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Brian Doyle: IMG The Rude Burl of Our Masks



One day when I was 12 years old and setting off on my newspaper route after school my mom said will you stop at the doctor's and pick up something... Continue »
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    Children and Other Wild Animals

    Brian Doyle 9780870717543

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The Mote in God's Eye

by and

The Mote in God's Eye Cover

ISBN13: 9780671741921
ISBN10: 0671741926
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Excerpt

Chapter 1: Command

A.D. 3017

"Admiral's compliments, and you're to come to his office right away," Midshipman Staley announced.

Commander Roderick Blaine looked frantically around the bridge. where his officers were directing repairs with low and urgent voices, surgeons assisting at a difficult operation. The gray steel compartment was a confusion of activities, each orderly by itself but the overall impression was of chaos. Screens above one helmsman's station showed the planet below and the other, ships in orbit near MacArthur, but everywhere else the panel covers had been removed from consoles, test instruments were clipped into their insides, and technicians stood by with color-coded electronic assemblies to replace everything that seemed doubtful. Thumps and whines sounded through the ship 89 somewhere aft the engineering crew worked on the hull.

The scars of battle showed everywhere, ugly bums where the ship's protective Langston Field had overloaded momentarily. An irregular hole larger than a man's fist was burned completely through one console, and now two technicians seemed permanently installed in the system by a web of cables. Rod Blaine looked at the black stains that had spread across his battle dress. A whiff of metal vapor and burned meat was still in his nostrils or in his brain, and again he saw fire and molten metal erupt from the and wash across his left side. His left arm was still bound across his chest by an elastic bandage, he could follow most of the previous week's activities by the stains it carried.

And I've only been aboard an hour! he thought. With the Captain ashore, and everything a mess. I can't leave now! He turned to the midshipman. "Right away?"

"Yes, sir. The signal's marked urgent."

Nothing for it, then, and Rod would catch hell when the Captain came back aboard. First Lieutenant Cargill and Engineer Sinclair were competent men, but Rod was Exec and control was his responsibility, even if he'd been away MacArthur when she took most of the hits.

Rod's Marine orderly coughed discreetly and pointed to the stained uniform. "Sir, we've time to get you more decent?"

"Good thinking." Rod glanced at the status board to be sure. Yes, he had half an hour before he could take a boat down to the planet's surface. Leaving sooner wouldn't get him to the Admiral's office any quicker. It would be a relief to get out of these coveralls. He hadn't undressed since he was wounded.

They had to send for a surgeon's mate to undress him. The medic snipped at the armor cloth embedded in his left arm and muttered. "Hold still, sir. That arm's cooked good." His voice was disapproving. "You should have been in sick bay a week ago."

"Hardly possible," Rod answered. A week before, MacArthur had been in battle with a rebel warship, who'd spored more hits she ought to have before surrendering. After the victory Rod was prize master in the enemy vessel and there weren't facilities for proper treatment damage from there. As the armor came away he something worse than week-old sweat. Touch of gangrene, maybe.

"Yessir." A few more threads were cut away. The synthetic was as tough as steel. "Now it's gonna take surgery, Commander. Got to cut all that away before the regeneration stimulators can work. While we got you in sick bay we can fix that nose."

"I like my nose," Rod told him coldly. He fingered the slightly crooked appendage and recalled the battle when it was broken. Rod thought it made him look older, no bad thing at twenty-four standard years; and it was the badge of an earned, not inherited, success. Rod was proud of his family background, but there were times when the Blaine reputation was a bit hard to live up to.

Eventually the armor was cut loose and his arm smeared with Numbitol. The stewards helped him into a powder-blue uniform, red sash, gold braid, epaulettes; all wrinkled and crushed, but better than monofiber coveralls. The stiff jacket hurt his arm despite the anesthetic until be found that he could rest his forearm on the pistol butt.

When he was dressed he boarded the landing gig from MacArthur's hangar deck, and the coxswain let the boat drop through the big flight elevator doors without having the spin taken off the ship. It was a dangerous maneuver, but it saved time. Retros fired, and the little winged flyer plunged into atmosphere.


NEW CHICAGO: Inhabited world, Trans-Coalsack Sector, approximately 20 parsecs from Sector Capital. The primary is an F9 yellow star commonly referred to as Beta Hortensis.

