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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How can people not like this
This is one of Larry Niven's best novels, if not THE best.
Humanity is colonising an alien world, but they seem unlike your 'normal' humans, lack of adventure, no questions, don't rock the boat. Jemmy is of a different mold and wants to explore - how he does it and what he meets on the road are the stuff of the old-style Niven.
Well-described, thoughtfully...
Published on 15 April 2002 by A. J. Watson

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Niven's best, but there's enough here to satisfy
This is an odd book. It's as if Larry Niven had deliberately set out to do something different from what he has done before. In this he succeeds, but also leaves his strengths behind.
Destiny is an attractive world, with a potentially fatal drawback for its human settlers - the local biology, while not especially antagonistic to human life, won't sustain it either...
Published on 4 Jan 2003 by P. Kendell


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How can people not like this, 15 April 2002
By 
A. J. Watson "Bones" (Newcastle-on-Tyne, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Destiny's Road (Paperback)
This is one of Larry Niven's best novels, if not THE best.
Humanity is colonising an alien world, but they seem unlike your 'normal' humans, lack of adventure, no questions, don't rock the boat. Jemmy is of a different mold and wants to explore - how he does it and what he meets on the road are the stuff of the old-style Niven.
Well-described, thoughtfully worked-out, this book had me gripped.
The book begs for a sequel - please, Larry!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Niven's best, but there's enough here to satisfy, 4 Jan 2003
By 
P. Kendell (Wokingham, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Destiny's Road (Paperback)
This is an odd book. It's as if Larry Niven had deliberately set out to do something different from what he has done before. In this he succeeds, but also leaves his strengths behind.
Destiny is an attractive world, with a potentially fatal drawback for its human settlers - the local biology, while not especially antagonistic to human life, won't sustain it either. Humans need to eat something called "speckles" in order to survive. Niven makes a big deal over this - perhaps too much. He uses it to revive the idea of the water empire, which he did to death twenty years ago in A WORLD OUT OF TIME/CHILDREN OF THE STATE.
The structure of the book is odd, too. At one point, and for no very good reason, there is an hiatus of twenty-seven years. Our hero, who changes his name regularly depending upon whom he wishes to avoid, dosesn't seem to have changed much over this period, so why...?
Niven has done his homework on the sociology and geography, the biochemistry and the cuisine (it's a nice touch to make his hero a cook) of his creation but it all seems a bit mechanistic. There's very little wonder in this world, which is a shame. Wonder is in plentiful supply in Niven's best work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Niven Classic, 28 Aug 2004
By A Customer
Destiny's Road is arguably one of Niven's finest and most thought-provoking works. It follows the life of Jemmy Bloocher as he explores the Road, a flat track seared into the planet's surface between colony planet Destiny's two main settlements, Spiral Town and Destiny Town. Along the way he learns far more than he should about Destiny's secrets.
Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A story firmly grounded in the soil of our Destiny, 22 Feb 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Destiny's Road (Paperback)
Destiny's road is a departure for Niven and I, for one, am glad to see it. The work concentrates again on his latest thrust which is the look outward to the worlds that man might one day colonize and the specific dangers that we might face there. In contrast to the perils of Ringworld and the dangers of Beowulf and Heorot, this is a calmer, yet no less deadly danger. On Destiny, what confront's the colonists are the simple facts of the need to live in a place not designed to harbor our life form. Beyond that, Destiny's road is an "On the Road" a la Larry Niven and you'll do well to settle back and enjoy the places that he takes you. All in all, a work well done and well worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating world marred by oddities., 1 Feb 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Destiny's Road (Paperback)
It's a delight to see an alien world where terran colonists, made from particular sugar, fat and amino acid polymers, aren't somehow able to walk into a different biochemical ecosystem, eat the alien food and suffer the alien diseases. Instead, Niven's colonists eat native food as a slimming aid (they can't digest it, lacking the right enzymes) and suffer drastic malnutrition from the lack of a trace element universal in earth biochemisty. The book explores the society of a human colony on an alien planet, feeding the reader a small stream of information about the ecosystem and personalities that shaped this society.
Much is left unsaid, but enough is provided to give us a fascinating idea as to how our very human descendants might get on. What is said is more problematic. There are some distinct oddities about this society - the singular lack of curiosity, the decline in technological ability amongst a populace descended from interstellar colonists and backed up by advanced technology, the lack of commerce and travel, the strange policy on harvesting the only source of the vital dietary element. The world unveiled to our hero is one which doesn't resemble anything that vivacious, curious, materialistic humanity might ever conjure up. The society is too fragile and unlikely, shaped solely by the whim of the writer. Still, finding out about it is gripping.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing tale of planetary colonisation, 14 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Destiny's Road (Paperback)
Destiny's Road is a long rambling story about the colonisation of a planet called Destiny by some settlers from Earth. The novel basically concerns the adventures of a young man, Jemmy Bloocher, and his flight from Spiral Town after he commits a murder.
Much of the book is concerned with Jemmy as he makes his way down 'The Road' (built by the original settlers) intertwined with the constant need for all human life to consume 'speckles'. These speckles are a potassium based plant that allows humanity to continue to survive as none of the planets indigenous life forms use or process this element in any way.
It is this latter fact that lets this book down very badly. Niven never really gives any kind of even off-hand explanation of how earthlife and the life on Destiny effectively intermingle (the original settlers brought and seeded extensive varieties of earth plant and animal life) and thus the entire ecological environment of the planet just never seems to have a ring of plausibility about it. More strange is the fact that a good proportion of the humanity on the planet never questions this speckle dependency and even the main character does not do so until he himself is of middle age.
The book has a good ending, resolving parts of the problems described above, but takes a long time to get there. You often have to follow several strange plot jumps just to discover one more jigsaw piece and this becomes tiresome after a few times. Being someone who grew up with the Known Space stories and the wealth of other fine material that Niven has produced I was looking forward to reading this book. Ultimately I was disappointed.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A man's weight of green bananas, 23 Aug 2013
By 
Clever Spud (Birmingham) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Destiny's Road (Paperback)
Look, it's not giving too much away that the core problem facing mankind on their new home world is a lack of potassium. It's central to the back story and often propels the action. Yet most of the sumptuous roadside meals eaten by various characters include arm-loads of bananas and mushrooms - food which is packed with potassium. Basically it's a book founded upon some fantastic scientific details and a complete lack of nutritional knowledge.

