Lucifer's Hammer PDF/EPUB ↠ Paperback

Lucifer's Hammer [PDF / Epub] ☉ Lucifer's Hammer Author Larry Niven – Thomashillier.co.uk alternate cover for ISBN The chances that Lucifer s Hammer would hit the earth head on were one in a million Then one in a thousand Then one in a hundred And then even less alternate cover for ISBN The chances that Lucifer s Hammer would hit the earth head on were one in a million Then one in a thousand Then one in a hundred And then even less.


10 thoughts on “Lucifer's Hammer

  1. carol. carol. says:

    Full review links and all at because I am going to digress like you won t believeGood grief, reading hasn t been such a chore since Professional Nursing Practice Foundations and Concepts. And in the fiction world, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. So perhaps you should take my review with a grain of salt, since plenty of people love Strange unsurprisingly, no one admits to loving Practice Foundations Niven and Pournelle start with a great idea, a Full review links and all at because I am going to digress like you won t believeGood grief, reading hasn t been such a chore since Professional Nursing Practice Foundations and Concepts. And in the fiction world, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. So perhaps you should take my review with a grain of salt, since plenty of people love Strange unsurprisingly, no one admits to loving Practice Foundations Niven and Pournelle start with a great idea, a since tried and true staple of the disaster genre Earth facing an impending meteor pass My first encounter with this phenomenon was Night of the Comet, a fabulous, campy film released in 1984 about two sisters who survive the Earth passing through the tail of a comet My second to last encounter was The Last Policeman Trilogy by Ben H Winters, a marvelous exploration of ethics and choice in the face of certain doom Technically, of course, Hammer was my last encounter with the genre Hammer and Policeman represent two different approaches to disaster, one macro, one micro, and just guess which one I liked better Of course, Hammer was released in 1977, and Policeman in 2012, so there is that little issue of societal norms shifting, but I didn t let that stop me honest Hammer takes asocietal approach, walking the reader through various characters lives, usually but not always related to the discovery of the Hammer Brown comet There s the rich, eccentric discoverer of the comet, a documentary film maker, a senator, his daughter, a preacher, a secretary, a power plant executive, a stalker, the leader of a burglary ring, a mail carrier, various astronauts in training of all of these, there are two black men, two white women and one Russian woman represented, and just guess who the secretary and the burglar represent I discovered there was a good reason for a list of characters at the beginning of the book I needed it to know who I was supposed to pay attention to, because so many people were introduced for only four pages Oh, and how can I forget the perspective of the comet that closed out so many of the chapters When it is clear the asteroid will come closer than expected, money is wrangled to get a team of astronauts up into space to take samples, pictures and measurements, and I was surprised to find this was one of the most interesting sections for me.For over a third of the book and that s a rather thick third, mind you we re treated to Waiting for Godot, Asteroid Edition I ended up literally reading about ten pages a day and finishing another series, a NetGalley book, a mystery, a UF re read, and Quammen s epic on zoonotic diseases in the meantime Once the asteroid impacts, we get disaster scenes from evencharacters, some of whom don t live through it Certainly, the various scenarios seemed well reasoned both in the science sense impact earthquakes, tsunamis, cloud cover and the political sense protecting the defense system, attacking other countries The story starts to develop momentum as people are escaping the L.A Basin and seeking safety in the midst of panic It s one of the most action oriented sections, somewhat compromised by allowing one of the major narrators to go into an existential funk and his storyline to be taken over by a new character.And that, I discovered, was the most significant problem with the story Although using the perspective of many allows for the reader to understand the largeness of the scope of disaster, it makes emotional connection with any one character almost impossible In Policeman, narration is provided first person, and although many of the projected responses to impact are exactly the same in both books, experiencing it through one man s journey is farprofound and moving.The last third of the story is the survival aspect, and lives of many of the characters start to intersect The experiential timeline is compressed, and within a relatively short amount of time, a section of the population is reduced to cannibalism How short Well, one man s personal supply of insulin hadn t gotten low yet For all Hammer s attempts at realism, that seemed a pretty profound psychological hurdle to overcome in a few weeks or months Still, I was game I m a sucker for a good survivalist story.It satisfied until the last few chapters, which centered on one of those philosophical debates about moving civilization forward or huddling by our fires in caves I remained unmoved the last book of The Policeman trilogy achieved a level of profoundness that made this discussion feel like a sixth graders debate no offense to any sixth graders who might be reading this Satisfying ending and all that, but I have the feeling I ll forget the details in a few weeks.This was a one star beginning, four star middle, and two and half star end Given all that, I d say read this if you enjoyed Stirling s apocalypse series Emberverse , or perhaps The Stand, but don t expect too much in terms of emotional engagement or character development For those, I d head over to themodern interpretation of asteroid strikes in The Last Policeman and be prepared for all the feels


