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Protector

4.1 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Russell Publishing Ltd; New edition edition (Jun. 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0859550354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0859550352
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,120,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

Phssthpok the Pak had been traveling for most of his thirty-two thousand years. His mission: save, develop, and protect the group of Pak breeders sent out into space some two and a half million years before...
Brennan was a Belter, the product of a fiercely independent, somewhat anarchic society living in, on, and around an outer asteroid belt. The Belters were rebels, one and all, and Brennan was a smuggler. The Belt worlds had been tracking the Pak ship for days -- Brennan figured to meet that ship first...
He was never seen again -- at least not by those alive at the time. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Larry Niven (left) is the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of such classics as "Ringworld, The Integral Trees", and "Destiny's Road". He has also collaborated with both Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes on "The Legacy of Heorot, Beowulf's Children", and the bestselling "Dream Park" series. He lives in Chatsworth, California.
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle were the joint winners of the 2005 Robert A. Heinlein Award. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
What if the human adult were actually just the child stage of a more advanced creature, accidentally lost in space millions of years ago and eternally prevented from reaching adulthood by a quirk of food biology? And what if one of our true "adults" managed to find us and tried to make us like him? This is the interesting premise. Unlike Arthur C Clarke's "Childhood's End", it is not so clear that we earth-humans should go along with our "daddy's" wishes. And the final decision falls to the fate of the only human to be thus mutated. A particularly solid, thought-provoking and enjoyable piece of work from Niven, with plenty of his characteristic scientific angles.
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Format: Paperback
It's odd that this book is out of print given the success of Niven's 'Ringworld' books, since this is pretty much a prequel to them.
For those that know 'Ringworld', we learned in 'Ringworld Engineers' that the Ringworld was built by Pak Protectors, and that Pak are tough, super-intelligent and dedicated to protecting their species, whatever it takes. In 'Protector' we learn more about the Pak and their links with humanity, and how one human - the prospector Jack Brennan - became a protector to our species and our planet...
Even if you haven't read any of the 'Ringworld' books, I'd rate this as an enjoyable read. The relationship between the Pak and humankind is a shockingly plausible bit of science fiction (I won't spoil it by revealing too much) and the story, which takes place across a timespan of several decades, romps along without getting bogged down in background detail. If you are able to get hold of this book and you enjoy SF, I'd thoroughly recommend it.
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By A Customer on 28 May 2001
OK; fair enough. Nobody who doesn't at least like science fiction should go any where within spitting distance of this book. But for those who do like SF, it's quintessential Niven, with the logic of an albiet unlikely permise worked out with thoroughness and intelligence, and pace. It's full of sensawunder technological coups, and memorable future goodies as well, cumulating in one of the literatures most rigorously imagined space sequences. Niven is scrupulous in the science, less so in the characterisation and prose, but this comes with the territory. The plotting is good though, with shocks and twists a-plenty, and assumes greater significance when slotted into its rightful place in the Known Space mythos, like most of Niven's early work. To quote Thomas Disch on Hal Clement, 'it may be dense, but so's pecan pie.'
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Larry Niven's novel Protector is good, solid, science fiction like they don't write anymore. It depicts man's first contacts with extraterrestrials about two and four centuries hence. It is a novel of ideas: some futurology, some philosophy, some fantasy anthropology. It presents a consistent world that we can easily understand. It makes us think about where the human race came from and for what purpose. There are also one or two nice twists in the book.

Of course, the book cannot help but reflect the time in which it was written, the late sixties and early seventies. It's still a man's world: the only woman character in the book is feisty and tomboyish but succumbs to the hero's muscular charms; the police are men: helpful, but too busy to be effective; hippyish middle aged men go through crises and backpack round the world; a crepuscular statesman lingers contentedly in his establishment club. It's reassuring to know that books are still read and that sometimes they even take computers on trickier deep space missions. This is a book of its time, but the story and the ideas keep it fresh and divert from the threadbare certainties of four decades ago.

Like all good science fiction, it resonates. As I finished the book, a company called Planetary Resources, backed, apparently, by billionaires, announced their intention to begin a programme of space travel in order to exploit the mineral wealth of "near Earth asteroids". Niven's first "belters" are near. Much of the von Daniken speculation and the biological catalysts found in Prometheus, the new Ridley Scott film, are in Niven's novel too; the "ancient astronaut" being a fashionable theory of the late sixties and early seventies.

If all Niven's speculation from the first golden age of space exploration were not enough, we can marvel at Alice Jordan, Protector's lone woman, who becomes "Sally" from time to time as the book progresses. Teleportation? Mutation? Poor copy editing, more likely.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first read this tale 30 years ago. Despite faults seen by a rather more sophisticated reader It remains a cracking story and great fun. To my mind Protector would make a good TV series if carefully rewritten (ie not half arsed moments of exposition) to explain a few of the more SF elements to a general audience.
A happy reunion for me and thoroughly recommended to the "hard" SF fan or the general reader who can see past the SF elements.
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Format: Paperback
Larry Niven ploughed a lonely Hard SF furrow in the 1960s and 70s when all around was New Wave. He is probably best remembered for his “Known Space” stories, of which this is one. The central conceit here is that humans did not originate on Earth and are descended from a race with three growth stages: infant, breeder and protector. Only the growth cycle broke down and humans now reach “adulthood” without ever metamorphosing into protectors – think warm-blooded axolotls. Then, early in the 22nd century, a protector from the home planet arrives to see how we’re getting on, and the stage is set for a potential interplanetary war.

The book suffers structurally from being divided into two parts (the first began life as a short story) with different protagonists and set 200 years apart. Add to this that part two climaxes – if that’s the right word – with a protracted space skirmish spread over a decade or so, and you have a story which never really gets into top gear. This left me with too much time to chunter about Niven’s sub-GCSE take on evolutionary biology (even for 40 years ago). Still, it’s an interesting enough yarn to recommend to a wider readership than just Known Space completists, especially if you enjoy lovingly detailed descriptions of the nuts and bolts of space travel.
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