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Ringworld (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 9 Jun 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (9 Jun 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575077026
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575077027
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,634 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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 60 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 On top of this, much of the science in Niven's early work is now severely out of date.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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Behan on 24 Jun 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ringworld is, on it's surface, a fun space opera with some "real science" thrown in. The worlds are imaginatively built, the pace is good and there is a nice feel of mystery and fun.

The book hasn't aged well in the respect that it's plainly aimed at the adolescent male, brimful with reported or implied sexual encounters, none of which serve the plot in any way. The two female characters are both beautiful (what's the point of an ugly woman, right?) and shallow; one is a petulant brat whose charmed life has left her bereft of humanity, the other is a spaceship's doxy who sees herself as some sort of sexual ambassador -- I mean, really!? ...But at least Niven reveals that the hero is a little insecure about his sexual prowess.

Anyway, I'm making a big deal out the misogyny, which isn't all that bad, for sci-fi of the period. What really ticked me off was that, in-between all the naked swimming and humping, no-one says a sexual swearword! No, really; to avoid using obscenities, Niven invents "tanj", a catch-all swear-word that has no explicit meaning and is hugely irritating to read over and over again. Because casual sex is fine, as long as there's no dirty words.

Writers: for tanj's sake, use an honest-to-goodness four-letter word, use reported speech, or just don't have your characters swear at all. Please!

What else? Oh yeah! Remember I mentioned a character that has led a charmed life? Well, the big revelation at the end of the novel involves Teela (wasn't that the girl in He-Man?)and it explains why she's such an airhead. It is also utterly illogical and a massive anticlimax.

This book won both the Hugo and Nebula awards!? I much prefer Tower Of Glass (Gollancz SF collector's edition) by Robert Silverberg.
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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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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A. Morley on 31 Jan 2006
Format: Paperback
Ringworld is an adventure/discovery book. It tells the story of 200 year-old Louis Wu who is contacted by a curious 2 headed turkey-like alien called Nessus who wants to assemble a team to explore the eponymous Ringworld his species has recently discovered. The other members of his team include an 8 foot high, orange cat-like alien called Speaker-To-Animals and a naïve, 20 year old girl called Teela Brown we learn is chosen for her luck. The book then proceeds to follow their journey to the Ringworld itself and subsequently across it.
The idea itself, the Dyson sphere, is both imaginative and awe-inspiring. Its humongous scale is exemplified by the huge rim walls and a colossal mountain (over a 1000 miles high) called the Fist-Of-God. It would have been impossible for Niven to flesh out the entire world as there would be too much to cover so it is told from the viewpoint of the four members’ expedition through a limited section of the ‘artifact’. In this respect it succeeds admirably in world-building in a supposedly ‘hard’ science context.
But I gave this 3.5 stars because a good idea itself is not enough to make it REALLY good. The characters for one thing are atrociously developed and two dimensional. This would be forgivable if Niven focussed on furthering the plot but he delves too much into the character’s relationship with each other including a rather odd romance (if that) between a 200 year old man and a girl one tenth his age. Similarly Nessus suffers from seemingly bipolar disorder which seemed completely out of place. The most interesting being for me was Speaker.
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