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Ringworld by Larry Niven

Ringworld (original 1970; edition 1981)

by Larry Niven

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,701101558 (3.82)171
Authors:Larry Niven
Info:Del Rey (1981), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Read and Released
Tags:science fiction

Work details

Ringworld by Larry Niven (1970)

  1. 111
    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
    Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Space Opera, updated. Strange mystery, assemble a crew of lively characters, go explore it. Sound familiar?
  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. 31
    Foundation by Isaac Asimov (nar_)
    nar_: Space travelling and interminable, huge lands and space... so huge !
  7. 20
    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.
  8. 00
    Mission of gravity by Hal Clement (Michael.Rimmer)
  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 171 mentions

English (94)  Spanish (2)  Hungarian (2)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (101)
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
I have a love-hate relashionship with science fiction. This is definitely belongs in the hate category. I read this first many years ago and impulsively decided to reread it recently, in a moment of tedium. This time could only get about half-way through it.

The Ringworld idea definitely has legs and so much could have been done with it. Very frustrating. This book is supposed to be a hard-sf classic with new wave sociological overlay, but I don't see it. It is very poorly structured and paced. Way too slow in the beginning. Way too fast at the end. The plot is weak. It wraps very abruptly. Niven throws around some numbers, but that doesn't make his universe convincing. The technology is way over the top, to the point of really being more magic, than a plausible extrapolation of science. The energy requirements would be so enormous...something that never seems to get in the way of science fiction before the first oil shock. And Niven is one of those writers who thinks putting the prefix "hyper" in front of a word is a great feat of imaginative conception.

Niven's style also really bugs me: pulp with delusions of grandeur. It reads like something ripped from the pages of Argosy magazine. This style clashes awkwardly with the fantastic and ethereal subject matter. And it seems to have been written under extreme deadline pressure and publishing constraints. And you know there are going to be sequels...

The fantasy of basically unlimited technological power (invented by, and explioted by men of course) is a response to male-nerd inferiority issues - very 70's. The female f**k-doll character is so ridiculous: a sort of Gidget-In-Outer-Space with unlimited sexual appetite. She (Teela Brown) is 20 years old and falls for the 200 year old slacker protagonist (Louis Wu), who is consuming mass quantities of futuristic hyper-viagra (boosterspice). I am afraid this tale falls into the classic 70's reactionary mysogonistic male power fantasy genre of speculative fiction.

Afraid this turkey is headed for the big shredder in the sky. ( )
  clarkland | Oct 30, 2015 |
Definitely wasn't old enough to appreciate this the first time I read it. Really enjoy the interesting characters and hard-sf plausibility now, and can relate more with the protagonists's thoughts and experiences, especially about women. ( )
  Audacity88 | Jun 29, 2015 |
Louis Wu was celebrating his 200th birthday when he encounters an alien Pierson's Puppeteer, named Nessus, who proposes a strange mission. Bored with his life, Louis accepts. Shortly after, the pair encounter a group of huge tiger-like kizinti. Nessus invites one kizin, named Speaker-to-Animals, to join them. The last member of the group is Teela Brown, who is the product of five generations of the birth right lottery, something the puppeteers believe will bring them luck. Their destination is a strange world in the shape of a ring girdling its sun. They crash land on the Ringworld, and then have many adventures in the process of trying to find a way to get off again.

This is a great story full of fantastic characters and places. It was well worthy of the Hugo and Nebula awards. ( )
  Bruce_McNair | Jun 13, 2015 |
I see where the idea for the Halo games series came from. It's not an adventure story but it has good ideas. I think the most compelling character was Teela Brown even though she comes across as a child when Louis is describing her. After that I learned when traveling between stars or miles of Ringworld you get to have a ton of sex. Only if your human so that was good to know. ( )
  Kurt.Rocourt | May 22, 2015 |
This is a book I have always heard was one of the classics, and it seems familiar so maybe I read it 30 years ago and don't remember. Anyway, I was a little disappointed.

Louis Wu is a 200 year old man on Earth who is bored, and who is recruited by a Puppeteer named Nessus to go on an expedition to a mysterious artifact that has been spied deep in space. The Puppeteers are a more advance alien race that had disappeared from human contact, but return for this important project. Also recruited is a Kzin named Speaker, from a race of 8 foot tall furry aliens who have a propensity for violence and warfare, and Teela Brown, a young human woman who is the result of a Puppeteer-led clandestine program to breed a person for good luck. The band arrives at the Ringworld, an enormous artifact circling a star with a habitat that is as big as a million earths. But when they arrive they find the Ringworld has descended into barbarism, its technology no longer fully functional, and their wanderings and attempts to escape the place are chronicled.

The good news: the book is true hard sci-fi, and Niven goes to some lengths to invent a world that is astrophysically plausible; we don't need to accept magic to see how it works. I appreciate attempts at plausibility, and in this book Niven gets the right balance by explaining the physics without burying us too deep in science that a lay person can't understand (which is my problem with the recently read "Bowl of Heaven", an otherwise similar book). I also liked the humor injected throughout- the concept of breeding for luck is silly, but I took it as a wry joke and enjoyed it.

I also liked the description of how an advanced society can really fall apart back into a previous age- a reminder of how everything teeters on the edge of chaos. When you build something like the Ringworld, you have to be ready for any eventuality or risk the whole thing coming apart.

The bad news: the book is kind of sexist- the women in the book are basically presented as sex objects for the pleasure of the male protagonist. And while the pace is leisurely through most of the book, the end comes suddenly. That's odd, because the sequel wasn't written until 9 years later.

I guess I'll read the rest of the series eventually- not bad stuff, if not my favorite. ( )
  DanTarlin | May 21, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Niven, Larryprimary 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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:32 -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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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