despite their great secrets, the Moties are neither evil, nor are they completely virtuous they are in this way at least just like mankind.The intricacies of inter species politics is one of the reasons this work is so intriguing It forces us to ask whether our histories are so very different, and to examine the potential for humanity to fall into a Motie like dystopia We are forced to ask whether a species is justified in causing the extinction of another sentient species in order to preserve itself We also are brought to reflect upon whether the Motie s unique history has compelled them toward cynicism, and disdain for hopeful ideas and attitudes, and if we are so very different in our views of the future This book is loaded with intriguing mote beam questions In Sum, I would describe The Mote in God s Eye as a classic space opera, with plenty of action, lots of hard science, and an intricate storyline set in a believable, sympathetic and ultimately engrossing fictional universe It is extremely thought provoking, and stands up well to re reading Decades after my first reading I still enjoy this book immensely. Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle wrote a number of science fiction novels which I fondly remember The Legacy of Heorot tells the story of colonization and the perils of misunderstanding xenobiology Footfall is an exciting update on the War of the Worlds Lucifer s Hammer concerns the collapse of society in the face of a comet impact on Earth My major issue with Lucifer s Hammer, bloat, is a much bigger issue in highly regarded Mote in God s Eye.The bloat issue is gigantic here The first 150 pages are boring exposition filled where we meet the stock characters engineer with Scots accent, plucky female aristo along for the ride, young dashing military commander and learn about the painfully uninteresting world of the future Once we meet the aliens, known as Moties, it takes many pages before we learn anything about the society There are many portentous allusions to things the Moties don t want the humans to learn It takes so long to get to the revelations, that I really didn t care once I read about them.All this padding would be fine if Niven and Pournelle had provided a rich world to explore No such luck While the initial concept is interesting US and USSR unite, colonize space, have a civil war, new empire tries to pick up the pieces it quickly devolves into cutting and pasting from 19th century Britain The navy is straight from Horatio Hornblower, with officers named sailing master and teenage midshipman running crew sections.The Church which is Catholic, a bit odd given the leading space powers were largely Protestant and Orthodox is clearly powerful, without serving any narrative purpose Has the Church followed its social justice wing or become a rival power center to create challenges for the elite Has the theology created cultural restraints on the development of technology or society No and No All the galling the Church apparently hasn t changed much at all in a millennium.There is a decent story about alien contact amongst all its problems, but it is such a short part of the book, it is probably not worth working your way through to find it As the humans encounter the Moties, they learn that the society could threaten human society The debate concerns the means by which they must deal with it The viewpoints expressed nicely describe the classical realist view of politics Alien first contact follows similar rules and problems as seen in foreign relations What makes a country a threat How do you manage threats What is the purpose of interacting with other societies at all The book has some interesting, if one sided, things to say about this, but you have to wade through hundreds of pages of crap to get there If you are looking for a classic to discover, beware this one. @Ebook · The Mote in God's Eye ⛅ In , The Nd Empire Of Man Spans Hundreds Of Star Systems, Thanks To Faster Than Light Alderson Drive Intelligent Beings Are Finally Found From The Mote, An Isolated Star In A Thick Dust Cloud The Bottled Up Ancient Civilization, At Least One Million Years Old, Are Welcoming, Kind, Yet Evasive, With A Dark Problem They Have Not Solved In Over A Million Years 9 10 Because of the Alderson Drive we need never consider the space between the stars Because we can shunt between stellar systems in zero time, our ships and ships drives need cover only interplanetary distances Any self respecting space opera must start by postulating first a method for overcoming the vast emptiness of the space between stars You can call it unobtainium orequipotential thermonuclear flux , but you need to overhaul known physics principles in order to move instantly from point A to point B, several light years away.The second thing the writers need to come up with is conflict something to put meat on the bare bones of the plot Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle gives as right from the prologue a couple of millenia of our space faring future, complete with technological breakthroughs, explosive colonisation followed by economic collapse, imperialism and rebellion, space fleets modelled after the British colonialism Navy, complete with its highly exclusivist social structure.The detailed setup, and the lively introduction of the Hero, in the incarnation of a young and daring scion of a noble family who distinguishes himself as temporary ship captain in putting down an armed insurrection on a colony world, is merely the background for the most important event humanity has faced so far first contact with an alien civilization They could be the greatest potential danger we have ever faced, or the greatest potential opportunity we ve ever found Out of a tiny speck of light hardly visible in the corona of a red supergiant the mote and the God s eye , an exploration ship using a hydrogen scoop light sail is coming into the human known space at crawling Newtonian speeds First contact is actually botched, so the Imperial court is sending the Hero on a half scientific, half millitary mission to the mote to find out what kind of aliens we have stumbled upon This a re re read for me, and the story flies just as fast off the pages as the first time I went to the outer limits of the galaxy to meet the moties and their so different culture The novel may look like a doorstopper but it reads like a blockbuster, at least for those readers who are interested in speculative ideas and hard science than in well fleshed out characters or stylistic flourishes There s enough action and humor to satisfy also the impatient popcorn style of reader, but for me