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Destiny's Road by Larry Niven

Destiny's Road (edition 1998)

by Larry Niven

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1,10287,523 (3.22)19
Title:Destiny's Road
Authors:Larry Niven
Info:Tor Science Fiction (1998), Mass Market Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:alien world, space ships, quest

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Destiny's Road by Larry Niven

  1. 10
    The Draco Tavern 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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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
I haven't really read Larry Niven much, not even Ringworld, and I wanted to give him a try. Destiny's Road is a story of a colony from Earth to a planet called Destiny, over 200 years after its establishment. The story is a mystery really, as we follow Jemmy Bloocher as he travels from Spiral Town, a hick city that is the original landing spot of the colony but that is totally dependent on the Caravans that come twice a year from a mysterious other place, about which the merchants will not speak. The key element the Caravans carry are Speckles, the only source of potassium on the planet, without which everyone's mind will turn to mush.
Jemmy is forced to leave Spiral Town after killing one of the merchants, and has to change his identity. We follow his travels as he strives to learn the parts of the planet's history that is kept secret from Spiral Town and the other villages on "The Crab", the strip of land they farm and cannot leave.
I wanted to try Niven alone after reading 2 books he wrote with Gregory Benford, which frustrated me because, while the story was cool, the writing was difficult to follow. I hoped that I could get the cool story with better writing.
But alas, not this time. I like that Niven creates a world with what I presume is plausible science (also true of the Benford books), but he just isn't good at explaining this stuff to the lay person. By the end of the book, some things became clearer, but I guess I don't want to work that hard to understand what's going on. And while the mystery is great, and unfolds nicely, Jemmy's travels are odd, disjointed, and random with too many characters who aren't adequately fleshed out.
I need to try Ringworld.
Oh, one more thing: would it really have killed him to put a map of Destiny somewhere in the book? I guess he didn't want to include it at the front, since details of the colony were part of the mystery. But I would have liked to see a map somewhere in the second half of the book, so I could visualize the layout better. ( )
  DanTarlin | May 1, 2015 |
Boring book. Listened to this as long as I could stand. The sci-fi happened long ago before the book began and the book was just one, long, soap opera. I got bogged down in the main character's life events and couldn't extricate myself from the minutiae, so I quit reading. Maybe it has a good conclusion, but I'll never know! ( )
  buffalogr | Sep 10, 2014 |
I liked this book and how I was able to follow this one person's whole life. It just didn't go anywhere, well, it did, but I got boggled down in the world. I just couldn't visualize it and that made it hard to read. ( )
  CharityBradford | Apr 1, 2014 |
I liked this book and how I was able to follow this one person's whole life. It just didn't go anywhere, well, it did, but I got boggled down in the world. I just couldn't visualize it and that made it hard to read. ( )
  CharityBradford | Apr 1, 2014 |
This was an interesting story, but exceedingly slow. I understand Niven's narrative had the uphill battle of creating an entirely new civilization on an alien world and I think he did a great job pulling it all together in the end. Much of the last couple chapters was an infodump where Jemmy finally learns the secrets of the caravans and uses it to free his people from ancient tyranny.

I think this would've worked better for me if the book was 20-25% shorter. ( )
  DavidLErickson | Dec 17, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Larry Nivenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carol Russo DesignCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0812511069, Mass Market Paperback)

Humanity tried to conquer the stars and failed. Then it was time to try again, on Destiny. But even as the new colony was taking hold, the settlers were in revolt against one another. While some stayed on the new planet with what equipment they could keep, others fled back to the stars. Now the settlements are falling into decay, and the old technology is breaking down. Spiraltown is better off than most, and Jeremy Bloocher is lucky that he will someday head the family farm there. But there is trouble, Jeremy must flee, and neither he nor Destiny will ever be the same.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:31 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Like Earth, the space colony of Destiny has its trading caravans, except on Destiny they don't deal in spices but speckles, an ingredient necessary for mental health. The hero is a member of a caravan and as the novel follows his adventures it describes the colony's unusual culture.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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