As my wife(and occasionally I) continue to pack what we can for our impending move, occasionally something is uncovered that you haven't seen in a while.
A few days ago, it was my beat up copy of Lucifer's Hammer, by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven.
I've refered to this book before on my blog, but never really given it the attention I feel it deserves. As a work of hard science-fiction, Lucifer's Hammer falls squarly in my list of the Top 5 Science Fiction novels of all time, competing with The Foundation Trilogy and a few things by Heinlein for the top spot.
If you haven't read it, Lucifer's Hammer follows the story of the Hamner-Brown comet, from it's discovery, through it's impact with planet Earth, and then the beggining of the recovery.
The first third of the book does a great job of capturing 'Hammer Fever', after the comet is mispronounced on the Tonight Show. You can really see the different groups that folks fall into prepping wise, with the vast majority of folks making some preperations, but worried about looking silly if the commet does miss the Earth.
I'm sure I would fall into that category...even now, with just a general feeling that sooner or later something is going to break, I wonder what people would think if they ever see my 72 cans of tuna, and thousands of rounds of ammo.
Luck also plays a big part in the first part of the book, and it drives home a good point. If you are one of those folks who's plans include having to Bug Out to some predetermind point...you better be among the first to jump, and have many ways to get there. Finally...GET THERE FIRST. Possession is 9/10ths of the law...
The middle, and smallest section of the book, is the partial comet strike. Once again, being lucky is better than being good.
Recovery is covered in the last half of the book, as people come together in the high and dry places. Once again, things feel realistic, with a few good discussions among the charecters about survival morals. What can you AFFORD to do? Sure, it would be nice to take care of everyone...but do you let your kids starve to feed someone else's kids? No...you go drop that bridge across the river, or blast out a section of mountain road if it will keep the Golden Horde away.
Obviously, I like the book. Part of me wishes some ambitious Hollywood type would tackle the task of turning it into a movie, or a mini-series, but a bigger part of me hopes noone ever tries. I'm not sure they could succeed. Oh...they could make an entertaining movie(Deep Impact comes close to capturing some of the feel of parts of Lucifer's Hammer...and no...Armageddon didn't come close at all)...but it wouldn't(couldn't) be good enough.
Of course, people thought that about Lord of the Rings for decades...
All I really know is that I had to have read this book cover to cover at least 20 times...and it is still cutting into my productive time this weekend.