  2. Althea Ann Althea Ann says:

    The Hammer disregards all pleas not to hurt em _____There should be a name for the particular type of book that is exemplified by some popular novels published between the late 1950s and the early 1980s It s very distinctive, but hard to describe Some characteristics include an insistence on referring to men by their last names only, flat characterization which tends to adhere to sterotypical gender roles, a focus on jobs career as being a key part of identity, and a predominance of lovele The Hammer disregards all pleas not to hurt em _____There should be a name for the particular type of book that is exemplified by some popular novels published between the late 1950s and the early 1980s It s very distinctive, but hard to describe Some characteristics include an insistence on referring to men by their last names only, flat characterization which tends to adhere to sterotypical gender roles, a focus on jobs career as being a key part of identity, and a predominance of loveless relationships and adulterous affairs It sthan just that, though I really have never managed to quite put my finger on it But it doesn t take long to recognize After a few pages, I was like, Oh, it s one of those I also thought, throughout reading it, that it was published in 1970, not 1977 maybe I saw a bit of misinformation, but it feels VERY dated and regressive Still, this started out in the three star range, and stayed there for about the first 40% of the book For that section, I was strongly reminded of Neal Stephenson s Seveneves, to the point where I suspected and still suspect that Stephenson read this book and wanted to do it better Stephenson succeeded, if that was the goal Of course, the difference is that in Seveneves, we re getting hit by moon bits and in Lucifer s Hammer, by comet bits, but the setup is very similar We see the discovery of the phenomenon, the media reaction, and start glimpsing the effects on the daily lives of a wide range of people, including politicians, experts, and average joes There s also the crew up in Skylab There s a huge cast of characters, which meant for me, in this book, that I didn t feel emotionally invested in any of them, and for a while, the book dragged a bit The way the many characters were handled reminded me a bit of Kim Stanley Robinson s Mars books but those are better written sensing a trend here When the comet hits and disaster strikes, things picked up a bit How could that not be exciting Unlike Seveneves , we get atypical aftermath The book focuses on rural California, and a group of ranchers that pull together for survival, initially joined by their dedicated mailman, who insists on continuing his route Did this influence David Brin s The Postman If so, again, Brin did it better As the small details of survival go on, the book becomes very similar to Pat Frank s 1959 Alas Babylon, in the way it focuses on a small group in an isolated rural location, and the ins and outs of how they keep alive It got a bit tedious and quite sexist repeated mentions of man s natural instinct to protect the female coming out, and how women s lib is now defunct , with a few dashes of racism I m also a lotinclined to be forgiving of certain attitudes in a 1959 book than in a 1977 book Throughout this part of the book, my opinion dropped down to two stars.Around 80%, Niven and Pournelle pull out all the stops It s like they figured, If they ve read this far, they re not going to stop now, so we can go all out and pull no punches with what we really think This final part of the book is almost like a satire of right wing attitudes except that it s painfully clear that it s in earnest I guess that it s a fascinating glimpse into everything that those of a certain mindset really fear Talking about the end here, so hiding but really, I d recommend reading this spoiler instead of the book view spoiler The finale is a drawn out, multi part big Showdown Battle the opposing sides are on one side, of course, our brave American ranchers The ranchers are White and Conservative, although joined by one Exceptional Black Man who literally says, at one point, disparaging equal rights activists I have all the equality I ve ever wanted There are also the two Russians who exist to mention how superior the US is to Russia in oh so many ways, and the reformed hippies who have realized that communes are a bad idea Oh, at the very end, out of the blue appear some previously unmentioned Noble Indian warriors Oh, and don t forget that a point is made that men and women are still different and due to tough times, kids have to grow up fast which means that boys fight teen girls are now fair game for middle aged men Politicians and military men who are all physically large that point is made repeatedly feature prominently.Opposing our Brave Heroes is a diverse rampaging army made up of I kid you not Trade Unionists damn commies , Environmentalists, Black Panthers, Back to Nature types including Hippies and proponents of organic farming , and assorted City Folk, who are led by a raving preacher who forces them into bloody cannibalistic rituals I mean, it seems like it HAS to be a joke But then it s just not very funnyTo top it all off, there s a Great Battle to Save the Nuclear Plant from the Mixed Race Horde Bear in mind, the reason to save the power plant is not because destroying the plant could result in a nuclear meltdown which would render the entire area uninhabitable Noooo this is a VERY SAFE nuclear plant, and that could never happen due to all the Safety Features No, it becomes a symbol of the Light and Hope of All Future Technology Based Civilization, which is driven home in a luridly purple death scene, in case the readers missed it So, woo hoo The battle is won It is pointed out repeatedly that one should not regard ones enemies as human they re just ants Technology will be rebuilt, but until it is, it s gonna be A Man s World People will work hard in a manly way, accompanied by their strong yet womanly women They will be cooperative, but not in a communist way Justice will be harsh And as the cherry on top of this fantasy, slavery is reinstated Yes, really Woo hoo hide spoiler And down to one star.Read for post apocalyptic book club I guess I m glad I read it, just because I ve seen it around nearly my whole life even physically picked it up in the library on a couple of occasions but never read it until now But, hoo boy, this was quite something And not a good something


