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Ringworld Paperback – 3 Jul 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; New edition edition (3 July 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857231694
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857231694
  • Product Dimensions: 17.7 x 1.7 x 10.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 627,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

In Ringworld and Ringworld Engineers Larry Niven created Known Space, a universe in the distant future with a distinctive and complicated history. The centre of this universe is Ringworld, an expansive hoop-shaped relic 1 million miles across and 600 million miles in circumference that is home to some 30 trillion diverse inhabitants. As in his past novels, Niven's characters in The Ringworld Throne spend their time unravelling the complex problems posed by their society.

Review

In Ringworld and Ringworld Engineers Larry Niven created Known Space, a universe in the distant future with a distinctive and complicated history. The centre of this universe is Ringworld, an expansive hoop-shaped relic 1 million miles across and 600 million miles in circumference that is home to some 30 trillion diverse inhabitants. As in his past novels, Niven's characters in The Ringworld Throne spend their time unravelling the complex problems posed by their society. (AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 May 2001
Format: Paperback
Niven is not wthout his problems as a writer. His characters are thin, his prose undistinguished to the point of brevity, and anybody reading him expecting the depth of Banks or even Hamilton will be sorely disappointed. On top of this, much of the science in Niven's early work is now severely out of date. So having dissed the guy utterly, why should I recommend this book? Well, because it's fab, that's why. This, for me is Nivens most successful novel; he does actually have a way with language and he is the master of the classic guy-in-a-situation short story - this is what his technique is built around - his strengths are speed, clarity, economy. This novel dumps you into the thick of known space intrigue. It's actually as sixties a universe as anything by Moorcock, but in a totally different way; a free swinging californian universe full of, well, fun. Mind battering super-science sits so happily with the surreal aliens, humorous touches, and sheer zest of the book, that it's just impossible not to like it. The plot is simple, but perfectly effective, and frames a simple road-journey/travel narrative through one of SF's most singular domains. For those tired of po-faced 'literary' SF on one hand, or multi-volume doorstop space-opera on the other, why not put your literary snobbery in stasis, and go have some fun in Niven's playground.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 2 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
This was hailed to me as a classic by several pals who, like me, enjoy hard scifi. My friends were truly passionate about the book, with all its quirky detail and humor, so I agreed to read it. No this is personal, but it just didn't work for me that well.

The plot takes place on a massive belt that is build around a sun, kind of like a ribbon Dyson sphere. As it spins, it creates an artificial gravity for the inhabitants, who are unknown. An unlikely team - an Asian, a felinoid Kzin, a girl gifted with luck, and an alien prostitute - enter and try to unlock its secrets. They go on a long journey and there are many funny asides, such as when the Kzin gets all his fur burned off with the exception of the bush he was sitting upon and a band around his shielded eyes. There are also some very interesting details, such as the medical advances of the time but also the notions that some people are genetically lucky. However, by the end, I did not like the explanation of what had happened: rather than awe, I felt disappointment that it wasn't more clever.

Recommended. It is good hard scifi. I just expected more after so many enthusiastic endorsements.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 29 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
Larry Niven's Ringworld has a mundane plot. A party of adventurers crash on an alien artefact and attempt to escape from it. The plot, however, is to all intents and purposes irrelevant. I am gripped by the conviction that Niven envisaged the artefact in question and simply wanted to come up with a vehicle to describe it over the course of 280 pages or so. The construction in question is a solid band circling a planet, a million miles in radius which has been terraformed by architects whose presence is still felt despite their absence, and which has now fallen into decay. Niven muses over the intricacies of its form and function, from the foundation material to the cloud squares which separate night from day, and constructs a wholly convincing environment in so doing. A few paragraphs of scant description will not do his successes in this regard justice, and I would recommend reading it for these evocations of a vast alien environment alone. Ringworld's habitats remind us of our own, yet are described as being of such a scale as to make the reader feel insignificant even within the pages of the book. On closing it, our own world seems rarer and less familiar, increasing in magnitude as we ourselves diminish, overturning the familiar trope of 'the shrinking world' and letting us once again revel in the scale of nature. Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebas reworks the idea of the ringworld to great effect, but Larry Niven got there first.
Winner of the 1971 Hugo Award, Ringworld is also noteworthy for some (but not all) of its characters. The four adventurers are (ostensibly) led -- or, more accurately, hired by -- Nessus of the Puppeteers, who resembles a large semi-plucked turkey with two necks, a brace of python heads, and bipolar disorder.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ian Brawn on 26 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
Niven has a prodigious imagination, particularly when it comes to hardware, which is both a strength and a weakness of this book. The universe on display is impressively cogent. There are wonders a plenty, lovingly described, through authorial asides and pages where the characters speculate on their observations. All of which makes the pace rather pedestrian. In fact, much of the book reads like a travelogue. By page 100 I was wishing they'd land the bloody spaceship and get on with things. Eventually they do and the pace does pick up towards the end.

Generally, though, this is a not a book of action but of ideas. Central among these is the ring world itself, which has become an icon of science fiction. Much of the impact of this book depends upon your reaction to this artefact and the less you know about it before you start the better.
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