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The Draco Tavern by Larry Niven
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The Draco Tavern (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Larry Niven

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487921,072 (3.63)9
Member:rastaphrog
Title:The Draco Tavern
Authors:Larry Niven
Info:Tor Science Fiction (2006), Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages
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The Draco Tavern by Larry Niven (2006)

  1. 10
    Destiny's Road by Larry Niven (sc4s2cg)
    sc4s2cg: In my own humble opinion, these two books are Mr. Niven's best works. Fascinating reads, both of them.
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"Draco Tavern", by Larry Niven (2006)

A quick read to inspire long thoughts.

27 stories, written between 1977 and 2006, 304 pages, 4 page intro describing the initial scenario, and a little arithmetic give a little less than 10 pages per story.

"In a novel, theatrical script, screenplay, sketch stories, and poetry, a vignette is a
short impressionistic scene that focuses on one moment or character and gives a
trenchant impression about that character, an idea, setting, and/or object. It's a
short, descriptive passage that's more about evoking meaning through imagery than
it is about plot." Wikipedia

For all that I love Larry Niven's stories I'd never heard of this book until researching his works, looking for something else. And in this book I found "something else". These stories are all so short they can be read in a few minutes each…but you can't "leave" them in just a few minutes. As the definition of vignette indicates, these stories are "more about evoking meaning" than entertaining. If you don't find yourself puzzled or confused or frozen in an emotional stupor after reading these then your psyche might be a bit undeveloped.

Each of these "stories" sets up a scene, and then diverges from it to imply a surprising concept that cannot be absorbed because of the magnitude of the implications.

These stories are not exciting or thrilling; there's no adventure or tension; there are no summations or answers. It took me a while to appreciate what was happening here….If Niven had actually given us an "answer" we couldn't/wouldn't have accepted it anyway. No one can have the answers to the questions these stories pose.

Sadly, this IS a small book (and oh, how I wish Niven had written more of such stories) but I found myself spending more time mulling over what WASN'T written, than what was….what kind of proof of an after-life could be given, that would make people eager to die early? At what point would an artificial intelligence decide it had enough information? What would life REALLY be like, if we lived forever? And these are the more facile of his "vignettes". To give you more detail might trivialize the stories…(and I don't like giving details anyway).

As unchallenging as the grammatical structure is; as simple as the plot lines are; as unexciting as the action is; I still give the book 5-stars…for reminding me of the eternal truths that keep me reading Sci-Fi. ( )
  majackson | Mar 11, 2017 |
A collection of short stories set in the first bar to serve aliens on Earth.
I tend to find short story collections hit or miss, with some stronger stories and some weaker and at least one or two I flat out hate but overall I really enjoyed this one, for me there really wasn't a stinker in the bunch. It was fun, thought provoking and challenging in some cases but never boring or overwhelming. Each story felt just the right length and while once in a while basic information was repeated in the beginning of each story which got a bit repetitive, you were mostly just expected to be able to follow along and figure out what was going on. And the stories are written well enough so that was fairly easy to do.
I enjoyed this world and wouldn't mind reading more in it, but I also don't feel like more is necessary, I wasn't left feeling like stories were set up and were missing, even the few that had some overlapping events in them. Overall this book was a lot of fun to read. ( )
  Kellswitch | Apr 10, 2015 |
The Draco Tavern is a hub of interstellar travelers visiting Earth in the future...but given the number of pop culture references, not too distant of a future. At one point, Niven refers to "the host that followed Jay Leno on the Tonight Show." The book was published in 2006, so Jimmy Fallon was not yet the anointed one.

A collection of short stories, they all involve the owner/bartender of The Draco Tavern, Rick Schumann. While some of the stories follow the short story form. mostly this is Rick eavesdropping or talking to various aliens on topics ranging from Flutterby sex a cosmic intelligence enveloping the entire universe. I probably would have enjoyed this more if included races of his "Known Universe" collection of novels and short stories...but he did a predictably good job introducing us to the races in this particular universe.

I'm a long time Niven fan, but he hasn't impressed me all that much in the past decade. This book doesn't either, but it serves as brain comfort food nevertheless. ( )
  JeffV | Apr 8, 2014 |
This is the second collection of short stories I read in a row. I enjoy longer works for the same reason I like professional sports better than college. You don't get to know the players/characters because their careers/plots end too soon, and then you have to start to get to know a new set of athletes/actors. Larry Niven is a fine writer that made this bearable. ( )
  mainrun | May 4, 2012 |
Strangely enough I have never read any of Larry Niven's works before picking up Draco Tavern. This collection of short stories intrigued me right from the start though the stories hinted at a vastly larger picture and at time seemed to conflict with previous stories. Overall a good read but probably better with more background information. ( )
  gimble | Mar 10, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Larry Nivenprimary authorall editionscalculated
Weiner, TomNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765347717, Mass Market Paperback)

When a tremendous spacecraft took orbit around the Earth's moon and began sending smaller landers down toward the North Pole, the newly arrived visitors quickly set up a permanent spaceport in Siberia. Their presence attracted many, and a few people grew conspicuously rich from secrets they learned from talking to the aliens. One of these men, Rick Schumann, established a tavern catering to all of the various species of visiting aliens, a place he named the Draco Tavern.
From the mind of #1 New York Times bestselling author Larry Niven come twenty-six tales and vignettes from this interplanetary gathering place, collected for the first time in one volume, including:
 
"The Subject Is Closed": A priest visits the tavern and goes one-on-one with a chirpsithra alien on the subject of God and life after death.
 
"Table Mannners: A Folk Tale": Rick Schumann is invited to hunt with five folk aliens, but he's not quite sure what their hunt entails, or if he will be the hunted.
 
"Losing Mars": In this previously unpublished tale, a group of aliens who call Mars and its moon home arrive at the tavern only to find that humans have mostly forgotten about their neighboring planet.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:41 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Rick Schumann builds a tavern catering to visiting aliens, an interplanetary gathering place situated in Siberia that is known as Draco Tavern, in an anthology of short fiction that includes the previously unpublished "Losing Mars."

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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