  3. Adrian Adrian says:

    Now originally I had this marked as a re read but do you know, if I had read it, I didn t remember it one little bit so I m guessing I have really never read this before, which I have to say is very remiss of me, as this is a very good book, that s very good not great I have always enjoyed Larry Niven s books, hey Ringworld is one of my favourite SF books of all time, and this book is just so typically Niven What do I mean by typically Niven Well he is one of the best exponents of world and Now originally I had this marked as a re read but do you know, if I had read it, I didn t remember it one little bit so I m guessing I have really never read this before, which I have to say is very remiss of me, as this is a very good book, that s very good not great I have always enjoyed Larry Niven s books, hey Ringworld is one of my favourite SF books of all time, and this book is just so typically Niven What do I mean by typically Niven Well he is one of the best exponents of world and character building and this is no exception Yes its the Earth but he builds a fictional reality in the current time that is completely believable and you live it along with the characters, who you get to know really well through all 600 pages.The story built upon this solid character and setting foundation is a good one One of Earth s possible destruction through a Dinosaur killer comet that might or might not hit the planet From Astronauts sent up to examine it and plot it s trajectory, Senators trying to do their best for neighbours and voters, Scientists and Astronomers investigating the Hamner Brown Comet, to normal everyday people, this book Niven Pournelle s writing creates believable characters that you just want to follow through the story You end up caring for these people and following their tales which all interweave, and it is this connectivity that is the backbone of Niven s good, oh ok great Novel It weaves through the whole story, pulls you in, and you just ride along on the crest of an enjoyable wave of great writing.Its a great story but still only 4 stars as I like my SF withSF in them, as in Ringworld Well written, great story, great characters and a very enjoyable read Hmm must get back to Ringworld sequels soon


