Lucifer's Hammer
By Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

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Rating: Terrific!
3.5 Stars

First Published: 1977
Pages: 629

Review © 2009 by Stephen Roof
Genre:  Science Fiction, Thriller, Disaster



Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle is the one of the best disaster novel I’ve read.  Niven and Pournelle obviously had a great time crafting a highly entertaining novel that explores the events leading up to and following the impact of a comet with Earth.  There are a number of interesting characters who we get to know before the disaster and then we get to see how they deal with the disaster and the aftermath.  The characters range from the scientist who first discovers the impending disaster to the surfer dude who sees this as his chance to catch the ultimate wave. 

Lucifer’s Hammer has a lot of humor and, of course, tragedy, as well.  The actual disaster makes for terrific reading.  It is described in great detail and the transformation of southern California into a post apocalyptic world is well realized.

I won’t say that everything is realistic in Lucifer’s Hammer but it’s certainly more realistic and more fun than any disaster movie I’ve seen.  As you would expect, a disaster of this magnitude brings out the best and worst in people. 

If you’re looking for a fun and imaginative summer read where interesting characters are thrown into a desperate battle for survival against nature and man, pick this novel up and enjoy!