The atmosphere is very nearly Earth-normal and breath-able without aids or filters. Gravity is 1.08 standard. The planetary radius is 1.05, and mass Is 1.21 Earth-standard, indicating a planet of greater than normal density. New Chicago is inclined at 41 degrees with a semi-major axis of 1.06 AU, moderately eccentric. The resulting variations in sesonal temperature have confined the inhabited areas to a relatively narrow band in the south temperate zone.

There is one moon at normal distance, commonly called Evanston. The origin of the name is obscure.

New Chicago is 70 percent seas. Land area is mostly mountainous with continuing volcanic activity. The extensive metal industries of the First Empire period were nearly all destroyed in the Secession Wars; reconstruction of an industrial base has proceeded satisfactorily since New Chicago was admitted to the Second Empire in A.D. 2940.

Most inhabitants reside in a single city which bears the same name as the planet. Other population centers are widely scattered, with none having a population over 45,000. Total planet population was reported as 6.7 million in the census of 2990. There are iron mining towns in the mountains, and extensive agricultural settlements. The planet is self-sufficient in foodstuffs.

New Chicago possesses a growing merchant fleet, and is located at a convenient point to serve as a center of Trans-Coalsack interstellar trade. It is governed by a governor general and a council appointed by the Viceroy of Trans-Coalsack Sector, there is an elected assembly, and two delegates have been admitted to the Imperial Parliament.


Rod Blaine scowled at the words flowing across the screen of his pocket computer. The physical data were current but everything else was obsolete. The rebels had changed even the name of their world, from New Chicago to Dame Liberty. Her government would have to be built all over again. Certainly she'd lose her delegates; she might even lose the right to an elected assembly.

He put the instrument away and looked down. They were over mountainous country, and he saw no signs of war. There hadn't been any area bombardments, thank God.

It happened sometimes: a city fortress would hold out with the aid of satellite-based planetary defenses. The, Navy had no time for prolonged sieges. Imperial policy was to finish rebellions at the lowest possible cost in lives — but to finish them. A holdout rebel planet might be reduced to glittering lava fields, with nothing surviving but a few cities lidded by the black domes of Langston Fields; and what then? There weren't enough ships to transport food across interstellar distances. Plague and famine would follow.

Yet, he thought, it was the only possible way. He had sworn the Oath on taking the Imperial commission. Humanity must be reunited into one government, by persuasion or by force, so that the hundreds of years of Secession Wars could never happen again. Every Imperial officer had seen what horrors those wars brought; that was why the academies were located on Earth instead of at the Capital.

As they neared the city he saw the first signs of battle. A ring of blasted lands, ruined outlying fortresses, broken concrete rails of the transportation system; then the almost untouched city which had been secure within the perfect c

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Norman Babbitt, August 29, 2013 (view all comments by Norman Babbitt)
For me, this is one of the greatest works of science fiction that I've read. It is right up there with Herbert's novel, "Dune." This novel does better than any other I've come across dealing with a first encounter with an alien civilization. The superb writing, and unique plot, and the unfolding of the interaction with an intelligent alien species, who's mindset and agenda are very different than humanity's, is incredibly rich and intriguing. I've read this work several times throughout my life and it has always engaged my imagination.
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teronay, September 22, 2011 (view all comments by teronay)
This is an excellent book
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780671741921
Author:
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
Publisher:
Pocket Books
Editor:
Stern, Dave
Author:
Niven, Larry
Author:
Pournelle, Jerry
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Science Fiction - General
Subject:
Science fiction
Subject:
Science fiction, american
Subject:
Science / General
Subject:
Science Fiction and Fantasy-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
B101
Series Volume:
TM 5-856-9
Publication Date:
March 1991
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
592
Dimensions:
6.75 x 4.19 in 9.38 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Classics

The Mote in God's Eye Used Mass Market
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Product details 592 pages Pocket Books - English 9780671741921 Reviews:
"Review" by , "One of the most engrossing tales I've read in years...fascinating."
"Review" by , "As science fiction, one of the most important novels ever published."
"Review" by , "A spellbinder, a swashbuckler....And, best of all, it has a brilliant new approach to that fascinating problem — first contact with aliens."
"Review" by , "A superlatively fine novel...no writer has ever come up with a more appealing, intriguing, and workable concept of aliens."
"Review" by , "Possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read."
"Review" by , "Intriguing and suspenseful...the scenes in which the humans and aliens examine one another are unforgettable."
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