  4. Henry Avila Henry Avila says:

    In deep space a little smudge appears near Neptune, amateur astronomer Timothy Hammer a millionaire playboy he s rather a timid philanderer sees the object From a third generation wealthy family in Los Angeles Tim inherited a big soap company.Through his telescope it s a very let s be honest unimpressive thing but getting bigger And the public will notice soon enough, a lot in fact become quite scared In his private observatory located on a mountain top outside the city after numberless lon In deep space a little smudge appears near Neptune, amateur astronomer Timothy Hammer a millionaire playboy he s rather a timid philanderer sees the object From a third generation wealthy family in Los Angeles Tim inherited a big soap company.Through his telescope it s a very let s be honest unimpressive thing but getting bigger And the public will notice soon enough, a lot in fact become quite scared In his private observatory located on a mountain top outside the city after numberless lonely nights, observing the universe Mr.Hammer feels elated The world ignores now, yet not for long , the unknown comet one of millions in a soup surrounding the Solar System Leftovers from its formation, once in a while a giant gas planet s gravity like Neptune captures a snowball and hurls it towards the Sun Anything in the way is doomed Tim has to share the accolades with a teenage boy though, from Iowa named Brown.The International Astronomical Union I.A.U has rules to follow, so officially Tim s comet is called Hammer Brown which annoys the gentlemanthan a little However the boy reported the heavenly body at the same time so the proud Mr Hammer even invites the kid to stay at his mansion , all expenses paid of course by the millionaire and see the local attractions Mr.Hammerimportantly holds a party in his Beverly Hills home for family and friends to watch the television documentary about his Comet that he naturally financed.Tim wants them to see it, he s has done something significant They d never taken him the gentleman, seriouslyOdds grow shorter against the dirty snowball MISSING and actually hitting the Earth, scientists become less confident as the comet comes closer.The solar wind makes the comet s tail millions of miles long, always away from the Sun the giant comet composed of ice , gases and some rocks beautiful even magnificent to the sky watchers on Earth If it does hit, civilization will cease on Terra after pieces of the comet smash into the Earth s oceans, tidal waves hundreds of feet high, they ll be or even higher destroying everything in their paths All around the Earth s coasts the sea expanding over the cities and beyond..Rivers, lakes, dry streams reclaiming their old territory. tremendous heat caused by the invader burning the Earth s surface Leaving large glowing holes many miles wide on our planet will inevitably, result in the unexpected death of countless victims Killer winds massive hurricanes and earthquakes, perpetual rain soaking the world, floating bodies, flooding homes , building, farmlands Sleeping volcanoes erupting spreading their deadly lava, ashes and gases..No crops no food no sunlight, no safe areas, nuclear war, maybe to finishing off the rest of the people or, back to the stone age Later the glaciers come down from the north freezing all nothing can stop these monsters, for the few survivors a new Ice Age too Everyone for themselves the strong the lucky and especially the brave, shall inherit the ruined world The unthinkable occurs Lucifer s Hammer strikes our homeBut some humans are still alive afterwardsAbsorbing story which lifts the narrative above the ordinary into the sublime


