Customer Review

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas, but showing its age., 24 Jun 2009
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This review is from: Ringworld (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
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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