Thursday, April 27, 2017

Review: The Gripping Hand by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

Synopsis: Twenty-five 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. (from the online description)

Review:  As the sequel to the Mote in God’s Eye, I was excited to return to this universe. Mote was a fine book, a little slow, but fantastic, easy to see what it won all those awards. This one – not as much. First, it starts very slow, a rounding up of all the previous characters. The main character this time isn’t Lord Blaine, but Bury, the merchant, magnet, and now, spy to the Empire. His PTSD from his time with the Moties leads to strong paranoia about them – and it serve the Empire well. The Moties are close to breaking the blockage and it is up to Bury to use all his power to convince the right people to prepare before it is too late.
We get to meet Lord and Lady Blaine’s children and a few other new characters, and revisit old ones too. However, the story moves slowly. So much time spent on the characters speaking yet very little development or action. The action takes place at the end, and will intriguing, by the time I got there, I just wanted the story over. There are some tense parts (being the very real dangers the Moties present) but those don’t make up for the tedious back and forth of nothing.
Sadly, this doesn’t live up to the first novel, although it is part of the series and worth reading if you enjoy hard science fiction with strong conflict and real moral dilemmas. 

Bookmarks: 3.5 of 5

Awards: None

Year Published: 1993
Date Finished: 4-17-2017
Pages: 413

No comments:

Post a Comment