  5. David David says:

    There was a time when Larry Niven was one of my favorite authors Of course, that time was when I was an immature SF geek who didn t read much else Okay, I still think Ringworld was kind of awesome And I have fond memories of some of his other collaborations with Jerry Pournelle, e.g Footfall and Oath of Fealty But the last few I have read really unearthed things I didn t notice when I was younger, and this one, which was one of their early collaborations, really shows its age Lucifer s Hamm There was a time when Larry Niven was one of my favorite authors Of course, that time was when I was an immature SF geek who didn t read much else Okay, I still think Ringworld was kind of awesome And I have fond memories of some of his other collaborations with Jerry Pournelle, e.g Footfall and Oath of Fealty But the last few I have read really unearthed things I didn t notice when I was younger, and this one, which was one of their early collaborations, really shows its age Lucifer s Hammer is fine plot wise In fact, I d say Niven and Pournelle always do very well with the plots and the hard SF This is an end of the world post apocalypse adventure, and I love those like candy So I enjoyed it despite groaning every now and then at the authors , ah issues.Written in 1977, Lucifer s Hammer is a comet strike kicks the shit out of Planet Earth scenario The Hamner Brown comet is spotted months away by a wealthy amateur astronomer, and as it approaches, excitement turns to apprehension as scientists keep revising the estimate of the odds of the comet striking Earth from billions to one to millions to one to thousands to one, and you get the idea It is not exactly a spoiler to say that the comet does, in fact, strike the Earth in fact, it fragments into pieces which land in massive strikes all over the globe Pretty much every coastal area is wiped out, there are massive weather changes, tectonic shifts bring volcanoes to life, so yeah, pretty much the end of global civilization, as least for a few generations It doesn t help that as soon as the strikes begin, the USSR and China launch nukes at each other Thanks in large part to a joint US Soviet space mission, with astronauts and cosmonauts watching the entire Armageddon playing out from orbit, they are able to prevent the US from launching and being targeted in return.The remainder of the story takes place in California, where survivors in the San Joaquin valley go about preparing for the coming ice age and trying to rebuild what little civilization they can Needless to say, this is complicated by both internal tensions and external threats from an army of anti technology fanatics who practice ritual cannibalism, led by a mad doomsday preacher.It s very exciting stuff, and also fairly realistic in how it approaches both the social and technological challenges of survival in a post armageddon scenario.So why only three stars Well, for starters, there is Niven and Pournelle s usual problem with women It was even worse in The Mote in God s Eye, and I was pleasantly surprised that there was not a lot of gratuitous rape to spice up the fall of civilization, but the female characters all pretty much go into instant Attach myself to the nearest alpha male mode, and one of the characters is even referred to ironically, and with awareness of her role, which she does not particularly like as the Princess because her Senator father is the current leader of the survivors, and whoever marries her will ensure the stability and succession of the dynasty So there was a little bit of awareness there, and yeah, it was written in 1977, but still, one gets the distinct impression that when the Senator s aide reflects smugly to himself that one of the few good things about Hammerfall was that it put an end to Women s lib, he s kind of speaking for the authors.Oh, then there s the part about that cannibal army forming around a group of Black Nationalists who were going on a crime spree when the Hammer fell The New Brotherhood Army eventually becomes a multi racial, ostensibly egalitarian organization egalitarian in the sense that anyone regardless of race who steps out of line gets killed and eaten , but the leaders are the Black Nationalists and a black former Army sergeant Until a white preacher comes and gives them a cause namely, fighting technology So, let s recap when the Hammer falls and ends civilization, white farmers, politicians, and engineers start rebuilding a stable community, while black people turn into rampaging cannibals taking orders from a white guy Umm, did nobody see any Unfortunate Implications