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An equally valid viewpoint is that Brennan killed the Martians because he believed that they were a potential future threat based on the two examples cited, as opposed to in retaliation for them. It's also at least plausible that, despite not posing much of a threat to humans on Earth, they would have slowed the colonization/exploitation of Mars, and Brennan wanted humanity to have the opportunity to develop that resource as quickly as possible to better enable them to face other potential threats (such as, say, the sudden arrival of additional Pak ships following Phssthpok, which didn't happen... or a warlike alien race, which did). In later works Protectors are depicted as not necessarily rabidly hostile towards other sentient species, provided that those species are helpful to whatever they regard as their gene line. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 03:12, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Pronunciation of Phssthpok
Has anyone found any references to how this should be pronounced? Knowing Niven's sense of humour with names, I wonder if it's "Spock" with the S replaced by a raspberry (i.e. a Bronx cheer). Can't find this referenced and I may be way off beam. Having noticed this, I can no longer read this book without cracking up.
I have in mind Basil Fawlty's "<phssth>poons!" but the latter was way later than 1973.