Top positive review
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Excellent introduction to Known Space
on 9 August 1997
People interested in Larry Niven should not be reading his newer work, it is in early novels and stories like the ones portrayed here that they should start, for this is classic Niven. The writing and ideas that made Known Space so popular is easily seen here in a fine mix of novels and stories.
Some quick notes about the novels included herein:
World of Ptavvs is a great first novel and clearly shows off Niven's Known Space while providing a story that is part science-fiction, part suspense thriller. The alien is truly frightening, and the twist of having him in different bodies was great. Niven was off to a good start
A Gift From Earth was much better than World of Ptavvs for a number of different reasons. One, you sympathized with the main characters more, the plot was bursting with more ideas than the previous novel, and everything just seems to be better, which is how it should have been. The one great thing about reading this collection is seeing how his writing got better and better. And, oh yes, his next novel was a piece you might have heard of. Anyone remember Ringwold?
Tales of Known Space rounds out the collection, and Niven had a good idea in shuffling them in with the novels to keep everything chronological. Most of the stories are classic science-fiction and those that aren't are still pretty decent. This collection also adds notes by Niven and a chart along with a bibliography of everything he had written up to The Ringworld Throne, so new fans can easily figure out which books to get and where they fit in.
So, while these novels are not exactly out of print (I know A Gift From Earth and Tales From Known Space are still available), this is still the Niven fan's best bet, whether he be new or old, to get some great science-fiction tales. Highly recommended.