in this even in 1977 I suppose Niven and Pournelle s defense would be that not all of the New Brotherhood Army is black, and there is a black astronaut who s one of the good guys, and a few black farmers in the Stronghold are mentioned Well, okay then.There s also an awful lot of neener neener, how do you granola crunching hippies like your natural living now as the survivors of a former commune realize that gosh, they really did like having electricity and plumbing Niven and Pournelle do this a lot, as in Fallen Angels, where they spend the entire book poking at environmentalists and anti space and anti nuclear activists In Lucifer s Hammer, the only surviving nuclear power plant becomes potentially the salvation of civilization.So, basically White people, nuclear power, and the space program good.Black people, religion, and women s lib Bad.I am being a little snarky here The authors weren t quite as horribly axe grinding as, say, certain authors of political thrillers or grimdark fantasy But still, this is a book that you will enjoy if you like the premise and don t pay much attention to subtext, but will probably annoy you if you do notice things like all the black people become cannibals Entertaining, suspenseful, a very good post apocalyptic thriller for hard SF fans, and also slightly sexist and really if unintentionally racist


  6. Bradley Bradley says:

    I just knocked this one off my top one hundred novels of all time, but I did it with a heavy heart.Memories of a novel sometimes simply don t live up to a re read.On the other hand, there are quite a few things about it that are still freaking fantastic, such as the science and the emotional impact of the comet strike Most of the first third of the novel focused on the 70 s modern society, with all the strange views common of that time, but that wasn t the most striking feature I was humbled b I just knocked this one off my top one hundred novels of all time, but I did it with a heavy heart.Memories of a novel sometimes simply don t live up to a re read.On the other hand, there are quite a few things about it that are still freaking fantastic, such as the science and the emotional impact of the comet strike Most of the first third of the novel focused on the 70 s modern society, with all the strange views common of that time, but that wasn t the most striking feature I was humbled by the way they could turn so many flawed and normal people into an epic scene of pathos when they died.I even had to set down the novel because the tears prevented me from reading through the meteor crashes or the tidal waves or the mud falling from the sky for weeks You know all those stupid apocalypse movies of the 90 s Yeah, this novel STILL does it better.The rest of the novel was all about sheer survival for those who were left, and I was pleasantly reminded of Brin s The Postman that outdid this novel for the post apocalypse rebuilding, but props should always be given to those who did it first Give my children the lightning It s a good rallying call It s the future, scaled down to the bare minimum after trawling the dirt and praying to make it through one winter It s a far cry from Heinlein s eggs or Clarke s magic It s realistic, or some might say, pessimistic.But what else can we say about this great grandaddy of all dystopian futures It s still a damn sight better than most that have come after, even considering the racism, possible return to slavery, the cannibalism, and the wholesale slaughter by mustard gas, not even mentioning the whole nuclear war between Russian and China.I carried Dan Forrester in my heart ever since I read this the first time He was the most tragic and glorious character of anyone A second read doesn t really change my opinion I did carry one caveat, though He should have saved Dune Stories are just as important as scientific texts I can only pray that later generations would carry it forward after conquering California and finding any intact libraries Of course, this was written only a handful of years after Dune, so the authors hadn t realized the weight of the public s imagination by that time but they did when it came to the commune filled with LoTR characters Niven and Pournelle really outdid themselves with this one I went on to read the rest of Niven after plowing through this novel, but I never did read any of Pournelle s solo work I still think that this novel was the best that either had written, even if I can t honestly say anything about Jerry s work Still a fantastic novel, regardless of it s faults Anyone interested in dystopias really needs to read this one


