Facebook Tweet

RSS

The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven

Audio Edition.    Dead Tree Edition.

Finished May 2018. Final score: 3 / 5.

The Mote in God's Eye

Reason for reading:

This book was recommended to me.

Knowledge before reading:

None.

TLDR:

This is high-diplomacy sci-fi versus the epic space battles like many current sci-fi stories (not that I have anything against one style or another).

Dan's Full Review:

The crew just encountered a new species (which will be called "Moties"). Rather than raising shields and readying torpedoes, the crew cautiously decides to attempt diplomacy, and starts with good success.

The Moties home world, soon to be called "Mote Prime", is near a yellow star that is near a giant red star. Viewed from a distance, the resulting constellation is seen by many as the face of God. The red star is an eye. The sun star is "the mote in God's eye."

There are many things I liked about this book and many that I disliked. Let's start with the good:

  • The diplomacy feels real.

If a science vessel ever encountered intelligent alien life, the book behaves exactly how I would expect. Most sci-fi stories start with diplomacy just enough to say there was an attempt, and then it is time for torpedoes. For the Moties, ambassadors are exchanged and actual teaching and language lessons begin. If you are a fan of Arrival, you'll appreciate this in-depth culture exchange.

  • Mote Prime is interesting

A different species has a different culture. The ambassadors try their best to make the humans feel comfortable, and all the effort related to that was interesting.

  • Hard-nosed military

Of course there are military concerns with new intelligent species. Their voices are loud and expected, and their influence is strong. Scientists want one thing, and the military wants another, and you can guess which side wins arguments.

  • A merchant with questionable morals.

A new species means new trade opportunities.

Fortunately, the positives were the bulk of the book. Now, on to the negatives:

  • No real story arcs.

What is our goal here? Is it just "learn about the Moties?" I felt everything dragged a bit while the culture became increasingly complicated. I could see no overall story arc to keep me going.

  • The ending was a whimper.

Stop reading if you don't want to know. I normally do not reveal spoilers, but the first few sentences in the book 2 summary blows it out. The decision was... quarantine and wait 50 years. Really? We are just going to wait-and-see? I walked away very unsatisfied. Perhaps the intent was to set up an explosive clash in book 2. My score for this book was hovering at around 3.5 until then. That dropped it to a 3, and I do not feel the need to proceed further.





About

Dan Nagle is a SW Developer and the founder of NagleCode. His apps have been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. Contact Dan to speak at your event.

