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Footfall [Paperback]

Larry Niven , Jerry Pournelle
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1997

--Tom Clancy

They first appear as a series of dots on astronomical plates, heading from Saturn directly toward Earth. Since the ringed planet carries no life, scientists deduce the mysterious ship to be a visitor from another star.

The world's frantic efforts to signal the aliens go unanswered. The first contact is hostile: the invaders blast a Soviet space station, seize the survivors, and then destroy every dam and installation on Earth with a hail of asteriods.

Now the conquerors are descending on the American heartland, demanding servile surrender--or death for all humans.

--The New York Times Book Review

From the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 524 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey Books; Reprint edition (May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345418425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345418425
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 14 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,878,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Larry Niven was born in California in 1938 and studied mathematics at Washburn University, Kansas. His first published science-fiction story was 'The Coldest Place' in 1964 and he immediately established himself as a significant figure in the science-fiction world, winning four Hugos for short fiction. Ringworld is the most important novel in his future history, Tales of Known Space sequence. He has also collaborated, most notably with Jerry Pournelle on The Mote in God's Eye, Oath of Fealty, Inferno, Lucifer's Hammer and Footfall. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAME VINE VOICE
"Footfall" harkens back to the Science Fiction of the 1950's, with the President and the U.S. military dealing with godless Communists and equally godless aliens. A moving dot is discovered on astronomical plates and the evidence is clear: it is a spaceship from another galaxy far, far away. Attempts to contact the aliens are unsuccessful but as soon as they arrive at Earth their intentions become clear: they destroy the Soviet space station, the moon base and then every dam and major installation on the planet by raining down asteroids. To add insult to injury, when the aliens begin landing troops in Kansas, they look for all the world like elephants with trunks performing the function of hands. Now it is up to President of the United States David Coffey, Congressman Wesley T. Dawson of California, USAF astronaut Major General Edmund Gillespie and his sister-in-law Jeanette Crichton, the Director fo the Lenin Institute Academician Pavel Aleksandrovich Bondarev, the unemployed minstrel Harry Reddington, the captured alien Harpanet and several dozen other characters to save the Earth from the alien threat.
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle have provided a good old-fashioned "pulp" story, where you go along for the ride. My only substantive complaint is that the Snouts, as the aliens are called for obvious reasons, have a convenient Achilles heel (or two) that allows Earth to have a fighting chance against a technologically superior enemy that REALLY controls the high ground. My favorite part is President relying on a group of Science Fiction writers for advice on how to deal with these strange visitors from another planet, which at least avoids the stereotype of the stupid military advisers just wanting to use nukes at the first opportunity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breathtaking novel of alien invasion 28 Nov 1998
By A Customer
For me this ranks as one of Niven/Pournelles greatest books. This is a story about a one-way alien invasion of Earth where the aliens are in many ways a less technically knowlegable race that us and with an interesting mental outlook. I found the story well written, utterly plausable ( if you believe that aliens exist!), No so technical that it was boring and with good characterisations. The aliens were interesting, a twist on the "dumbo fights back" and the finale is so good it actually took my breath away, I was riveted to my chair right up to the last word. Niven is a good author, but the Niven/Pournell combination is outstanding.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Torpid and Reactionary 11 Feb 2012
By T. West
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The elephants idea never really convinced, despite the attention given to trying to make them seem 'alien', with a base-8 numeric system and an overriding herd mentality, but at least they had a certain charisma, unlike so many of the human protagonists, who were cookie-cutter ciphers and largely unremarkable as people, just stock survivalists, stock military, ineffectual women. The science fiction writers assembled as part of the think tank made me squirm - No working physicists, biologists and anthropologists of the time? It seemed very self-congratulatory.

One concept I did buy was the Fithp dicovering space travel of the back of another race and being a little conservative in their own endeavours, which gives us a chance. They are very naive and childlike in their way, with a certain code of honour.

I dislike the ending intensely; it is very sudden, the military characters who implement the 'descision' do so in an underhand and callous manner, and the plight of innocent humans and aliens alike is secondary to the gung-ho determination of the Reaganite dolts in charge. It was a needless and senseless climax without a denouement; after 700 pages we can put up with a bit more explaining the fallout.

The strength of this book may well be the description of the eponymous event, and I looked forward to that signalling an increase in dramatic tension and narrative pace, but everything slowed down - an unconvincing murder and a convoluted secret project to build a weapon to fight the invaders, which when it is finally used the fight for earth is another well-conceived sequence, which is perhaps where Niven and Pournelle's true strengths lie - the hardware and science.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Footfall 26 Jan 2006
Even though I found this book generally enjoyable it was hard work in places. The alien language and names were quite off putting due to the length of them. The story line of the various characters was not in depth and I didn't really care whether they were killed off or not. Good read in all other aspects.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ID4? 13 April 2000
By A Customer
An absolutely brilliant book, althogh in my opinion Independance Day seems to strike aloy of similarities!
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