  7. Joe Valdez Joe Valdez says:

    The next stop in my end of the world reading marathon was Lucifier s Hammer, the 1977 disaster epic by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle Niven was an established, Nebula Award winning author in Los Angeles when in the early 1970s, he was approached by Pournelle, an engineer with a military background who lived in the area Pournelle was looking for a partner to teach him how to write and inexplicably, the pair went on to co author nine novels together After a dedication to Neil Armstrong and Buz The next stop in my end of the world reading marathon was Lucifier s Hammer, the 1977 disaster epic by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle Niven was an established, Nebula Award winning author in Los Angeles when in the early 1970s, he was approached by Pournelle, an engineer with a military background who lived in the area Pournelle was looking for a partner to teach him how to write and inexplicably, the pair went on to co author nine novels together After a dedication to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin the first men to walk on another world and the astronauts who died trying, the novel begins with a 47 character dramatis personae Several of those listed begin assembling at a party in Los Angeles Tim Hamner is heir to the Kalva Soap Company and an amateur astronomer who announces he s just discovered a comet, a dim smear not far from Neptune now known as the Hamner Brown Comet Brown is a kid in Iowa who reported the smear at the same time Hamner did.A producer of television documentaries named Harvey Randall sees an opportunity for a series of prime time specials about the comet, with Kalva Soap as sponsor Senator Arthur Jellison, the VIP of the party, sits on the Finance Subcommittee for Science and Aeronautics His daughter Maureen Jellison has inherited a passion for the sciences from her father but struggles to forge an identity of her own.Maureen s lover is Air Force Colonel Johnny Baker, an astronaut who laments the end of the Apollo program and holds out hope that Maureen and her father can pass funding for a manned mission to study the comet as it passes near Earth Also hoping for a space race is Dr Charles Sharps, a planetary scientist for JPL who along with JPL technician Dr Dan Forrester, become the stars of Harvey Randall s comet specials Sharps alleges that the Soviets are planning a comet mission and Jellison is able to scare up funding for a U.S flight, with Johnny Baker and Lt Col Rick Delanty, a black astronaut, docking in Spacelab with two Soviet kosmonauts, Pieter Jakov and Leonilla Malik, M.D.Dr Sharps has this to say to the viewersThe points to remember are these First, the odds against any solid part of the Hamner Brown hitting us are literally astronomical Over these distances even the Devil himself couldn t hit a target as small as Earth Second, if it did hit, it would probably be as several large misses Some of those would hit ocean Others would hit land, where the damage would be local But if Hamner Brown did strike Earth, it would be as if the Devil had struck with an enormous hammer, repeatedlyIf you can t trust a scientist who in a science fiction thriller assures you that there s no danger, who can you trust As the comet approaches Earth, L.A catches Hammer Fever , with citizens preparing for the worst Harvey sends his teenaged son Andy into Sequoia National Park with a Boy Scout troop led by his neighbor, bank president Gordie Vance Harvey makes a few doomsday preparations packaging beef jerky, stockpiling pepper and liquor for trade, filling the swimming pool with fresh water while reassuring his nervous wife Loretta and promising Gordie that he ll look after his wife, civic booster Marie Vance, whose son is also in the mountains with Harvey s boy.The authors supply regular updates on the Hamner Brown Comet as it crosses interstellar space Other comets have survived many such passages through the maelstorm Much mass has been lost, poured into the tail but much of the coma could freeze again, and the rocky chunks could merge and crystals of strange ices could plate themselves across a growing comet, out there in the dark and the cold, over the millions of years if only Hamner Brown could return to the cometary halo But there appears to be something in its path.The second act of the novel finds several characters meeting their doom amid chaos, flood and panic once the comet hits Survivors make their way to the foothills of the Sierra Madre, where Senator Jellison has a ranch Jellison was unable to be seen making doomsday preparations, but once he realizes that the comet has hit begins organizing the ranching community for the coming disaster torrential rain, food shortages, refugees and worse In the third act, worse arrives as the remnants of a rogue Army unit, who ve linked up with a Black nationalist outfit from Watts and discovered a taste for human stew.It s a credit to Niven and Pourelle that they introduce so many compelling characters and put them into fascinating situations a nuclear power plant in the San Joaquin Valley that survives the flood and whose engineers sacrifice themselves to protect it, a plumbing supply store manager who discovers that logistics will be highly sought after commodity post apocalypse, a troop of teenaged Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts who hook up in the mountains to form their own community butso than the 1978 version of The Stand, there seems to have been an edict here from the publisher to make massive cuts At 629 pages, the novel ends up feeling anti climactic, almost abridged I also had a problem with the fact that no one at NASA or JPL seems able to determine the trajectory of the comet until it s almost too late Blame this on 1970s, Atari technology I d like to think mankind would ve had a better estimate andtime to prepare for a strike, but I m no scientist Despite the abridged feeling I got toward the end of the book, there were manyaspects of Lucifer s Hammer that I loved Reading an epic devoted to the end of times for Los Angeles was a welcome change of pace after reading about the fall of New York and the devastation of the Midwest in both The Stand and Swan Song Niven and Pourelle are Angelenos and as such, know exactly where to put their lens as the disaster ensues My favorite were the surfers who celebrate the comet off Santa Monica and get a front row seat for the 500 foot tsunami that wipes out the town The middle section of the novel explores the dynamics inside a post apocalyptic stronghold and in addition to the logistical challenges, which the authors document with precision, raises fascinating moral challenges as well Should refugees be given shelter How many Is it better to sacrifice the unessential so that others may survive the winter The decision is made to turn out refugees in order to save the people who were here first Exceptions are made for those who can offer essential skills engineers, doctors, brewers The local mailman is invited to stay to pass messages along his former route and bring Jellison information A CBS executive who knows the senator is turned away to certain death One of the characters anticipates gatekeepers When the comet hits, he goes home and begins sorting his library, spraying selected books with insecticide and wrapping them in plastic The cache is buried in his septic tank, far from the reaches of looters His ticket to Jellison Ranch becomes books books on how to make soap, brew beer, build gardens Army field manuals, maintenance manuals for cars and trucks, medical texts The knowledge to rebuild civilization He passes right on through In conclusion, if you re in the mood for a doomsday thriller with some compelling characters, strong dialogue, hard science and action that you don t have to wear a tinfoil hat to enjoy or turn your brain off to plow through, Lucifer s Hammer is highly recommended My enjoyment was necessary here as I realize that I have no essential skills to be useful after an apocalypse Book reviews do not seem like they d be a high priority I can t even tell jokes