Niven comes closer to the golden age of SF here, in the Arthur C Clarke and Isaac Asimov mould.I would say The More in God s Eye is a classic of a genre and should not be missed by SF afficionados. This is a fantastic first contact novel I thoroughly enjoyed it The Moties were fascinating and much like their fellow human cast, I found my opinion of each of them changing as the story progressed There were many whom I loved at first and came to dislike, and vice versa All in all a wonderful set of characters to journey through the difficulties of first contact with.There are a lot of considerations when two intelligent species meet in space for the first time How much do you keep back How much information can you learn about the other without giving away too much of your own nature How do you appear both friendly and strong How do you hide the worst of your species It makes things very difficult for both parties I think Both go in with assumptions learned from their own experiences which can t accommodate for the fact that the others are alien It makes for interesting communications.To those who think this book contains sexist aspects, I disagree It s military There is one main female human character She says some things about contraceptive pills that implied to me that you don t need them unless you re sleeping with lots of men and proper ladies don t do that That was the kind of world they lived in It was the same kind of world that had aristocracy and titles She also had the choice to not just get married but to rather study and have a career, which she did I didn t get the hit of sexism, and when forced to confront the question I actually see a fair amount in the opposite direction And I was pleased to have a female character in an action military scenario who didn t have to kick ass just to be there I d been meaning to read this for ages and I m glad I did Thumbs up. The Mote in God s Eye is probably the finest contemplation of a human alien first contact that I have ever read The story deals out a sizable cast of characters without seeming overwhelming Mote explores every issue from multiple perspectives, leaving no room for good vs evil simplifications despite that fact that some characters are not likable The core theme of the book that a superior alien intelligence is limited by its inability to tolerate ideas based in hope and imagination evolves slowly enough to maintain interest and tension throughout the slower i.e non action packed sections of the book However, Mote does not suffer from its lack of astounding plot twists rather, its intricate storyline builds a believable, sympathetic and ultimately engrossing fictional universe. What could have been a decent fist contact story is completely undercut by poor character writing, lazy sexism, lack of actual critical thinking about human society, and a science fiction plot twist that itself undercuts the book s lazy sexism The book has the pieces for what should be a decent science fiction story First contact with a reasonably interesting alien civilization Misunderstandings and realizations of the aliens along the way at a satisfying pace Some decent humor Some decent action Unfortunately, the book s problems undermine its accomplishments and, in my opinion, prevent it from coming together very well.Firstly, the character writing is pretty dismal To call the characters cardboard cut outs is an insult to cardboard cut outs The characters are tired tropes, and kind of racist and sexist tired tropes at that Apparently, all the nations of earth colonize different star systems, and subsequently citizens of these star systems embody all of the lazy stereotypes of these nations Let s go down the list A dashing, bold, white western male captain A slightly stuck up, smart but somewhat naive noblewoman A hard to understand, rough around the edges Scottish engineer har har, ok, humorous tribute to the genre, we get it , a ruthless, efficient, by the book Russian admiral uh , and a greedy, deceitful, cowardly Muslim trader OK yea, this is just racist now , who is secretly cynically atheist yeah thanks Even leaving aside the problematic aspect of the stereotypes, this is just lazy character design One might hope that the characters start out as stereotypes in a tongue in cheek fashion and then transcend these stereotypes, become their own characters, and call into question the assumptions the authors relied on at the outset, but they never do anything of the sort No, they remain pretty much as uninteresting, underdeveloped, and undistinguished as they started.Next the sexism Look, I m a feminist, so this might bother me than some people, but really, the book is sexist in the laziest way possible Basically There is only one female character in the story, who is there mostly by mistake, and all the important military personnel and scientists and people of note are all men This doesn t appear to be a fluke of this particular grouping of military personnel and scientists, but rather the expected norm for this civilization The only significant female character in the book is told she talks too much, and also at one point tells an alien that women who use birth control are Not Proper Ladies OK, so the civilization is sexist this isn t necessarily a deal breaker for me, cause hey, a lot of civilizations have been sexist, so a futuristic one can be sexist as easily as a historical one And heck, women are people shaped by their society too and often buy into the sexist assumptions of their society, so the sexist views of one of the female characters in a book isn t a deal breaker either The problem is that she is the ONLY female character in the book, and the sexist assumptions of the society are apparently never questioned by anyone, or at least, certainly none of the characters in the book There is, however, a justification for the sexism in the book There is a Horrible War in the recent past of humanity, during which so many people died and everyone decided that women needed to stay home and breed rather than doing dangerous things like space travel or academia Yeah Look, human extinction due to insufficient reproduction has been a problem for humanity exactly zero times since the invention of agriculture, but somehow it is not a problem in this futuristic society with 31st century medicine I won t go into this too much, though if you are interested, I wrote a longer piece about the issue on my blog here The sexism is a bigger problem for this story in particular, however, because First Contact science fiction stories are supposed to make the characters and reader question the assumptions and beliefs of their