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Ringworld by Larry Niven

Ringworld (1970)

by Larry Niven (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Ringworld (1), Known Space (8)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,29293633 (3.83)151
  1. 101
    Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (codeeater)
    codeeater: Another story about a mysterious alien artefact.
  2. 70
    The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another hard science fiction book about a fully realized world with lots of technical details.
  3. 40
    Eon by Greg Bear (santhony)
    santhony: If you enjoy the science fiction genre featuring huge, interstellar habitats, this fits the bill.
  4. 30
    Titan by John Varley (lquilter)
    lquilter: If you liked the gee-whizziness and adventure / exploration of RINGWORLD, but couldn't stomach the sexism, try Varley's TITAN (and sequels in the trilogy, WIZARD and DEMON) -- all the fun but only a fraction of the annoying ideology.
  5. 20
    Sundiver by David Brin (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Space Opera, updated. Strange mystery, assemble a crew of lively characters, go explore it. Sound familiar?
  6. 20
    Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Space Opera, updated. Strange mystery, assemble a crew of lively characters, go explore it. Sound familiar?
  7. 10
    Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement (Michael.Rimmer)
  8. 22
    Foundation by Isaac Asimov (nar_)
    nar_: Space travelling and interminable, huge lands and space... so huge !
  9. 00
    A World Too Near by Kay Kenyon (mentatjack)
    mentatjack: One of the blurbs on the cover of A World Too Near compares The Entire and the Rose favorably to The Ringworld series by Larry Niven.

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» See also 151 mentions

English (87)  Spanish (2)  Hungarian (2)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (93)
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
First off - I will bet everything I own that the main character's name is pronounced "Louie" and not "Loo-iss." I made a suicide pact with myself at the beginning of the novel that would take effect should I start repeating "Loo-iss" in my head throughout three-hundred-odd pages. I'm still here, so it's "Louie." Capiche? Alright.
Anyway, this book sat on my shelf for a couple of years until I took a couple of general physics courses in college because I had heard of Mr. Niven's legendary "hard" sci-fi (or SF for all of the hipsters out there who are suddenly too good for Flash Gordon; still love ya, Flash). While a little math background was helpful in visualizing some of the engineering feats described, I probably should've just sucked it up and read the book. It's really that good.
Without spoiling the plot too much, the story follows a very old young man, a hilariously paranoid alien who doesn't fit in with his own race, a young woman who might just be the luckiest person alive, and a very large and muscular tabby-cat-man. If you're a person I would not want to punch in the face in real life, you will stop reading this now and read the damned book.
This lovely cast is in pursuit of a bizarre engineered world that (combined with a neat FTL travel option supplied by said paranoid aliens) could just be the ticket to saving all of their races from imminent death in 20,000 years, give or take a century.
While I'm never one to turn down a good space opera, what really hit home for me were Louis Wu's musings on love, loss, and feeling used - I got to that point after being dumped, you see. All-in-all, Larry Niven's a great author, this is a great book, and you should have stopped reading two paragraphs ago. ( )
  zhyatt | Aug 9, 2014 |
I listened to this book, and my rating probably dropped a star because I kept having to rewind. The physical book might have been better. ( )
  morandia | Aug 1, 2014 |
Ugh. So boring. So hard to pay attention. So misogynistic and sexist.

Blech. ( )
  Tom_Wright | Jun 26, 2014 |
In this classic 1970 Hugo + Nebula winner, the reader is taken on a long tour of the most famous BDO (Big Dumb Object) in SF: The Ringworld. The exercise of inventing an engineering project on stellar scales must be an enjoyable one; so many physics problems to Houdini away from the reader’s attention, so many opportunities to break Guinness world records (on paper). Of course other authors have since climbed Niven’s shoulders and written about galaxy-sized machines, nested universes, and billion-year old endeavors, but this progenitor will always stand tall for bringing us there first. The protagonist, Louis Wu, presents a perfectly likable blank canvas character for the reader to identify with, and is surrounded by several other more exotic alien caricatures. While the questions of the Ringworld’s origins and fate are left nebulously unanswered for later examination in sequel stories, this story delivers a tantalizing glimpse at the possibilities with a survey of several different earth-like locales scattered around a part of the structure. Niven asks a far more interesting question when he sets the alien artifact aside momentarily to instead focus on the nature of a what makes a person “lucky”; can this quality be inherited or resisted? What would the consequences be of an uncontrolled source of unavoidable good luck to those nearby? Unfortunately, this fascinating turn had to wait until the final quarter of the text, and by this point the plot pacing began to suffer as developments were compressed into fewer and fewer pages to hasten an ending of some kind. I found the aliens a bit too anthropomorphized, and would have preferred to have seen something less fathomable. I look forward to the rumored SyFy channel TV adaptation, and imagine the first thing they’ll do is take the starch out of the dialog so that Louis's character doesn’t monopolize the relatability. ( )
  SciFi-Kindle | Jun 2, 2014 |
Originally posted at FanLit. http://www.fantasyliterature.com/