More Book Reviews

Score Title Date
2 The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger Dec 2019
3 Last Dragon Standing (Book 5) by Rachel Aaron Dec 2019
2 A Dragon of a Different Color (Book 4) by Rachel Aaron Nov 2019
4 No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished (Book 3) by Rachel Aaron Nov 2019
5 One Good Dragon Deserves Another (Book 2) by Rachel Aaron Oct 2019
4 Nice Dragons Finish Last (Book 1) by Rachel Aaron Oct 2019
3 Mistborn: The Bands of Mourning (Book 6) by Brandon Sanderson Sep 2019
4 Mistborn: Shadows of Self (Book 5) by Brandon Sanderson Sep 2019
5 Mistborn: The Alloy of Law (Book 4) by Brandon Sanderson Aug 2019
3 Psych Ward (Book 1) by E. J. Fleming Jul 2019
3 Oathbringer (Book 3) by Brandon Sanderson Jun 2019
3 Gone For Good by Harlan Coben Jun 2019
3 Throne of Glass (Book 1) by Sarah J. Maas May 2019
4 The Stranger by Harlan Coben Apr 2019
3 We Are Legion (Book 1) by Dennis E. Taylor Apr 2019
4 Archenemies (Book 2) by Marissa Meyer Apr 2019
4 Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell Apr 2019
4 Renegades (Book 1) by Marissa Meyer Mar 2019
3 Darth Plagueis: Star Wars by James Luceno Mar 2019
4 The Consuming Fire (Book 2) by John Scalzi Feb 2019
3 Ask an Astronaut by Tim Peake Feb 2019
4 The Night Bird by Brian Freeman Jan 2019
1 Throne of Jade (Book 2) by Naomi Novik Jan 2019
4 His Majesty's Dragon (Book 1) by Naomi Novik Jan 2019
4 Skyward by Brandon Sanderson Jan 2019
4 The Coilhunter Chronicles by Dean F. Wilson Dec 2018
5 The Client by John Grishman Dec 2018
5 The Martian by Andy Weir Dec 2018
4 One Giant Leap (Book 2) by Heather Kaczynski Nov 2018
5 The Firm by John Grisham Nov 2018
3 The Verdict by Nick Stone Oct 2018
4 Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss Oct 2018
3 Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson Oct 2018
3 Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery Sep 2018
3 Royal Flush (Book 3) by Rhys Bowen Sep 2018
3 Words of Radiance (Book 2) by Brandon Sanderson Sep 2018
3 The Way of Kings (Book 1) by Brandon Sanderson Aug 2018
4 Alien: The Cold Forge by Alex White Jul 2018
5 NOS4A2 by Joe Hill Jul 2018
5 Elantris by Brandon Sanderson Jun 2018
4 Dare Mighty Things (Book 1) by Heather Kaczynski Jun 2018
4 14 by Peter Clines Jun 2018
3 The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven May 2018
3 Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides May 2018
4 A Royal Pain (Book 2) by Rhys Bowen Apr 2018
5 Space Team (Book 1) by Barry J Hutchison Apr 2018
3 Silent Child by Sarah A Denzil Apr 2018
4 Mean Streak by Sandra Brown Mar 2018
3 A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons Mar 2018
4 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams Mar 2018
5 The Grid by Gretchen Bakke Mar 2018
2 Dracula by Bram Stoker Mar 2018
3 Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle Mar 2018
2 A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow Feb 2018
5 Ready Player One by Ernest Cline Feb 2018
3 The Collapsing Empire (Book 1) by John Scalzi Feb 2018
1 Infinity Blade: Redemption (Book 2) by Brandon Sanderson Feb 2018
2 Infinity Blade: Awakening (Book 1) by Brandon Sanderson Feb 2018
4 Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen Jan 2018
2 The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood Jan 2018
3 Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff Jan 2018
2 The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson Jan 2018
3 Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford Jan 2018
1 The X-Files : Cold Cases by Audible Dec 2017
3 Mistborn: The Hero of Ages (Book 3) by Brandon Sanderson Nov 2017
3 Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (Book 2) by Brandon Sanderson Nov 2017
5 Mistborn: The Final Empire (Book 1) by Brandon Sanderson Nov 2017
4 Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi Oct 2017
5 Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson Oct 2017
2 Where the Hell is Tesla by Rob Dirks Sep 2017
5 Heartless by Marissa Meyer Sep 2017
4 11-22-63: A Novel by Stephen King Sep 2017
5 The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson Aug 2017
4 Lock In: A Novel of the Near Future by John Scalzi Aug 2017
5 Replay by Ken Grimwood Aug 2017
5 A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle Aug 2017
3 Treason by Orson Scott Card Jul 2017
1 Stars Above (Book 6) by Marissa Meyer Jul 2017
5 Winter (Book 5) by Marissa Meyer Jul 2017
2 Fairest (Book 4) by Marissa Meyer Jul 2017
3 Cress (Book 3) by Marissa Meyer Jun 2017
4 Scarlet (Book 2) by Marissa Meyer Jun 2017
4 Cinder (Book 1) by Marissa Meyer Jun 2017
2 Red Seas Under Red Skies (Book 2) by Scott Lynch May 2017
3 The Lies of Locke Lamora (Book 1) by Scott Lynch May 2017
3 Crossing the Asymptote by Lysle Shields May 2017
3 It by Stephen King Mar 2017

Copyright © NagleCode 2007 - 2019.