  8. Donna Crupi Donna Crupi says:

    My God I loved this book Back in high school I thought I wasn t a reader Then I had an English teacher, Andy Page who would suggest I read certain books This was the first one he recommended.I found out it wasn t that I didn t like to read It was that I didn t like to read crappy books Lucifer s Hammer is the sci fi book I use to measure all sci fi books against With a memorable band of characters, a doomsday clock ticks down along with the explanation of the odds of the comet hitting the My God I loved this book Back in high school I thought I wasn t a reader Then I had an English teacher, Andy Page who would suggest I read certain books This was the first one he recommended.I found out it wasn t that I didn t like to read It was that I didn t like to read crappy books Lucifer s Hammer is the sci fi book I use to measure all sci fi books against With a memorable band of characters, a doomsday clock ticks down along with the explanation of the odds of the comet hitting the earth and shows these odds increasing at a steady, terrifying rate Talk about books you never forget I read this in 1982 and I vividly remember reading the comparison of the shape of the comet to an ice cream cone So much effort went into making the impact of the comet hitting the Earth so tangible and believable, that I sat on the edge of my seat reading well into the night for a solid week I didn t know it at the time, but so many people were doing the exact same thing This is a great book


  9. Sarah Sarah says:

    Yep, still a five star read for me It s everything a post apocalyptic book should be, including very realistic I ve been reading this book for 25 years and I ve probably read it 20 times and I ll read it 20We control the lightning


  10. Checkman Checkman says:

    Not the book I remember reading in high school Of course that was thirty four years ago Times and attitudes change What was a thrilling page turner is now a cliched and overblown melodrama What happened Sterotypes, cliches, overwrought writing, and some real interesting ideas about race, men and women Not to mention a pretty negative view on Human nature in general Talk about dark And I ve been a cop for the past nineteen years Not everyone is that horrible or that quick to give into sa Not the book I remember reading in high school Of course that was thirty four years ago Times and attitudes change What was a thrilling page turner is now a cliched and overblown melodrama What happened Sterotypes, cliches, overwrought writing, and some real interesting ideas about race, men and women Not to mention a pretty negative view on Human nature in general Talk about dark And I ve been a cop for the past nineteen years Not everyone is that horrible or that quick to give into savagery Yes there was what happened in New Orleans after Katrina, but that behavior wasn t so common in other areas hit by Katrina In Jan 1998 we were living in Upper State New York when a massive ice storn came in leaving millions without heat, phones or electricity for weeks in January It was pretty bad, but we all kept our heads and worked together We did not become monsters in the first few minutes The book fails badly in this respect and it effects the rest of the story after Hammerfall.I consider myself to be a moderate conservative well that s what my wife says I am and I try hard not always successful I should add to have a live and let live attitude As a teenager young adult I considered Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven to be good writers and I agreed with their political and social opinions Now they seem to be rather archaic and downright reactionary Now I understand that this novel was written in the mid seventies and aspects of it were in reaction to the changes that had swept through the United States in the previous fifteen years I also try not to condemn novels written in the past Afterall they are a reflection of their time not the present But Niven and Pournelle are still alive and they haven t really changed They have websites blogs and their opinions are in the open for anyone that is curious Needless to say I m not happy about having a fond memory of my youth disturbed Well I guess that s the word for reading a novel about the end of modern civilization.Sometimes I wish that we didn t change and could just hold onto those things we remember so fondly Oh well Onto the next book.Re ReviewWell there I carefully read it from front to back First time since 1985 First the positive aspects The book is still a very skillful large scale epic disaster novel The middle part where the comet hits and the characters struggle to make it through the first few days is probably the beat put together, but even the first third where we meet all the characters and go through the build up worked The last third gives us a battle between our community of civilized people and the evil army of cannibals and religious zealots It s interesting to compare Lucifer s Hammer to The Stand when talking about the last third Pournelle and Niven give the readers what King did not A big violent battle between the two communities Okay so on one level it s still a very readable and engrossing book, but there is no getting away from the political and social ideas that have caused such a fuss Anyone familiar with my reviews are aware that I m always the first to point out that judging a book written many decades ago by contemporary standards is unrealistic However Lucifer s Hammer isn t that old of a novel and the political aspects get in the way at times Pournelle has always been something of a provocateur and he had a grand time with this one I need to include Niven here as well , but it gets in the way I do not subscribe to mindless, knee jerk, PC Think, but I found myself raising my eyebrowthan once I couldn t help it Also some of the writing is a little lazy in that the political views espoused by the authors face no real challenge from those folks on the other side The other side is portrayed in simple terms and that s lazy The real world doesn t have easy to see lines and often the other side has some good points They aren t idiots just because you don t agree.In the end I will increase my rating to 2.5 stars, but not higher


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