Best 1977 Adventures (3)

By: Joshua Glenn
October 29, 2017

One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1977 adventure novels. Happy 40th anniversary!


Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s post-apocalyptic/survival adventure Lucifer’s Hammer.

A libertarian pot-boiler and cozy catastrophe that I might not regard so highly if I hadn’t first encountered it as an adolescent; I loved it, at the time. When a comet known as “The Hammer” passes close to the Earth, rogue pieces of it strike the western hemisphere with devastating results. Coastal cities are destroyed, massive quantities of seawater are vaporized into the atmosphere (which will bring on a new ice age), and China launches a preemptive nuclear attack on Russia. California Senator Arthur Jellison gathers survivors at his ranch in the Sierra foothills, where they must prepare for an attack by the New Brotherhood Army, a cannibalistic and militaristic cult headed their way! PS: Given the fact that Pournelle was a right-winger, I’m guessing there’s an unsavory political aspect to this yarn that I didn’t catch at age 14….

Fun fact: Larry Niven is best known for the “hard” sci-fi novel Ringworld (1970), and its sequels and prequels. Lucifer’s Hammer was a NYT bestseller, as was Footfall (1985), also co-authored with Jerry Pournelle.


Let me know if I’ve missed any 1977 adventures that you particularly admire.


Adventure, Lit Lists