Lucifer’s Hammer was written by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle in the late 1970’s. The story follows the discovery of a new comet named Hamner-Brown, later named “Lucifer’s Hammer”, as it unexpectedly slams into the earth causing widespread devastation and destruction. The book introduces a number of interesting characters and follows their lives pre and post-disaster. The scope of the disaster in this story is incredible as the impact from the comet causes tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanoes all over the planet. A lot of the most interesting parts of Lucifer’s Hammer take place in the post-comet world. The authors really “push the limits” in their exploration of the ways in which knowledge and science could be used to “even the odds” for survivors in a post-apocalyptic scenario. Survivors use some rather “unique” methods to defend themselves from the ruthless-raider-cannibal types. It is doubtful that the authors would be permitted to describe some of their unorthodox defensive measures if the book was released today.
Lucifer’s Hammer is different from other apocalypse-themed books in that it doesn’t demonize technology and science as is often the case with many other fictional works in this genre. Instead, the authors explore how knowledge, science and technology could be utilized to recover from an apocalyptic disaster. Overall, I would recommend Lucifer’s Hammer for its unique perspective and for its pure entertainment value.