On Saturday, Loscon 38 celebrated the 20th anniversary of Fallen Angels, Niven, Pournelle and Flynn’s novel starring over a hundred Tuckerized science fiction fans out to save two downed astronauts from a tech-hostile government.
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle and facilitator John Hertz discussed the novel’s enduring appeal with a standing-room-only audience.
Baen synopsizes the story:
One minute the two space Hab astronauts were scoop-diving the atmosphere, the next they’d been shot down over the North Dakota Glacier and were the object of a massive manhunt by the United States government.
That government, dedicated to saving the environment from the evils of technology, had been voted into power because everybody knew that the Green House Effect had to be controlled, whatever the cost. But who would have thought that the cost of ending pollution would include not only total government control of day-to-day life, but the onset of a new Ice Age
Stranded in the anti-technological heartland of America, paralyzed by Earth’s gravity, the “Angels” had no way back to the Space Habs, the last bastions of high technology and intellectual freedom on or over the Earth. But help was on its way, help from the most unlikely sources ….
Pournelle said the book is still selling about 30 copies a week, which is especially gratifying because a Baen Free Library edition has been available for years. He theorized these sales were driven by referrals from Amazon’s “customer’s who bought this also bought that”robot.
The characters in the novel were based on fans the authors knew – but Mike Flynn lived on the East Coast and hadn’t met many of the people Niven and Pournelle incorporated in the story. Larry Niven said one thing he was proud of is that Mike Flynn was able to recognize a particular person based on his description of her in the book.