Nominally part of the Heorot cycle of books, which were written in collaboration with Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes, it's completely stand-alone. The first Heorot book was absolutely brilliant, the second was a little too obsessed with sex for my tastes, coming off as 90210 meets Aliens but still an incredibly well-written book with a satisfying last third. Destiny's Road is a badly written book with a disjointed plot and a dislikeable main character. There are absolutely flashes of trademark Niven genius but smothered under poor writing and plotting. He was never the most literary of science fiction writers but sentences are supposed to build upon one another into paragraphs and paragraphs should mesh into coherent chapters which in series tell a story. There's an arc to the book, but it's held together like a poorly built dry-stone wall and I couldn't help but look past the solid bits to focus on the air in between, forever thumbing back to see if I'd missed something - I hadn't.

I really wanted to like it, but the massive plot hole and the plodding writing ruined it for me.

2.5 out of 5.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The chugs plod slowly along - a bit like the book really...., 25 July 2009
By 
W. Robinson "Big Bill Robinson" (Slough, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Destiny's Road (Hardcover)
I have just finished this book, and I have to say, it is not Larry Niven's best by some way. He can do a lot better, and he has, particularly in the classic 'Known Space' series.
So anyway, this book is set around 600 years in the future, by which time humankind has colonised a few planets around other stars. This planet was named Norn, but when humans got there, they renamed it Destiny (nice name).
The book gets off to a great start, with some really imaginative writing about the planet's makeup, life-forms and ecology etc, as well as an intriguing plot. Unfortunately I felt that the book then stumbled somewhat, and became slightly tedious and plodding. Without giving too much away, the hero of our tale, Jemmy, has to flee the city of his birth. Unfortunately there is only one road out of town! So off he goes to seek his fortune....
I agree that the book is very readable, and I finished it OK, but it has a rather disjointed feel to it at times. I also felt that it was over-long, and could have been trimmed by 50 pages or so, which might have improved it. All in all, a medium review for a medium book. I would not purchase a follow-up if there was one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Definately worth a look, just don't expect Known Space, 23 July 2000
By 
R. Weir "pooliealbatross" (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Destiny's Road (Paperback)
This is Niven trying to do something very different to his other work, and while it's not as gripping as, say Footfall, Protector, or The Ringworld Engineers, it's by no means bad.
The book gains from being seen through the eyes of one individual as he journeys along the road, discovering the answers to the questions that the readers have been thinking since the start - what are speckles? Why are they important?
Saying that because Jemmy doesn't question this from the start is a red herring - after all, not many of us ask from an early age what Vitamin C does in a complex biological sense.
It does tend to jump around a bit, but for those prepared to wait to find out the explanations you'll get a rewarding read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ever wondered how humans would fare in a new world?, 13 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Destiny's Road (Hardcover)
Yes, it is a bit slow for the impatient reader, but upon reading it the second time, one could see the intricate details of how human civilisation might fare in a new planet. How technology of the 'predecessors' seem like magic to the descendents, (very like how we wondered about the pyramids in Egypt).
Gives an insight on the practical problems of living, not just the scientific bits, but also the sociological and cultural evolution which happens upon colonising a new planet.....and when the sanity of the human race depends on a rare spice......
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Destiny's Road
Destiny's Road by Larry Niven (Paperback - 7 May 1998)
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