In 2850 AD, Louis Wu is at his 200th birthday party and thinking about how bored he is. The world has become homogeneous — everyone on Earth uses the same language, everything is available everywhere, and all the cities have lost their unique flavor. Life is dull. That’s why Louis Wu is a perfect candidate for the alien Nessus (a Pierson’s Puppeteer) who wants to take a manned spaceship to explore a strange phenomenon in space.

Nessus also recruits a Kzin named Speaker-to-Animals who is a feline alien from a warlike culture, and the beautiful 20-year-old human woman named Teela Brown that Louis Wu has been sleeping with. She’s so silly that at first it’s not clear what she offers the mission other than good looks, “conical breasts,” a giggle soundtrack, and sexual gratification for Louis Wu (this is something I hate about science fiction written by men in the 1960s), but later we discover that Nessus knows that Teela Brown has lucky genes and he thinks having her along will make the voyage lucky.

When the group stops off at the Puppeteer planet, they learn about their mission. They will investigate the Ringworld. Photos from space show that it looks like a blue ribbon arranged around a star. It’s about the size of the Earth’s orbit around the sun and it’s obviously artificial. The living area inside the ring provides about three times the Earth’s surface area, there’s gravity due to the ring’s centripetal force, and day and light cycles are created by shading the sun with huge panels. (Find the physics of Ringworld here.) The mission seeks to discover who created the Ringworld, why they created it, and whether they’re friendly or threatening.

Ringworld is a high concept novel and I generally love high concept novels. Ringworld has big ideas in a grand setting. Images of Ringworld will stay with me forever. Unfortunately, the characters are dull and the actual action in Ringworld would fill only a few pages. While I wanted to explore and experiment on Ringworld, the characters were usually discussing, bickering, arguing, and philosophizing. Some of this was interesting, such as the discovery that the Puppeteers were covertly performing genetics experiments on other species, the contemplation of what factors might make civilizations rise and fall (cycles of culture and barbarism is also a theme in the last Niven book I read, The Mote in God’s Eye). But much of it was teachy as characters spent too much time explaining evolution, genetics, meteorology, geology, and the physics and mathematics of the shape of orbits, velocities, heat transfer, and tensile strength. Worse, some discussion topics that started out interesting became repetitive and tiresome, especially the philosophical discussions about Teela’s luck which kept coming up and lasting too long.

I love Larry Niven’s big ideas and I know he can write really exciting science fiction even if he can’t write decent female characters. Ringworld is a great idea that gets obliterated by dull characters and too much talking. (Yet it won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and Locus Award.) There are several prequels and sequels to Ringworld in Larry Niven’s RINGWORLD and KNOWN SPACE universes. I listened to Blackstone Audio’s production which was nicely narrated by Tom Parker. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Niven, LarryAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cullen, PatrickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, DonCover printingsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giancola, DonatoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, Steven VincentCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parker, TomNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sternbach,RickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the night-time heart of Beirut, in one of a row of general-address transfer booths, Louis Wu flicked into reality.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345333926, Mass Market Paperback)

A new place is being built, a world of huge dimensions, encompassing millions of miles, stronger than any planet before it. There is gravity, and with high walls and its proximity to the sun, a livable new planet that is three million times the area of the Earth can be formed. We can start again!

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:50 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Two humans and two aliens, who are traveling to distant reaches of space to prevent a future catastrophe, crash on a ringworld apparently created by superior technologies.

» see all 9 descriptions

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