own society, but introspection about the assumptions of one s own society seem to be entirely absent on the part of both the authors and the characters The sexism latent in the society of the story is entirely unquestioned, as is the racist of the character stereotypes I d like to be able to chalk it up to the book just not aging well, but the book was written in 1974 and has a 1950s style of sexism It s like the authors never even heard of the feminist movement, or at least are convinced that people in the 31st century won t have The society in the book is also unquestioningly classist It is all noble, capable nobility and loyal, grateful commoners No lie, one commoner in the book actually thanks a nobleman for the nobility s existence and defends the system as a way to help the commoner in question avoid the hard decisions None of these assumptions are questioned in the wake of contact with another alien civilization You never see any dissidents or are exposed to challenging views The book tries to get you to understand an alien culture while showing little interest in questioning its own culture or thinking too deeply about the human condition Also The Alien Plot Twist is also really painfully bad, and bad in ways that are at crosscurrents with the sexism of the book The rest is in spoilers to avoid spoiling view spoiler The Big Secret that the aliens are trying to keep from the humans is that they have a ridiculously high reproductive rate, and as a result go through periodic population explosions and crashes and horrible wars as a result of this Somehow this is completely different than humanity s population growth, or at least, that issue is never explored, and of course the fact that humanity was keeping women at second class citizens to protect its own precious birth rate seems to be a relevant topic in light of the alien s plight Again, this is never mentioned Basically, the science fiction plot twist and amazing alien revelation is sprung on us but at the same time never critically applied to our own situation, we are just supposed to take it at face value and apply it to the aliens without thinking too deeply about its implications for us or how it reflects on our society Well, at least the book is consistent in that regard hide spoiler Well, this was a fascinating book I can t imagine the thoroughness of invention in creating the Moties, and making sure the science of this book was as believable as could be with known science, especially at the time It s truly astonishing.I WILL say that I wasn t caught up in the book in a way that I couldn t stop turning pages I found it a bit hard to get through, the characters were not particularly engrossing PERSONALLY, but the plot and particularly world building were so deep and fascinating that it kept me picking the book up again and again.Definitely one of the important sci fi books out there, highly recommended This book gave me a really bad vibe from the outset Maybe it was the captain s use of the word rape as an epithet Maybe it s the token female aristocrat whose sole job is so predictable from the very outset view spoiler to get rescued then fall in love with and have babies for the unlikeable leading man hide spoiler For some reason I always find Larry Niven much better with Jerry Pournelle than without Inferno, Lucifer s Hammer and Footfall are all winners they have collaborated on quite a few other titles, but I have not read them yet The Mote in God s Eyeis generally considered to be their partnership s best book have a look at Larry Niven s Goodreads page.I believe the blurb by Robert A Heinlein that appears on many editions of the book s cover has been around since its first publication in 1974 and it has undoubtedly helped to shift thousands of copies mine included I guess it is a little like if you were a guitarist and Jimmi Hendrix tells people you can shred like a demented mofo Who can resist that kind of recommendation Is it just hyperbole, though Is The Mote in God s Eye worthy of the accolade Yes, it is This is a first contact story rendered very believable and engrossing by the authors skills and attention to details The Moties are one of the most well conceived alien races I have ever come across An earlier example of very alien aliens aliens so alien they alienate me Although they are very alien, very strange, they are imbued with enough human character traits to be understandable Of course, completely inscrutable aliens are fun but the understandable aliens can be emotionally invested in I love the concept of specialized subspecies of the Moties, there are several variations in their species evolved for specialized tasks, such as technicians, warriors, mediators etc.A Motie Warrior , art by yoggurt.As the novel was written in the 70s its age inevitably shows in places There are terms like hyperspace and pocket computer that we do not see in modern sci fi Today s authors tend to invent new words for hyperspace and pocket computer sounds very quaint as they are now commonplace in the form of smartphones and tablets These few terms notwithstanding I would argue that The Mote in God s Eye stands the test of time very well The alien s design and their extreme specialization are just as wonderfully SF nal on this reread as it was when I first read about it decades ago.I have no idea who write what in the Niven Pournelle partnership but they clearly work very well together, there is a unified voice in their highly readable prose style The characters are better than just flat plot devices, though the book is clearly about the plot than the characters Both authors are excel at writing hard science fiction and the science details make the story that much vivid and believable without ever bogging the book down with excessive infodumping The dramatis personae at the beginning of the book kindly provided by the authors to help the readers keep track of a fairly large cast of characters is an interesting feature However, the book is written so well that I never found it necessary to refer to it at any time.The central and very human theme of this book seems to be how difficult it is for different races to coexist peacefully when there is a conflict of interest and when negotiations are hampered by deceptions The issue is not entirely resolved in this book but leaves a lot of room for the readers to speculate and draw their own conclusions There is a less well received sequel called The Gripping Hand which I am not sure I will read as I am than satisfied with this book s ending.One of the all time greats IMO Heinlein s blurb reads possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read.