• $6.99

Publisher Description

The united 'Second Empire of Man' spans vast distances, due to the Alderson Drive which has enabled humans to travel easily between the stars. After an alien probe is discovered, the Navy dispatches two ships to determine whether the aliens pose a threat… Called by Robert A. Heinlein: "Possibly the greatest science fiction novel ever written," this magnificent exploration of first contact and a truly alien society is a "must read" for science fiction fans.

"As science fiction, one of the most important novels ever published."

- San Francisco Chronicle

"Possibly the greatest science fiction novel I have ever read."

- Robert A. Heinlein

"A superlatively fine novel…no writer has ever come up with a more appealing, intriguing, and workable concept of aliens."

- Columbus Dispatch

"A spellbinder, a swashbuckler…And, best of all, it has a brilliant new approach to that fascinating problem -- first contact with aliens."

- Frank Herbert

"One of the most engrossing tales I've read in year…fascinating."

- Theodore Sturgeon

"Intriguing and suspenseful…the scenes in which the humans and aliens examine one another are unforgettable."

- Minneapolis Tribune

“Nobody does it better than Niven and Pournelle” 

- Tom Clancy


“The team of Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven is one of the best in science fiction.”  

- The Washington Times


“Few writers have a better pedigree”

- Los Angeles Times

Sci-Fi & Fantasy
December 31
Spectum Literary Agency, Inc.
Spectrum Literary Agency, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Dwardeng ,


One of the greatest alien contact stories ever written.

yassdawg ,

Good, interesting, yet characters have no depth

I enjoyed this book. The story was interesting. It moves at a decent pace. The aliens are fun.

Lots of issues though:
- Asymmetrical tech development. They have the Alderson drive but they still drive cars. They have advanced genetic engineering and age suspension tech but they still use primitive medical methods.

- Flat characters. You can sum each of the characters up in a few words. “Dutiful dour Admiral.” “Up and coming aristocrat.” “Wise priest.”

- No character arcs or development. They are who they are throughout the book.

- Boring tropes. The emotional shrewish woman. The sinister devious Levantine Muslim. The invisible Black (i.e. don’t exist). I know it was written like in the 50s. It’s just boring / unrealistic.

- Science is soft. Explanations of scientific principles behind the innovations are non existent. I don’t need equations. But give me something to chew on. Physics. Math. Entropy. Multiverse. Something!

- No research. Felt like the author had a few beers, sat down on a Saturday next to his cat, and just cobbled together a book.

More Books by Larry Niven