Story summary.Aliens, from somewhere in Alpha Centauri system, begin attacking earth ("Winterhome" to them) as soon as they arrive - after a 12 year stopover in Saturn's rings undetected. Aliens that look like & are the size of baby elephants, only with multiple trunks that one human character compared with tentacles & who have vocal apparatus similar to ours. They call themselves "fi'" (plural "fithp") but Americans call them "Snouts".
Their primary fight is with the US since they recognize it is as the most advanced country, & secondarily with USSR. I'm puzzled why they had to destroy India by throwing an asteroid in Indian Ocean; it wasn't a party at all till then. This asteroid is called "Foot"; throwing it down is "Footfall" ... sort of ... an elephant trampling someone under its foot.
Of course, US military will eventually beat them.
- During the brief discussion of India, there is a curious reference to "Vishnu, the elephant god"! Why quote foreign mythology with such gross errors? Makes me wonder about all non-US references in the book.
- Story has "shotgun pellets made of spent uranium". I thought "spent uranium" is no longer uranium but is transformed to another element. What have I missed?
- Story contains a whole chapter named after, & in spirit of, William Tenn's 1963 story "The Men in the Walls" (novel version called "Of Men & Monsters").
Fact sheet.First published: 1985.
Related: Stories of Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle.