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The Moat Around Murcheson's Eye Paperback – 2 Oct 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Collins; (Reissue) edition (2 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007350163
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007350162
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 2.4 x 12.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 608,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

THE GRIPPING HAND

His Excellency Horace Hussein Al-Shamlan Bury, trader and magnate, had hoped never again to hear mention of the gripping hand. Moties, the only aliens mankind has ever encountered, have two delicate right arms with small, wonderfully dextrous hands – and one powerful left arm, which wields the gripping hand…

RETURN TO MOTE PRIME

While Bury is investigating an excess of cash on the Imperial planet Maxroy’s Purchase, his long-time friend and pilot Kevin Renner first sounds the alarm: the dreaded Moties have escaped quarantine. And so begins for Bury and Renner an adventure unsuited to men of their age, which returns them to Mote Prime, launches them into battle in space…and reveals, once more, their unorthodox appreciation of Motie intelligence and ingenuity.

“A major novel, sure to be one of the most popular books of the year”
SCIENCE FICTION CHRONICLE

“Moties are one of the most fascinating species ever evoked. As mythical demons defending the structure of reality – their phrase – they make a formidable read. This is state-of-the-art SF”
THE TIMES

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About the Author

Larry Niven trained as a mathematician. On turning his hand to writing he met with immediate success. He has since won three Hugo Awards and one Nebula Award with novels such as the classic ‘Ringworld’ (which won both awards) and ‘Tales of Known Space’. He and his wife live in Los Angeles.


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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By markdturner@aol.com on 12 April 2002
Format: Paperback
As the original is probably my favourite science fiction novel of all time, it was never likely that this sequel was ever going to measure up in my opinion. And it didn't.
That said, it's still readable in its own right. The Moties are probably the best-realised aliens that I've ever read about and so it was a pleasure to read a further novel about them, and also to see the return of some of the characters from the original (albeit limited to cameos at the start of the book for a good number of them).
I wouldn't disagree with the comment made by one of the previous reviewers that the reasons give for avoiding the protagonists visiting Mote Prime felt like something of a cop out, but the story still moves along apace (after an admittedly long-winded beginning) and it kept me interested to the end.
A must-read for anyone who enjoyed The Mote in God's Eye, so long as you accept that it's never going to match the heights of the original.
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Format: Hardcover
Sometime around 1990, the density of Larry Niven's prose started to ramp up, while the balance of the action shifted from "stuff happening" towards "people talking". People with various agendas and partial information talk to each other at length, often with intent to deceive. The reader's job is to puzzle out what's going on, while enjoying the intermittent plot revelations. I think this shift in style may account for the polarization of the reviews offered here.
There's actually a lot going on, all through the book, but if you're just skimming pages waiting for the space battles to begin, then you'll have no idea what the fight is about, or why it's important. So you'll only enjoy the book if you enjoy the sort of telegraphic and tangential dialogue through which much of the plot evolves.
We catch up with some characters from the original Mote novel, almost thirty years later. We meet some new characters. We get back into the Mote system, but don't land on Mote Prime - instead, the space-based Moties offer a new angle on "the Motie problem", as well as context for the events in the original book.
For me, then, a good read, marred by some infelicities. I found the motives of one minor character impenetrable at a critical point in the plot - he seemed to act as he did only to provide a pivot point for the rest of the story. And there's a very strange character dynamic in the epilogue, as if Niven and Pournelle are hinting at something important, but too obscurely for me to untangle.

And there's a loose end: two human characters and a fleet of Motie Masters are left dangling. I *think* I know what happens to them, but they have the look of a sequel set-up which has yet to be used.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By St.Ch.-B. on 4 May 2006
Format: Paperback
I do not share the negative reviews that have been written about this book. In my opinion, this is a very good sequel to the "Moat in God's eye".

Indeed, I believe that - hoping not to offer too many spoilers! - the choices made by the authors are logical and not at all less worthy of the plot exposed in the original book.

For example, since the civilisation on Mote 1 was going to "fail" in a very short time after the humans left that planet in the 1st book, it would not be very likely that a not-so-far-away in the future comeback by the humans on that planetary system would find the "earthlings" (sorry, the "motelings") back "on speed" once again. And, the very fact that there had already been countless cycles - along with other findings of the 1st human expedition - suggested that the "asteroidal" civilisation around Mote 1 must have had a non-negligible role, particularly during the "low sides" of the Mote-1 cycles.

Once that path has been choosen, I think that the next one (who was going to be the main human character) was only logical - and also very interesting!

I did not feel that the 1st part of the book was particulary slow or boring. However, I do agree that, starting from the "big moment", the pace does quicken quite a bit.

All in all a very entertaining read - sometimes even risking to be an intellectually (what-if) stimulating one.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Martin on 26 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
Having read the previous book on this subject, I rushed to get this sequel and now regret it. Whereas the first book was excellent, the characters fantastic and the story gripping (no pun intended re. the gripping hand), this book is truly boring and stagnant. A real disappointment.

Firstly, the characterisations are extremely poor. Sometimes it is hard to figure our who's saying what in the text, it is so disjointed. You find yourself going back a few lines to try and get the context of who might have screamed something. Also, there are too many people who seem to be integral, but aren't - but who then appear to be integral again, but aren't... and you're wondering why there are so many people involved without any real purpose... Joyce, Cynthia, Freddy.

Secondly, the story is boring. Really boring! Towards the end I was just page-turning to get through it. I couldn't really fathom why they were leading a merry chase back and forwards (seemingly repeatedly)... as a plot it was inane and quite obviously grasping for ideas.

The ending? Well... the anti-climax to end them all.

If you've not read the first book, you are unlikely to pick this up by accident. However, if you have read the first book - you will more than likely be very disapointed by this... my advice would be to stay away.
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