Hammering Away

This post by Michael Hiteshew details the reasons why he supports nuclear power. He says that itís due to his commitment to environmental concerns that drives his interest.

Thatís very much the same reason why I went nuclear myself. But this isnít a new idea. I was first introduced to the concept that nuclear power was environmentally friendly way back in 1977 through a science fiction book. (Iím sure that Jay Manifold will approve.)

The book is entitled Luciferís Hammer, and itís written by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. The story is about what happens when some pieces of a comet strike the Earth, essentially ending civilization.

The first half of the book is character intro and setup. Plenty of space is used for Larry to preach about how the environmental lobby is killing our future. The second half is concerned with the main character’s efforts to survive.

I have no idea if this work has been updated or not. The original has become seriously dated in the past 25 years. In the book, the Space Shuttle has yet to fly. Russia is still Soviet. Johnny Carson is on TV and calculators cost hundreds of dollars.

My advice is to pick up a copy and give it a read. Dated or not it still has something to offer.

9 thoughts on “Hammering Away”

  1. Uh, James? Amazon screwed up. They should have listed the book as being by both Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. ^_^;

  2. “Uh, James? Amazon screwed up. They should have listed the book as being by both Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. ^_^;”

    Ah, poop! I even knew that but didn’t think about it when I was writing the post.

    Thanks for the heads up, SPM. I’ve corrected my mistake.


  3. I picked up a copy a year or two ago at Barnes & Noble, and the anachronisms are still there.

    But so is the stark picture of what civilization is really worth, the unapologetic praise of industry, automation, mass production, capitalism, and all the rest of the left’s boogeymen, and a memorable look at what “living in harmony with nature” and “a simpler way of life” really means. And there’s no punches pulled when looking at the Soviet system, and what it was and was not capable of producing – Niven and Pournelle knew, in 1975, what many seem to have been in the dark about all the way up to 1989, that the Soviet economy was not a well-oiled machine that would leave America in the dust, but a creaky system desperately trying (and failing) to catch up to us. The reaction of the cosmonauts when they learn that America can produce advanced calculators that are beyond the best that the Soviets can do and do it so cheaply that the American astronauts blithely offer to give one away is priceless.

    And, at the very end, the best refutation of the “no blood for oil” nonsense that I’ve ever seen. Yes, damnit, the lightning is worth fighting for!

  4. Lex, amen on that surfer scene, dude.

    Couple of notes on nuclear power:
    In general, today’s designs resemble those of the ’70s no more than today’s cars resemble thirty-year-old models. In a comment on the original post, J.Scott Barnard referred aptly to the PBMR; in fact, several advanced designs are now available.
    Technology already in the laboratory can accelerate the decay of radioactive isotopes into stable ones, neutralizing waste; I posted on this topic a couple of years ago on Arcturus. The interesting question is whether the best thing to do with the waste right now is: nothing. Maybe it’s safer to just let it stack up until we can zap it with gamma-ray lasers.

  5. Note that Jay’s question in his point 2 applies also to global warming. In both cases we may be much better off doing nothing until more knowledge, more resources, or both, are available.

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